We at easyHotel like to celebrate the differences that mark our hotels apart, particularly across our native UK. A hotel stay in Glasgow will vary massively from a hotel stay in London. While you can expect the same level of service, comfort and cleanliness across all our rooms, we can’t guarantee the same for when you leave our hotel. Previously we have written a guide to the Glaswegian dialect. This month, we are looking at the London dialect and trying to help newcomers to our London hotels decipher it.
Now, many of you will think you have a fairly good idea of what the London accent is. You will have heard it in films, in any role Jason Statham takes on, and on TV, Delboy and Rodney of "Only Fools and Horses" being the obvious choices. This is of course Cockney, whose greatest contribution to the earth is the rhyming slang it gives its name to. But, surprisingly, this dialect is slowly moving out of London into Kent and Essex, while a new dialect by the name of Multicultural London English (MLE) takes root.
In less than a generation, MLE has flourished across all areas and demographics of the capital. Parents with the cockney swagger converse with children with the lackadaisical MLE. It’s quite roundly believed that a lot of this comes from Jamaican, it has accordingly been referred to as "Jafaican", but much of the language is born and bred on the streets of London.
Below are just some words you are likely to hear around town and the context in which they can be used.
Easy – Hi/Hello or keep calm
Often coupled with:
Bruv – mate/buddy
Man – I, but also, you
“Man’s going big tonight”
My man – He
“What’s my man wearin? He looks like a fool”
Dead – Boring or Rubbish
“Oi Joel, what is dis sandwich you made? It is dead. Man’s falling asleep eatin’ it.”
Innit - A term of agreement or positive exclamation, also used to pose a question
Joel: Bruv, dat party last night was dead innit?”
Vic: “Yeah innit”
Yard – House
Vic: “Bruv I got these new creps (trainers) on discount from JD.”
Joel: “Sick (cool). Oi, wear dem round ma yard later, innit”
Ends – Neighbourhood
On the changing demographics of a place like Brixton:
“Bruv, I swear down, dese ends are changing ye know (don’t you agree?)”
Safe – Cool/Cheers/Nice one
Vic: “I got dem tings [things] for ya. Shall I swing by the yard later?”
To Boy – To insult or to ignore
Joel: “Bruv, my man WhatsApp you? We’re going round his ends later innit.”
Vic: “Nah bruv, he’s boying me off at the mo innit.”
Bait – obvious
Joel: “Vic you coming round my Nan’s later?”
Vic: Nah man dat’s so bait. Come this new Chicken shop in the market. It’s live [really good].
Cotch – To relax or chill
Joel: “What’s happening Vic? Hitting town later?
Vic: “Nah man, I’m finished. I’m just cotchin today, catchin up on the Apprentice innit”
This style of speak has recently come into the public eye, Alistair McGowan recently did a feature for BBC1’s "The One Show", watch a clip below:
Or for a more in depth look at the language in action you need only look at some of the musical stars coming out of the city currently, namely Skepta and Stormzy or past heroes such as Mike Skinner of The Streets.
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