Olympic Preparation – Learning the Lingo.

Now like it or not London is going to be filling your screens in the coming months (plus a few glimpses of some provincial British towns) with all manner of advertising, plus some athletics and lots of David Beckham valiantly showing Harry Rednapp that he can still do the business during the next World Cup.

Meanwhile all us friendly locals will be giving it the ‘cor blimey’s’ and ‘Ow’s ya faaver?’ Etc. And so on.

So in the interest of international relations here a few more handy interpretations of English phraseology (you won’t be hearing this on the BBC):

Now in the Eastend of London, where the bulk of the Olympics is being held, there is a long tradition of using two words where one is the norm (eg plates of meat – feet, apples and pears – stairs, and so on).

But should you find yourself wandering the streets of Stratford after watching athletes running around and throwing things then you might come across some other choice gems in the area (especially the pubs):

  1. Any sentence starting with ‘A face like a…’ is going to be derogatory. How it is finished is the good bit though. For example ‘She/He had a face like… ‘a bag of spanners’ or… ‘a sack of performing squid’.
  2. ‘Bog standard‘ – now you’re going to be hearing this one all the time and it alludes to the ability and performance of the British team. Simply put it means ‘nothing amazing, perfectly ordinary’
  3. If some drunken ‘oik‘ (thats a member of the working class) should shout across the Olympic Plaza such words as ‘Minger’, ‘Gobshite‘ or ‘Spanner‘ then, as a visitor to this fair land, you have every right to go ‘slap them up’ for you have just been refered to as ‘ugly‘, ‘mean‘ and lastly a ‘tool

In my efforts to close the cultural gap between Britain and everywhere else I also  purchased a new book of translation – ‘American – English, English – American’

Here are some essential examples of how to convert everyday American words into London-Speak:

  • Broil – Grill (big thing this – asked for a broiled steak in the UK and you’ll probably and up with boiled beef – not a good thing, ever)
  • Carnival – fun fair
  • Check (in a restaurant) – the Bill
  • Police – again ‘the Bill‘, or the Rozzers. Or the Filth. Actually just the ‘Police
  • Chips – Crisps. Another biggy. Ask for chips with your Pint in a London pub and you’ll be getting big fat greasy fries with salt and vinegar
  • Downtown – City centre – If you want to a night out in London don’t ask the Cabbie to take you Downtown or you’ll end up in the arse-end of nowhere!
  • Druggist -Chemist. Again be careful. If you need some painkillers don’t ask for a druggist. You’ll be dropped off under Westminster Bridge at 3am and you don’t want to be there. You really don’t.

I will provide further updates once I’ve had enough wine. Sorted!

16 thoughts on “Olympic Preparation – Learning the Lingo.

  1. More updates please. My Triumph manual has references to spanners, though I’m not sure what tool they mean. Now don’t indulge too much or the cops will get you. No fun fair in the slammer.

    • Very good. In the UK spanner has two meanings. One is wrench (but you knew that) the other is ‘idiot/moron’. This can then be translated to ‘tool’ SO over here if one is refered to as a tool or spanner you aren’t being told you are useful!

    • As an American, I think that it is kind of necessary to add a little bit of clarification to what a “tool” is.

      Actually, “tool” is not really synonymous with moron or idiot. It actually means something more like a uncool person, or a loser, and/or an asshole. A socially awkward jerk.

      A “tool” is sometimes opposed to a “douche.”

      Just like I had to look at examples of chavs to figure out what a chav was — I think that you can only learn by looking at some examples of tools and some examples of douches.

      Mark Zuckerberg (founder of facebook), for example, is a tool.

      Mitt Romney is a total tool.

      Douches are people who act loudly and obnoxiously for attention.

      Newt Gringrich is a douche.

      Kanye West is a douche.

      Julian Assange of wikileaks fame is a total douche.

      Both tools and douches are overwhelmingly male. It’s terrible to point that out, but it’s kind of true!

    • Its one of my favourite phrases. It brings to mind a misshappen unsightly mess squishing around. Another is ‘about as much fun as underwater hang gliding’, which is, by its very nature, impossible and therefore little fun. Actually it would be dangerous and you would drown.

      • Ahhh, I love the English language, not this bastardized version we Americans speak.
        We tend to lack real linguistic creativity. Our most creative insult is as crude and simple as “F %@$ you and the horse you rode in on.”
        But the real English are artful with the language when firing off derogatory remarks while not offending their target !!!

  2. Interesting… I never say druggist. 🙂

    We have some friends in the UK who have taught us a few words. How about pants=trousers and underwear=pants?

    Or bristols? He’s a proper northerner, so he taught us “ay up, duck?” At least I think that’s what he was saying.

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