BBC 6 Minute English | SLANG | English Subtitle

source: Daily Listening    2016年9月8日
Is slang a bad thing? Do you use it a lot? Neil and Alice discuss a very English kind of of language - Cockney Rhyming Slang - and teach you about jargon.
BBC 6 Minute English | SLANG | English Subtitle:

0:04 Could you lend me some dosh, Neil?
0:06 Sure.
0:07 How much do you need?
0:08 A couple of smackers.
0:10 You're sounding strange today, Alice.
0:12 Yes, I know, Neil.
0:14 Slang – or informal language used by a particular group – is the subject of today's show,
0:20 and I was just demonstrating a couple of slang words that mean 'money'. Dosh is a general
0:26 term for money and a smacker is a British pound or US dollar.
0:30 OK, so Cockney Rhyming Slang is a type of slang.
0:34 It's a coded language invented in the 19th Century by Cockneys so they could speak in
0:39 front of the police without being understood.
0:43 And still on the subject of money, I have a question for you, Alice.
0:47 OK.
0:48 What's Cockney Rhyming Slang for 'money'?
0:51 Is it… a) bread?
0:53 b) honey?
0:54 Or c) dough?
0:55 I think it's a) bread.
0:57 I bet you didn't know, Neil, that I'm a Cockney.
0:59 I don't Adam and Eve it, Alice!
1:02 That's a pork pie!
1:04 'Adam and Eve' means 'believe' and 'pork pie' means… 'lie'!
1:09 Actually, you're right.
1:11 I'm not a Cockney.
1:12 To be considered a Cockney, you need to be born within hearing distance of the bells
1:17 of St Mary-le-Bow church in what is now the City of London.
1:21 Indeed.
1:22 Now, slang, as we've said, is colloquial – or informal – language.
1:27 And it's characteristic of specific social groups.
1:30 We usually use it in informal conversation rather than in writing or more formal situations,
1:35 like a job interview.
1:37 We change the way we speak so that what we say is appropriate for a particular situation.
1:43 So you surprised me, earlier, Alice, by talking about 'dosh' and 'smackers' because it didn't
1:48 seem appropriate for presenting the show.
1:50 Slang use is often frowned upon – or disapproved of.
1:55 Let's listen to Jonathan Green, a lexicographer of slang, talking about who uses slang and
2:00 how this has changed.
2:01 Here he is on the Radio 4 programme Word of Mouth.
2:06 Slang does have a bad reputation and I would say this comes from its earliest collection,
2:12 which was of criminal slang in the 1500s in the 16th century, and it was associated with
2:17 bad people, and inevitably that has lingered.
2:21 But now in the last 40 or 50 years it's changed.
2:25 The definitions tend to stress 'different' and 'jocular', 'funny', 'humorous', 'inventive',
2:31 that kind of thing.
2:33 So we have records of 16th Century slang in collections – or dictionaries.
2:38 Words used by criminals as a code so they could talk without being understood.
2:43 And this bad reputation has lingered – or been slow to disappear.
2:46 But for the last 50 years we've been using slang to be funny and creative as well as
2:52 to show belonging to a particular group.
2:55 And apparently we're very creative when talking about drinking and being drunk.
3:01 The slang word booze – meaning 'alcohol' – comes from the 13th Century Dutch word, 'būsen'.
3:08 And there are hundreds of slang expressions to talk about drink and being drunk: 'on the
3:13 sauce', 'in your cups', 'half cut', 'hammered', 'squiffy', 'tipsy', 'wasted', 'legless', and
3:18 many many more that are far too rude to mention in this programme.
3:22 Yes.
3:23 So, while these terms might not be strictly acceptable – or appropriate in formal contexts
3:30 they aren't offensive, they are often amusing and help people bond in social groups.
3:35 By contrast, swear words or profanity – means 'rude language that offends or upsets people'.
3:41 And I'm not going to give any examples because that would be inappropriate and impolite, Alice.
3:47 OK, let's listen now to Jonathan Green and presenter Michael Rosen talking about jargon
3:53 – another type of in-group language.
3:56 JG: Jargon is what I would call is small 'o' occupational, small 'p' professional.
4:02 It's closed off environments.
4:05 You get legal jargon, you get naval jargon, I've been reading Patrick O'Brien recently
4:10 and that's awash with futtock plates and fiddying the decks.
4:14 MR: This is radio 4 Jonathan, be careful!
4:17 Jonathan Green in another segment of the BBC Radio 4 programme Word of Mouth.
4:21 So he says jargon is occupational and professional, meaning people speak it at work, for example,
4:27 lawyers and sailors.
4:29 A futtock plate is, I believe, an iron plate attached to the top of a ship's mast.
4:35 But I don't know much about this subject.
4:38 That's the idea, though – jargon is the technical language belonging to a specific group.
4:44 And to outsiders this jargon is often hard to understand.
4:48 Yes and here in the studio I can use all the radio jargon that I like.
4:52 Look at my faders here, Alice.
4:55 Going down and up and up and I'm just testing our levels…
4:59 Come on, live the fader alone.
5:02 It controls the level of sound on a studio deck.
5:05 Now it's time for the answer to today's quiz question, Neil.
5:08 I asked you: What's Cockney Rhyming Slang for money?
5:12 Is it… a) bread, b) honey or c) dough?
5:16 And I said a) bread.
5:17 And you were right, Alice!
5:19 Cockney Rhyming Slang uses just the first word of a phrase that rhymes with a word we're
5:24 trying to disguise.
5:26 So 'money' becomes 'bread and honey' but we just say 'bread'.
5:31 OK, so let's recap on the words we've learned today.
5:35 They are: slang
5:38 dosh smacker
5:41 Cockney Rhyming Slang colloquial
5:44 frowned upon lingered
5:47 booze swear
5:50 profanity jargon