The Light Dose of a Heavy Lingo

Warning: Post may contain strong or potentially offensive language 

I decided to recalibrate my lingo again when 1) Tracy shot me a quizzical expression as I said ‘cheers’ when she passed me the drink during lunch time; 2) I got into the office elevator full of people and greeted ‘Allright?’ and every body stared back at me; and 3) I asked, ‘pardon?’ and my Malaysian born American brought up sis-in-law roared with laughter. 

The first time I had to tune up (or down?) my language was when I moved to England. I was walking down the corridor and a colleague casually asked ‘You allright?’ (in an accented ‘awwreet?’ way) and I went on to clue him up on how great the day was. I was later informed that this is just a greeting and you just ignore when somebody asks that as no answer is expected to this question, or just reply back with ‘Allright’. 

A few days after the corridor episode, I was working on my computer at 8 in the morning, and the printer decided not to cooperate. When it did not budge in even after several tries, I declared (probably a little loudly, unbeknownst to me) that I was pissed with it. That prompted my colleague to crane his neck out of his computer and retort, “But u r not drunk”. Why should I be? Anyway, I was again informed that, in England I can only get pissed when I’m drunk, and not when I’m angry. 

After few other similar incidents, I slowly grabbed the realization that my English needed some tweaks here and there. Anyway, I wasted no time in replacing my ‘Hellos’ with ‘you allright?’ (in that same  accented ‘awwreet?’ way), and got 'pissed' at appropriate times. 

I soon was fascinated by English people’s obsession with qualitative adjectives. The number of times they can describe something as awesome needs appreciation. Also note what all things on earth can be described as awesome. I too kept embellishing my conversation with “ohhh- that’s- a- fabulous- job, what- a- stupendous- act, incredibly- excellent- this, wonderfully- splendid- that, and awesome- blah- blah- blah”. Now please don’t blame me for following the British. I mean, how do you dare to avoid using excessive adjectives in your language when you are living in a country whose name starts with an adjective? The British make no attempt at hiding their fascination for this grammatical component and flaunt it by adding an adjective “The Great” in front of their country name “Britain”. This reminds me of two things:  

1)What would have happened if Alexander was born in 'The Great Britain' and not in Greece? He would have been called ‘The Great Alexander’ and not ‘Alexander The Great’.   

2) The British might say that the person who coined the term ‘Mera Bharat Mahaan’ probably made a small grammatical error. It should have been ‘Mahaan Mera Bharat’. 

With time my lingo fine-tuning continued. I learnt to pay three quids (£3) for my kebab, a fiver (£5) for pizza, and felt happy to see ‘everything under a tenner (£10)' written on a board hanging outside a restaurant window. The other day I 'skived off' (bunked) school to go to the 'Old Bill' (police) with my mate to report when his bike got 'nicked' (stolen). In London, I requested for 'bangers and mash' (sausages and mashed potatoes), went for a 'Ruby Mary' (curry) night with friends, and consoled a friend when her pet was declared 'brown bread' (dead). The later two are examples of rhyming slang of cockney speech and is mostly spoken in London. This cryptolect sometimes made me so nervous that I would jump up even somebody said something as innocent as 'raspberry tart' or 'jam roll'

                                     Image Source: http://www.effingpot.com/slang.shtm 

Any post on a language would be incomplete without the mention of it's slangs, more so if it is British slang. I marveled at the versatility of the word ‘Bollocks’. No matter what your emotion is- disbelief, regret or happiness; that one word- Bollocks- expresses all. Ohh, so you have some more emotions left? Koyee baat nahi, the word ‘bloody’ hai na. The most useful swear word ever discovered. I do not remember spending one whole day in England without at least hearing it once. And I’m abso-bloody-lutely serious.  Another multifaceted word is ‘do’, and can be used instead of any verb. So, you can use it as, ‘if you drive on the wrong lane, the police will do (prosecute) you’ to ‘Do u do (sell) sandwiches?’. 

I am refraining myself from listing out in how many different ways you can call a loser ‘a loser’ in the fear of getting my blog removed due to explicit use of obscene languages. But I can mention how you can praise someone. Just call him ‘Ace’, and he is a nice person. If he is called a ‘F***ing Ace’, he is a very nice person. Please be informed, in England, wherever you go out in the town, avoid 'Mickey' (drug laced drinks) and 'Billie' (cocaine), no matter how ace they are. 

The genning up on the Brit lingo has zonked me out a little. 

So TTFN (TaTa For Now). 


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