Quiz: Cockney Rhyming Slang
Here's my London Cockney quiz - let's see how you do!
How's your knowledge of English, as spoken by the local Londoners......well, not all Londoners, just the Cockneys?
Rainy Day in London - Outside the Law Court, The Strand
Here is an explanation to help you understand what Rhyming Slang is:
A Cockney is generally defined as someone who was born within the sound of Bow Bells,St Mary-le-Bow church being in East London, which, until recently, was an English working-class district.
Cockney rhyming slang developed in the Nineteenth Century as a secret way for people to communicate with each other, and was thus used mainly by people who had something to hide, such as thieves and smugglers. To some extent it is dying out, because the phrases used are no longer secret. However, people still like the idea of rhyming phrases, and new ones have recently developed, such as "Barack Obamas", meaning "pyjamas".
How it Works:
Basically, you take a pair of associated words (e.g. "Barnet Fair"), where the second word is to rhyme with the word you actually mean(e.g. "hair"), but then instead of using the word "Fair", you use the first word of the associated pair to indicate the word you originally intended to say. So, if a Cockney says "she's got a red Barnet" then in your mind's eye you think Barnet = Barnet Fair = Hair, so it means "she's got red hair".
Similarly, if the said Cockney says "She's had a lot of work done on her boat":
Boat is associated with "boat race", so the rhyme you need to find is: What rhymes with the second word "race"? And, of course, the word that rhymes is "face".
Thus you arrive at the meaning: "She's had a lot of work done on her face".
Here are some more Cockney expressions:
Would you Adam and Eve It?
The second word "Eve" rhymes with the word "believe", so the meaning is "Would you believe it?"
Confusingly, you can see from this that sometimes you don't use a shortened form of the phrase, i.e. a Cockney would not say "would you Adam it" , but would only use the whole phrase "would you Adam and Eve it".
Common expressions are "he's a tea leaf" meaning "he's a thief". And if you say someone is telling "porkies", think "porky pies" and you then get the meaning that he's "telling lies."
Simple, isn't it (I don't think!)?
Let's test your knowledge and understanding of Cockney in this Quiz
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Here is a Book About Language and Rhyming Slang
I have read it and really enjoyed it - it is very amusing if you are into dialects and the writer knows his stuff.
You can get it very cheaply now, if you don't mind second hand good-as-new books, as it has been in print for a long time.
In fact, it's tweep-tweep (I made that one up myself).
Links to more of my Web Pages relating to English language
- Ten English Proverbs About Birds
Learn a few English Proverbs and Sayings, wth some humorous examples of how the phrases should be used. If English is your home language, see how many phrases you recognize and use yourself. There is also a poll, a video about an amazing performing p
- The English Tongue Twister
English tongue twisters will help students of English as a Second Language to improve their speech. It will also help people who do public speaking, such as actors,barristers,and corporate public speakers. Learning to say tongue twisters is an enjoya
- Fruit in English Proverbs and Sayings
Plenty of pretty pictures, and more to remind you of what you already know, or what you still need to learn, depending on your experience as an English speaker or student of English