Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Choose Your Words Carefully 3

What a drag it is gettin' old
Hippy Sloanes used to call practically everything “draggy”.

In the 60s Upwards and Weybridges were utterly shocked by... the Beatles’ song She Loves You Yeah Yeah Yeah. We’re British! We don’t say “yeah”! After that, practically every pop song had a “yeah” in it. The middle classes survived.

And now Prince William says wahldlife and terrrists (for wildlife and terrorists). Excuse me while I have a conniption.


A woman said she was attacked for “having the wrong accent” during an anti-capitalist protest in Trafalgar Square on Wednesday. She was assaulted after wandering into the Million Mask March attended by 4,0000 people. She said: “The person turned to me, saying, ‘not all of us have mummies and daddies to look after us’, then he lunged at me. I assume I was targeted because of my accent. (Times Nov 2014)

George Osborne and Tony Blair are vilified for trying to tone down their public-school accents. (And Tony Benn in his day, according to Jilly Cooper.)

Ben and David Crystal (actor/philologist) say that Received Pronunciation (talking posh) began to go out circa 2000. (But it has been vilified since the 70s, when lefty Upwards adopted a peculiar social-worker mockney accent, which has now quite disappeared. They shocked their parents and more conservative friends by calling children “kids”.)


I wish Upwards would stop saying “Can I just squeeze past?” when they mean “Excuse me”. It’s so passive-aggressive.

Teales don’t understand Upward overstatement. If Samantha Upward says of a hairspray-loving friend: “Her hair was glued into place!”, Jen will think she means it literally.

Sam wails that people say “slaw” to mean salad. (It’s Dutch for salad.)

Teales and Definitelies pronounce Deirdre (dear-dree) as Deedree. They also say “here” as “heee” rather than “hee-yah”. Stow Crats say “hare and thare”.

Teales (and northerners?) say “bip” for poop as in “poop your horn”. (Bipping or bibbing.) Is it because poop now means poo?

During apartheid, Upwards sneered at South African accents.

Posh young people used to call their parents “the parentals”, now they call them “the rents” (except that’s probably about 10 years out of date).

Weybridges pronounce Noah as “nor” and mayor as “mare”. (Upwards give them two syllables.) They also say “haff to be” and “hass to be”.

In the programme Under Offer, an estate agent from Durham says she couldn’t work in London because she’d feel uncomfortable. “I’d feel like a common, rough Northerner, because of the accent, which I don’t think I could change.” Her accent is lovely. So, still think class is a thing of the past?

More here, and links to the rest.

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