Cockney Rhyming Slang

June 9, 2011 / by Mango Languages

Last week I was having an interesting conversion with a good friend of mine about languages and how people express themselves. We got to the topic of Britain, and how even though they speak English many times it seems like they speak a foreign language. They have so many alternative words for every day things that it's really hard to understand what is being said. Eventually our discussion led to to Cockney Rhyming Slang, which I knew nothing about. I was fascinated with what I learned.

Cockney Rhyming Slang phrases are created from taking an expression that rhymes with a singular word and using that expression instead of the word. In many cases the rhyming word word isn't said.

Here's an example, the word "keys" rhymes with "macaroni cheese." Using Cockney Rhyming Slang, instead of saying, "Have you seen me keys?" One would say, "Have you seen me Macaronis?" So cool.

Cockney Rhyming Slang is a collection of phrases used by Cockneys and other Londoners.. Someone who is a true Cockney is one who is born close to St. Mary-le-Bow Church in Cheapside, London. Nowadays, the term Cockney is used to describe people born outside this area as long as they have a "Cockney" accent or a Cockney heritage.

I came across this awesome website that is all about Cockney Rhyming Slang and has many examples.

Here are examples of Cockney Rhyming Slang for parts of the body:

"Feet" rhymes with "Plates of meat" -> "I have size 7 plates."

"Head" rhymes with "Loaf of bread" -> "Use your loaf!"

Today Cockney Rhyming Slang is used more than ever. Modern Cockney Rhyming Slang is now being developed using the names of celebrities and famous people.

"Cup of Tea" rhymes with "Jay-Z" -> "Make me a Jay-Z."

I found it amazing how much creativity goes into what seems like a different language.

Using Cockney Rhyming Slang, can you think of alternative ways to say common phrases?

Topics: Language Learning and Culture

Mango Languages

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