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  • Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice

  • And I'm Neil.

  • Could you lend me some dosh, Neil?

  • Sure. How much do you need?

  • A couple of smackers

  • You're sounding strange today, Alice.

  • Yes, I know, Neil. Slangor informal language used by a particular groupis the subject of today's show,

  • and I was just demonstrating a couple of slang words that mean 'money'. Dosh is a general term for money and a smacker is a British pound or US dollar.

  • OK, so Cockney Rhyming Slang is a type of slang. It's a coded language invented in the 19th Century

  • by Cockneys so they could speak in front of the police without being understood. And still on the subject of money, I have a question for you, Alice.

  • oh~ OK.

  • What's Cockney Rhyming Slang for 'money'? Is it… a) bread? b) honey? Or c) dough?

  • I think it's a) bread. I bet you didn't know, Neil, that I'm a Cockney.

  • I don't Adam and Eve it, Alice! That's a pork pie!

  • 'Adam and Eve' means 'believe' and 'pork pie' means… 'lie'! Actually, you're right. I'm not a Cockney.

  • To be considered a Cockney, you need to be born within hearing distance of the bells of St Mary-le-Bow church in what is now the City of London.

  • Indeed. Now, slang, as we've said, is colloquialor informallanguage. And it's characteristic of specific social groups

  • We usually use it in informal conversation rather than in writing or more formal situations, like a job interview.

  • We change the way we speak so that what we say is appropriate for a particular situation. So you surprised me earlier, Alice,

  • by talking about 'dosh' and 'smackers' because it didn't seem appropriate for presenting the show.

  • Slang use is often frowned uponor disapproved of. Let's listen to Jonathan Green, a lexicographer of slang, talking about who uses slang and how this has changed.

  • Here he is on the Radio 4 programme Word of Mouth.

  • Slang does have a bad reputation and I would say this comes from its earliest collection, which was of criminal slang in the 1500s in the 16th century,

  • and it was associated with bad people, and inevitably that has lingered. But now in the last 40 or 50 years it's changed

  • The definitions tend to stress 'different' and 'jocular', 'funny', 'humorous', 'inventive', that kind of thing.

  • So we have records of 16th Century slang in collectionsor dictionaries. Words used by criminals as a code so they could talk without being understood

  • And this bad reputation has lingeredor been slow to disappear.

  • Alice: But for the last 50 years we've been using slang to be funny and creative as well as to show belonging to a particular group.

  • And apparently we're very creative when talking about drinking and being drunk. The slang word boozemeaning 'alcohol' – comes from the 13th Century Dutch word, 'būsen'.

  • Neil: And there are hundreds of slang expressions to talk about drink and being drunk:

  • 'on the sauce', 'in your cups', 'half cut', 'hammered', 'squiffy', 'tipsy', 'wasted', 'legless', and many many more that are far too rude to mention in this programme.

  • Alice Yes. So, while these terms might not be strictly acceptableor appropriate in formal contexts, they aren't offensive

  • they are often amusing and help people bond in social groups.

  • Neil: By contrast, swear words or profanitymeans 'rude language that offends or upsets people'.

  • And I'm not going to give any examples because that would be inappropriate and impolite, Alice

  • Alice: OK, let's listen now to Jonathan Green and presenter Michael Rosen talking about jargonanother type of in-group language

  • Jargon is what I would call is small 'o' occupational, small 'p' professional. It's closed off environments.

  • You get legal jargon, you get naval jargon, I've been reading Patrick O'Brien recently and that's awash with futtock plates and fiddling the decks.

  • MR: This is radio 4 Jonathan, be careful!

  • Neil: Jonathan Green in another segment of the BBC Radio 4 programme Word of Mouth.

  • So he says jargon is occupational and professional, meaning people speak it at work, for example, lawyers and sailors.

  • A futtock plate is, I believe, an iron plate attached to the top of a ship's mast. But I don't know much about this subject.

  • Alice: That's the idea, thoughjargon is the technical language belonging to a specific group. And to outsiders this jargon is often hard to understand.

  • Neil: Yes and here in the studio I can use all the radio jargon that I like. Look at my faders here, Alice. Going down and up and up and I'm just testing our levels

  • Alice Come on, live the fader alone. It controls the level of sound on a studio deck. Now it's time for the answer to today's quiz question, Neil.

  • Neil: I asked you: What's Cockney Rhyming Slang for money? Is it… a) bread, b) honey or c) dough?

  • Alice And I said a) bread.

  • Neil And you were right, Alice! Cockney Rhyming Slang uses just the first word of a phrase that rhymes with the word we're trying to disguise. So 'money' becomes 'bread and honey' but we just say 'bread'.

  • Alice OK, so let's recap on the words we've learned today. They are:

  • slang, dosh, smacker, Cockney Rhyming Slang, colloquial,

  • frowned upon, lingered, booze, swear, profanity, jargon

  • Neil: Well, that's the end of today's 6 Minute English. Please join us again soon!

  • Both Bye!

Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice

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B2 UK slang alice jargon cockney rhyming bread

BBC Learning English_Slang_BBC 6 minutes English _2016

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    LE! posted on 2017/04/01
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