Anybody who lives outside of England will tell you what a tiny country it is and they will probably scoff at the idea that there are any massive regional differences. As a Southerner, I can tell you that they would be very wrong. England has massive regional differences, including, but not limited to our accents, language and number of Greggs per square mile.
Since I moved away to university, I have been slowly going further and further north to the point I am now so far up the country, I might as well be living half way across the world from Brighton. No… Seriously…. It will take me longer to get home on the train than it took me to fly to Tenerife. Anyway, that is a moan for another day. I don’t think many people would say Nottingham is really far north (being in the Midlands), but Leeds is so far North that it is pretty much a different country. I back this point up with the fact that one of my colleagues keeps telling me my visa is going to run out and I will be deported back down south. At least, I think that is what he said. I spend about 20% of the time trying to decipher what he is saying and the other 80% trying to pretend I haven’t heard him. He is a moron. I don’t feel bad ignoring him.
Accents are not really the big difference here. They play quite well into the point of language though. One thing I will say about the accents: Northerners can’t say glass right. Or brass. Or grass. Or anything with an ass in it.
That’s what she said… Quite a few times at work now, we have started to have conversations about Northern slang. And when I say conversation, I use the term lightly since the ‘conversations’ normally have the following structure:
O: Hey, Charlotte, do you know what ___________ means?
C: No. *You can pretty much guarantee it is always going to be no with Northern slang*
O: YOU DO!
C: No…. I really don’t.
He normally takes about 10 minutes to tell me whatever the word means too. I think he feels superior to me when he knows a regional word that I don’t. I normally follow this up with something like:
C: So how many files have you actually completed?
O: Go away.
I always feel at a slight disadvantage with regional slang because I cannot think of a single southern slang word. This might have something to do with the fact I rarely socialise with people who actually use slang. My English is long winded and unnecessarily fancy when I can make it so.
I think the best way of talking about the slang is to actually put a few examples and we will see who knows what they are. This obviously works better with people from the South of England but seeing if Northerners can guess them all would be pretty cool too. *This does need active participation, so please comment etc.*
Charlotte’s Slang Test
- Bobby dazzler
- Spice (Personally, I think this one is just ON making something up since nobody else seems to know what he is talking about. I think it makes him sound like a drug dealer when he is like: Want some spice?)
- (This one isn’t really slang, but I had to include it anyway) Monday while Tuesday
There are a few other things I have noticed. I am using my colleague as my model for speech since he is the Northerner I interact with the most. One thing I pick up on every time is that he drops the ‘the’ in a lot of things. Example: “Pirates of t’Carribbean.” <—- Direct quote. I die a little inside each time he does it and what really kills me is that I had a northern slip the other day. I had to go wash my mouth out with some soap before launching into a long Southern-sounding monologue. One thing you will rarely here a southerner say in the middle of a sentence is ‘were’. For example: “It were a really nice day yesterday.” To a Southerner (or maybe just to me), that is a horrific sentence. It makes me cringe when I see or hear it. And I said it. Not that exactly, but something equally offensive to my English.
C: I finally got that éclair yesterday.
L: How long ago were that?
C: That were…. *Visible cringe* That was about a month ago I said I was going to get one.
The transformation is beginning. The Northern is infecting me. SOMEONE COME AND CLEANSE ME OF THIS PLAGUE.
I am going to say one nice thing about the north; despite their frankly ghastly grasp of the English language, they are friendly buggers up here… I don’t like it. LEAVE ME TO MY ANGRY SOUTHERN SENSIBILITIES!
And now I am going to go and disable my caps lock. If anybody can think of any Northern (or Southern) slang, or maybe any slang from other countries, drop a comment below and I will try to guess. Word of warning: I suck at this game. Chances are I will be wrong until I Google it. Also, if you want to try to guess the words above, please do. I would be curious to see if it is just me not knowing or whether other Southerners are just as confused by them as me.
Edit: I had to add this video since a friend mentioned black pudding and it came right back into my head. Plus, nancy is one of my favourite ridiculous insults so a song that contains it is just awesome.