Cockney dialect


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Cockney dialect

  1. 1. Региональная научно-практическая конференциятворческих работ учащихся «Перспективный проект» 26 апреля 2008 года МОУ сош № 4 г. Дмитрова Английский язык «London English Dialect Cockney” Выполнила: Дергачева Анастасия Анатольевна, 8 класс Научный руководитель работы: Глушатова Ольга Сергеевна, учитель английского языка 2008 г.
  2. 2. Table of Contents pageIntroduction………………………………………………………………….... 3Chapter 1…………………………………………………………………….... 5 §1. Etymology of the Cockney dialect…………………………………. 5 §2. Cockney area……………………………………………………….. 7 §3. Cockney speech……………………………………………..………9 3.1 Typical features………………………….……………............. 10Chapter 2…………………………………………………….…….………….. 12 §1. The origins of Cockney rhyming slang………….….………........... 12 §2. Rhyming slang in popular culture…………….……………............. 15 §3. Common examples…………………………….……………........... 19Chapter 3…………………………….………………………………………... 20 §1. The future of the Cockney dialect………………………….……… 20Conclusions………………………………………...……………….….……... 22Bibliography…………………………………………………………….......... 24 2
  3. 3. Introduction The term cockney has both geographical and linguistic associations. Geographically and culturally, it often refers to working class Londoners, particularly those in the East End. Linguistically, it refers to the form of English spoken by this group. For a long time the Cockney dialect was frowned upon by educated people as uneducated and vulgar manner of speaking. The Cockneys were considered stupid, poor and uneducated themselves (Bahr 1974: 108). That attitude towards Cockney was until very recently when the acceptance of the dialect and its speakers changed. What is a Cockney, though? A true Cockney has to have been born within the sound of the Bow Bells of St. Mary-le-Bow Church in London’s East End (Wells 1982: 302). Cockney is one of the most remarkable dialects all over the English-speaking world. At the beginning of the 20th century there was the decline of the dialect because of the non-existing acceptance in English society. Cockney was mainly a working-class accent, but was also taken up by criminals who enjoyed the population’s incapability to understand the accent and dialect. A lot has changed since. Cockney had its ups and downs. It was on the rise in 90s, been promoted by films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and music by the Streets. When having a look at popular culture today, one might have the impression that the dialect isn’t as popular as it was fifteen years ago. Nowadays it’s being swept aside by new hip-hop inspired dialect. The aim of this paper is to examine the development of Cockney dialect through ages and its influence on the English that can really be heard in England. To achieve our aim we should solve some problems: to examine the quintessence of the Cockney dialect; to analyze typical features of the Cockney dialect; to research the popularity of the Cockney dialect in modern society. This work consists of the Introduction, four chapters and the Summary. 3
  4. 4. In the introduction the decision to choose the subject is substantiate. The aimand the problems are set. The first section will be devoted to the etymology of word Cockney and itsarea. In the second section, the accent and dialect will be analyzed with regard toits pronunciation and grammar. The third part will be deal with Cockney Rhyming Slang – the form of slangbased on cockney dialect in which a word is referred to by another word or termthat rhymes with it. In the fourth section there will be a short prognosis for the future of thedialect. In the summary, the results of this paper will be summarized. 4
  5. 5. Chapter I §1. Etymology of the Cockney Dialect The term was used to describe those born within earshot of the Bow Bells asearly as 1600, when Samuel Rowlands, in his satire The Letting of Humours Bloodin the Head-Vaine, referred to a Bowe-bell Cockney. Traveller and writer FynesMoryson stated in his work An Itinerary that "Londoners, and all within the soundof Bow Bells, are in reproach called Cockneys." John Minsheu (or Minshew) wasthe first lexicographer to define the word in this sense, in his Ductor in Linguas(1617), where he referred to A cockney or cockny, applied only to one born withinthe sound of Bow bell, that is in the City of London. However, the etymologies hegave (from cock and neigh, or from Latin incoctus, raw) were just guesses, andthe Oxford English Dictionary later authoritatively explained the term asoriginating from cock and egg (Middle English cokeney < coken + ey, lit. cocksegg), meaning first a misshapen egg (1362), then a person ignorant of countryways (1521), then the senses mentioned above. Francis Groses A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1785) derivesthe term from the following story: A citizen of London, being in the country, and hearing a horse neigh,exclaimed, Lord! how that horse laughs! A by-stander telling him that noise wascalled Neighing, the next morning, when the cock crowed, the citizen to shew hehad not forgot what was told him, cried out, Do you hear how the Cock Neighs? An alternative derivation of the word can be found in Websters NewUniversal Unabridged Dictionary: London was referred to by the Normans as the"Land of Sugar Cake" (Old French: pais de cocaigne), an imaginary land ofidleness and luxury. A humorous appellation, the word "Cocaigne" referred to allof London and its suburbs, and over time had a number of spellings: Cocagne,Cockayne, and in Middle English, Cocknay and Cockney. The latter two spellingscould be used to refer to both pampered children, and residents of London, and to 5
  6. 6. pamper or spoil a child was to cocker him. (See, for example, John Locke, "...thatmost childrens constitutions are either spoiled or at least harmed, by cockering andtenderness." from Some Thoughts Concerning Education, 1693). 6
  7. 7. §2 Cockney Area The region in which "Cockneys" reside has changed over time, and is nolonger the whole of London. As mentioned in the introduction, the traditionaldefinition is that in order to be a Cockney, one must have been born within earshotof the Bow Bells. However, the church of St Mary-le-Bow was destroyed in 1666by the Great Fire of London and rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren. After the bellswere destroyed again in 1941 in The Blitz of World War II, and before they werereplaced in 1961, there was a period when by this definition no Bow-bellCockneys could be born. The use of such a literal definition produces otherproblems, since the area around the church is no longer residential and the noise ofthe area makes it unlikely that many people would be born within earshot of thebells anymore [Wright 1980:11]. A study was carried by the city in 2000 to see how far the Bow Bells couldbe heard, and it was estimated that the bells would have been heard six miles to theeast, five miles to the north, three miles to the south, and four miles to the west. Thus while all East Enders are Cockneys, not all Cockneys are East Enders.The traditional core neighbourhoods of the East End are Bethnal Green,Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Stepney, Wapping, Limehouse, Poplar, Millwall,Hackney, Shoreditch, Bow, and Mile End. The area gradually expanded to includeEast Ham, Stratford, West Ham and Plaistow as more land was built upon. Migration of Cockneys has also led to migration of the dialect. Ever sincethe building of the Becontree housing estate, the Barking & Dagenham area hasspoken Cockney. As Chatham Dockyard expanded during the 18th century, largenumbers of workers were relocated from the dockland areas of London, bringingwith them a "Cockney" accent and vocabulary. Within a short period this famouslydistinguished Chatham from the neighbouring areas, including the City ofRochester, which had the traditional Kentish accent. In Essex, towns that mostly grew up from post-war migration out of London(e.g. Basildon, Harlow and West Horndon) often have a strong Cockney influenceon local speech. However, the early dialect researcher A.J. Ellis believed that 7
  8. 8. Cockney developed due to the influence of Essex dialect on London speech. [ Ellis1890:35, 57, 58] 8
  9. 9. §3 Cockney Speech Cockney speakers have a distinctive accent and dialect, and frequently useCockney rhyming slang. The Survey of English Dialects took a recording from along-time resident of Hackney. John Camden Hotten, in his Slang Dictionary of 1859 makes reference to"their use of a peculiar slang language" when describing the costermongers ofLondons East End. In terms of other slang, there are also several borrowings fromYiddish, including kosher (originally Hebrew, via Yiddish, meaning legitimate)and shtumm (/ʃtʊm/ originally German, via Yiddish, meaning quiet), as well asRomany, for example wonga (meaning money, from the Romany "wanga"meaning coal), and cushty (from the Romany kushtipen, meaning good). A fakeCockney accent, as used by some actors, is sometimes called Mockney. 9
  10. 10. 3.1. Typical features  H-dropping [Linguistics 110 Linguistic Analysis: Sentences &Dialects, Lecture Number Twenty One — Regional English Dialects EnglishDialects of the World]  Broad /ɑ:/ (in words such as bath, path, demand, etc), whichoriginated in London but has now spread across the south-east and into ReceivedPronunciation. However, there are exceptions to this rule; for example, the wordmaths, whose pronunciation often surprises people from the North or the South-West.[Wright 1980:136-137]  T-glottalisation: Use of the glottal stop as an allophone of /t/ invarious positions, including after a stressed syllable [Sivertsen 1960:111], [Hughs &Trudgill 1979:34]. /t/ may also be flapped intervocalically. [Sivertsen 1960:109]  Glottal stops also occur, albeit less frequently for /k/ and /p/, andoccasionally for mid-word consonants. For example, Richard Whiteing spelt"Hyde Park" as Hy Par . Like and light can be homophones. "Clapham" can besaid as Claam. [Wright 1980:136-137]  Loss of dental fricatives: [Sivertsen 1960:124]  /θ/ becomes [f] in all environments. [mæfs] "maths"  /ð/ becomes [v] in all environments except word-initially when it is[d]. [bɒvə] "bother," [dæɪ] "they." Very occasionally, this occurs mid-word, as"Bethnall Green" can become Bednall Green. [Wright 1980: 137]  Diphthong alterations:  /eɪ/ → [æɪ]: [bæɪʔ] "bait" [Hughs & Trudgill 1979:39-41]  /əʊ/ → [æʉ]: [kʰæʉʔ] "coat"  /aɪ/ → [ɑɪ]: [bɑɪʔ] "bite"  /aʊ/ may be [æə]: [tʰæən] "town"  Other vowel differences include 10
  11. 11.  /æ/ → [ɛ] or [ɛi] [t n] "tan" [Hughs & Trudgill 1979:35]  /ʌ/ → [ɐ]  /ɔː/ → /oː/ when in non-final position  /iː/ → [əi] [bəiʔ] "beet"  /u:/ → [əʉ] or [ʉ:] [bʉ:ʔ] "boot"  Vocalisation of dark l, hence [mɪowɔ:] for Millwall. The actualrealization of a vocalized /l/ is influenced by surrounding vowels and it may berealized as [u], [o], or [ɤ]. [Matthews 1938:35]  Cockney has been occasionally described as replacing /r/ with /w/. Forexample, thwee instead of three, fwasty instead of frosty. Peter Wright, a Survey ofEnglish Dialects fieldworker, concluded that this was not a universal feature ofCockneys but that it was more common to hear this in the London area thananywhere else in Britain. [Matthews 1938:78]  As with many urban dialects, Cockney is non-rhotic. A final -er isoften pronounced as [ə]. Words such as car, far, park, etc. can have an open [ɑ:].  An unstressed final -ow is pronounced [ə]. This is common to mosttraditional, Southern English dialects except for those in the West Country.  Grammatical features:  Use of me instead of my, for example, "Ats me book you got ere ."[Wright 1980:135]  Use of aint instead of isnt, am not, are not, has not, and have not  Use of double negatives, for example "I didnt see nothing." Most of the features mentioned above have, in recent years, partly spreadinto more general south-eastern speech, giving the accent called Estuary English;an Estuary speaker will use some but not all of the Cockney sounds. 11
  12. 12. Chapter 2 §1 Cockney Rhyming Slang Traditional Cockney rhyming slang works by taking two words that arerelated through a short phrase and using the first word to stand for a word thatrhymes with the second. For instance, the most popular of these rhyming slangphrases used nationwide is probably "telling porkies" meaning lies as "pork pies"rhymes with lies. Also "boat" meaning face as "boat race" rhymes with face.Similarly "plates" meaning feet ("plates of meat"), and "bread" means money(bread and honey). Americans sometimes repeat the word "raspberry," meaning abilabial trill, but dont know that it is taken from "raspberry tarts," which rhymeswith "farts." (This has been said to have been used by Victorian servants to concealtheir speech from their employers ears.) The origins of rhyming slang are disputed. It remains a matter of speculationas to whether it was a linguistic accident or whether it was developed intentionallyto confuse non-locals. If deliberate, it might have simply been used to maintain asense of community; or to be used in the marketplace for vendors to talk amongstthemselves without customers knowing what they were saying; or it may havebeen used by criminals (see thieves cant) to confuse the police. In recent years the practice of dropping the rhyming word and using just thefirst word in the pair has become less common, as the slang has been used bypeople who dont understand the traditional rules. The bastardized form, in whichthe full phrase is used, is now assumed by many people to be Cockney rhymingslang. In its original context this form makes no sense since it does little to excludeoutsiders. It was popularized by Cockney comedians for just that reason. The proliferation of rhyming slang has meant many of its traditionalexpressions have passed into common language, and the creation of new ones(often ironically) is no longer restricted to Cockneys. Some substitutions havebecome relatively widespread in Britain, such as "have a butchers" (which meansto have a look, from "butchers hook"), and these are often now used without 12
  13. 13. awareness of their origins. Many English speakers are unaware that the term "useyour loaf" is derived from "loaf of bread" meaning head. This also holds forvarieties of rhyming slang in other parts of the world: in the United States acommon slang expression, "brass tacks", may be a rhyme for "the facts" and; themost common Australian slang term for an English person is "pommy", which isbelieved to have originated as rhyming slang for immigrant. Some words are much less taboo than their etymology would suggest.However, many people would be horrified to learn that terms they use frequently,like "berk" (often used to mean "foolish person") and "cobblers" (often used tomean "what you just said is rubbish"), are actually from Berkeley Hunt, meaning"cunt," and "cobblers awls", meaning "balls". The non-native speaker needs to be cautious in using rhyming slang to "fitin". The extent of the use of the slang is often exaggerated; only a very few phrasesare in everyday use. Many examples are only used by people who are discussingrhyming slang, or by people who are being ironic or are making up a term on thespot for a joke, often at the expense of the tourist. In addition, since the originalpurpose was to encode or disguise speech from the comprehension of bystanders,terms that become too well-known still have a tendency to lose actual currencyfairly quickly, putting whatever usage the slang enjoys into a constant flux. This style of rhyming has spread through many English-speaking countries,where the original phrases are supplemented by rhymes created to fit local needs.Creation of rhyming slang has become a word game for people of many classesand regions. The term Cockney rhyming slang is generally applied to theseexpansions to indicate the rhyming style; though arguably the term only applies tophrases used in the East End of London. Similar formations do exist in other partsof the United Kingdom; for example, in the East Midlands, the local accent hasformed "Derby Road", which rhymes with "cold": a conjunction that would not bepossible in any other dialect of the UK. All slang is rooted in the era of its origin, and therefore some of the meaningof its original etymology will be lost as time passes. In the 1980s for example, 13
  14. 14. "Kerry Packered" meant "knackered"; in the 1990s, "Veras" referred to Rizlarolling papers ("Vera Lynns" = "skins" = Rizlas), as popularized in the song"Ebeneezer Goode" by The Shamen; and in 2004, the term "Britneys" was used tomean "beers" (or in Ireland to mean "queers") via the music artist "Britney Spears". Cockney Rhyming Slang may have had its highs and lows but today it is inuse as never before. In the last few years hundreds of brand new slang expressions have beeninvented - many betraying their modern roots, eg "Emma Freuds: hemorrhoids";(Emma Freud is a TV and radio broadcaster) and "Ayrton Senna": tenner (10pound note). Modern Cockney slang that is being developed today tends to only rhymewords with the names of celebrities or famous people. There are very few newCockney slang expressions that do not follow this trend. The only one that hasgained much ground recently that bucks this trend is "Wind and Kite" meaning"Web site". 14
  15. 15. 1.1 Rhyming Slang in Popular Culture  The British comedy series Mind Your Language (1977) features acharacter (caretaker Sid) who uses Cockney rhyming slang extensively. The showalso had a whole episode dedicated to Cockney rhyming slang.  Musical artists such as Audio Bullys, The Streets, and Chas & Daveregularly use rhyming slang in their songs. The UK punk scene of the late 70sbrought along bands that glorified their working-class heritage: Sham 69 had a hitsong "The Cockney Kids are Innocent"; often audience members would chant thewords "If youre proud to be a Cockney, clap your hands" in between songs. Theterm "Chas and Dave" is also rhyming slang for "shave". Ian Dury who usedrhyming slang throughout his career, even wrote a song for his solo debut NewBoots and Panties! entitled Blackmail Man, an anti-racist song that utilizednumerous derogatory rhyming slang for various ethnic minorities. The idiom evenbriefly made an appearance in the UK-based DJ reggae music of the 80s, in the hit"Cockney Translation" by Smiley Culture; this was followed a couple of yearslater by Domenick & Peter Metros "Cockney and Yardie".  Classic rock band Deep Purple used Cockney rhyming slang in thetitle for the song "A Gypsys Kiss", on their Perfect Strangers record: the titleactually means "A piss".  Rhyming slang is often used in feature films, such as Lock, Stock andTwo Smoking Barrels (1998) (the United States DVD version comes with aglossary to assist the viewer), and on television (e.g. Minder, Only Fools andHorses, EastEnders) to lend authenticity to an East End setting. In To Sir WithLove Sidney Poitiers students baffle him with their use of rhyming slang. AustinPowers in Goldmember features a dialogue between Powers and his father Nigelentirely in rhyming slang. The theme song to The Italian Job, composed by QuincyJones, contains many rhyming slang expressions; the lyrics by Don Black amusedand fascinated the composer. 15
  16. 16.  The film Green Street Hooligans (2005) features a brief explanationof the process by which rhyming slang is derived.  The box office success Oceans Eleven (2001) contains a piece ofmade-up rhyming slang, when a character uses "barney" to mean "trouble," andderives it from Barney Rubble. (In actual usage "barney" does not mean trouble; itmeans an argument or a fight, and is not understood to be rhyming slang at all.Understanding British English, by Margaret E. Moore, Citadel Press, 1995, doesnot list "Barney" in its "Rhyming Slang" section. Slang and Its Analogues, by J.S.Farmer and W.E. Henley, 1890, says that "Barney", which can mean anything froma "lark" to a "row", is of unknown origin, and was used in print as early as 1865.)  The film The Limey (1999) features Terrence Stamp as Wilson, aCockney man recently released from prison who spices his conversations withrhyming slang: Wilson: Cant be too careful nowadays, yknow? Lot of tea leaves about,know what I mean? Warehouse Foreman: Excuse me? Wilson: "Tea leaves"... "thieves". Wilson: Eddy... yeah, hes me new china. Elaine: What? Wilson: "China plate"... "mate". Wilson: Im gonna ave a butchers round the house. Ed Roel: Who you gonna butcher? Wilson: "Butchers hook"... "look".  In the film The Football Factory (2004) the character of Zebedee isberated for his occasional use of "that fucking muggy rhyming slang" by BillyBright.  Anthony Burgess uses rhyming slang as a part of the fictitious"Nadsat" dialect in his book A Clockwork Orange.  In the Discworld novel Going Postal, rhyming slang is parodied with"Dimwell arrhythmic rhyming slang," which is like rhyming slang, but doesnt 16
  17. 17. rhyme. An example of this is a wig being a prune, as wig doesnt, possibly by acomplex set of unspoken rules, rhyme with "syrup of prunes." (In Britain a widelyused example of real rhyming slang is syrup = syrup of fig(s) = wig).  In the film Mr. Lucky (1943), Cary Grants character teaches rhymingslang to his female companion. However the character describes this as Australianrhyming slang.  On September 19, 2006, the comic strip Get Fuzzy introduced a newcharacter: Mac Manc McManx, a Manx cat and cousin of Bucky Katt. McManxuses a speech pattern heavily based around Cockney rhyming slang and otherLondon slang, despite being from Manchester. These speech patterns often make italmost impossible for the other characters, especially Satchel, to understand him.  The title character in the China Miéville novel King Rat (1998 novel)uses Cockney rhyming slang in the vast majority of his dialog.  Ronnie Barker wrote a classic sketch for the comedy series "The TwoRonnies" in which a vicar delivers an entire sermon in rhyming slang, a largeportion of which refers to a "small brown Richard the Third", which seems to meanturd, until he says that it flew back to its nest.  Cockney rhyming slang is occasionally featured as a category onJeopardy!.  The Irish series of books and columns Ross OCarroll-Kelly frequentlyuses variations on rhyming slang popular (or allegedly so) among members of theDublin 4 population (for example, "battle cruiser" = "boozer").  The Disney movie One Hundred and One Dalmatians features someCockney rhyming slang by the two puppy thieves. Note that the rhyming word isalso included, for example "A lovely pair of turtle doves".  In Garth Ennis The Boys, Billy Butcher refers to Americans asSeptics, then explains "Septic Tank: Yank"  On the London Weekend Television situation comedy from the 70s,No, Honestly, air-headed character Clara referred to one woman "with the bigBirminghams." Her romantic partner, C.D., incredulous, asked her what she meant, 17
  18. 18. not recognizing a valid rhyming slang reference (Birmingham City = Titty). Clarasexplanation was, "Oh, C.D., its rhyming slang - Birmingham town bosoms!"which, of course, neither rhymes nor is slang.  In the new series of Doctor Who, in episode one of the 2nd season,"New Earth", originally broadcast on April 15, 2006, Cassandra (who isinhabiting Roses body) asks Chip how Rose speaks. He replies, "Old earthCockney." She then uses several examples of Cockney rhyming slang, including"Im proceeding up the apples and pears" (stairs) and "I just dont Adam and Eve it"(believe it)  Sex Pistol Steve Jones, on his Indie 103.1 radio program JonesysJukebox, refers to advertising breaks as "visiting the Duke." (Duke of Kent = paythe rent.) 18
  19. 19. 1.2 Common Examples of the Cockney Rhyming SlangThe rhyming slang is shown in blue and the meaning – in red: Adam and Eve Believe Would you Adam and Eve it? Alligator Later See you later alligator. Apples and Pears Stairs Get up those apples to bed! Army and Navy Gravy Pass the army, will you? Bacon and Eggs Legs She has such long bacons. Barnet Fair Hair Im going to have my barnet cut. Bees and Honey Money Hand over the bees. Biscuits and Cheese Knees Ooh! What knobbly biscuits! Bull and Cow Row We dont have to have a bull about it. Butchers Hook Look I had a butchers at it through the window. Cobblers Awls Balls Youre talking cobblers! Crust of Bread Head Use your crust, lad. Daffadown Dilly Silly Shes a bit daffy. Hampton Wick Prick Youre getting on my wick! Khyber Pass Arse Stick that up your Khyber. Loaf of Bread Head Think about it; use your loaf. Mince Pies Eyes What beautiful minces. Oxford Scholar Dollar Could you lend me an Oxford? Pen and Ink Stink Pooh! It pens a bit in here. Rabbit and Pork Talk I dont know what shes rabbiting about. Raspberry Tart Fart I can smell a raspberry. Scarpa Flow Go Scarpa! The police are coming! Trouble and Strife Wife The troubles been shopping again. Uncle Bert Shirt Im ironing my Uncle. Weasel and Stoat Coat Wheres my weasel? 19
  20. 20. Chapter 3 §1 The Future of the Cockney Dialect Say goodbye to Eliza Doolittle and say hello to Ali G. Today, youre more likely to hear about someones "blud" - friend - or"headin westside" - going home - in Londons East End rather than a reference tohaving a "butchers hook" - having a look - or "being someones china plate" -mate. Cockney took root in the Victorian era as the unofficial phonetic twang ofeveryday London, largely defined in popular culture by Dick Van Dyke’s Cockneychimney sweep in "Mary Poppins" and Eliza Doolittle, the down-and-out Londonflower girl in George Bernard Shaws famed play, "Pygmalion". But nowadays a new multicultural dialect, shaped by second-and third-generation London immigrants, including West Africans, Afro-Caribbeans andBangladeshis is appearing. "In postwar London, you saw a lot of migration out of the city by white,working-class families into suburbs like Essex and satellite towns," said Sue Fox, aresearch assistant in the Linguistics Department at London Universitys QueenMary College. "Now, you have African, South American and Asian families blending all ofthose old influences from cockney and their native languages together into a newvariety of speech." A new mix of cockney and Bangladeshi has developed which is similar toReceived Pronunciation, particularly in vowel sounds, according to Sue Fox, aresearch fellow in sociolinguistic variation at Queen Mary College, University ofLondon. Researchers found that a new type of speech, influenced by a dizzyingnumber of foreign languages and pronunciations, rap music and popular TVprogrammes have altered traditional cockney. 20
  21. 21. Among the most prominent television programmes is "Da Ali G Show," aBritish Channel 4 show - also screened on HBO in the US - which features a hiphop-obsessed Briton, Ali G, speaking in Jafaican tongue, decked out in colourfuljump suits and gold jewellery. But English linguists are not so pessimistic about the future of the Cockneydialect. Professor David Crystal, a BBC Voices consultant and one of the worldsleading language specialists, said that traditional cockney is not so much dying outbut that new kinds of mixed accents are developing. "Walk down Brick Lane and you will hear all sorts of interesting voices anddialects. Undoubtedly, some of the old-style cockney might be dying out as somerural dialects are dying out. But all accents change." The cockney accent is not disappearing altogether, but shifting to outlyingtowns and boroughs, according to Laura Wright, senior lecturer in EnglishLanguage at the University of Cambridge. "Long-standing East End communities were very much disrupted after thesecond world war, partly due to bomb damage, partly to slum clearance, and manyinhabitants were transferred out of London to the newly built new towns, such asBasildon and Harlow," Dr Wright said. "Of course, when East Enders resettled they took their speech with them.They and their descendants continue to speak in an east London dialect with eastLondon accents - although this has changed over the intervening half century, aslanguage is continually changing. Such speakers today would not sound identicalto their East End antecedents." 21
  22. 22. Conclusions The cockney dialect is an English dialect spoken in the East End of London,although the area in which it is spoken has shrunk considerably. It is typicallyassociated with working class citizens of London, who were called cockneys, andit contains several distinctive traits that are known to many English speakers, as thedialect is rather famous. The term ―cockney‖ comes from a Middle English word, cokenei, whichmeans ―city dweller.‖ It is probably derived from a medieval term referring to therunt of a litter or clutch of eggs, which was used pejoratively to refer to peopleliving in the then crowded, disease ridden, and dirty cities. The distinctive accentof working class Londoners, especially those living in the East End, was remarkedupon by observers as long ago as the 17th century. The primary characteristics of cockney dialect include the dropping of theletter ―H‖ from many words, the use of double negatives, contractions, and vowelshifts which drastically change the way words sound. In addition, many consonantsor combinations are replaced with other sounds, as is the case in ―frushes‖ for―thrushes.‖ In some cases, the final consonant of a word is also dropped, forexample ―ova‖ for ―over.‖ Many of the traits of cockney speech suggest the lowerclasses to some observers; for example, the use of ―me‖ to replace ―my‖ in manysentences is usually associated with a less than perfect understanding of theEnglish language. One of the more unique aspects of cockney speech is cockney rhymingslang. Although rhyming slang is not used as extensively as some fancifulindividuals might imagine, aspects of it are certainly used in daily speech. Incockney rhyming slang, a word is replaced with a phrase, usually containing aword which rhymes with the original word, for example ―dog and bone‖ for―telephone.‖ Often, a word from the phrase is used as shorthand to refer to the 22
  23. 23. initial word, as is the case with ―porkies‖ for ―lies,‖ derived from the rhymingslang ―porkies and pies.‖ Cockney speech can be extremely difficult to understand, especially forother English-speaking people, as it is littered with word replacements thanks torhyming slang, cultural references, and shifts in vowels and consonants which canrender words incomprehensible to the listener. Like other unique dialects, a thickcockney accent can seem almost like another language. Care should also be takenwhen attempting to mimic it, as the cockney dialect can be very slippery,especially when it comes to the use of rhyming slang, and native users may beconfused or amused by the attempts of a non-native. Some linguist have become concerned that the cockney dialect may fall outof spoken English, due to the influence of multicultural immigrants in London whohave added their own regional slang and speech patterns to the dialect. Othersbelieve that the cockney dialect will never die, vice versa it is regenerating. 23
  24. 24. Bibliography 1. Ellis, Alexander J. (1890), English dialects: Their Sounds and Homes 2. Hughes, Arthur & Peter Trudgill (1979), written at Baltimore, English Accents and Dialects: An Introduction to Social and Regional Varities of British English, University Park Press 3. Matthews, William (1938), written at Detroit, Cockney, Past and Present: a Short History of the Dialect of London, Gale Research Company 4. Sivertsen, Eva (1960), written at Oslo, Cockney Phonology, University of Oslo 5. Wright, Peter (1981), written at London, Cockney Dialect and Slang, B.T. Batsford Ltd. 6. Ayto, John. 2002. The Oxford Dictionary of Rhyming Slang. Oxford University Press. 7. Franklyn, Julian. 1960. A Dictionary of Rhyming Slang. Routledge. 8. Green, Jonathon. 2000. Cassells Rhyming Slang. Cassell. 9. Lillo, Antonio (full name, Antonio Lillo Buades). 1996. "Drinking and Drug-Addiction Terms in Rhyming Slang". In Comments on Etymology 25 (6): pp. 1-23.10. Lillo, Antonio. 1998. "Origin of Cockney Slang Dicky Dirt". In Comments on Etymology 27 (8): pp. 16-20.11. Lillo, Antonio. 1999. "More on Sausage and Mash Cash". In Gerald L. Cohen and Barry Popik (eds.), Studies in Slang. Part VI. Peter Lang, pp. 87- 89.12. Lillo, Antonio. 2000. "Bees, Nelsons, and Sterling Denominations: A Brief Look at Cockney Slang and Coinage". In Journal of English Linguistics 28 (2): pp. 145-172.13. Lillo, Antonio. 2001. "The Rhyming Slang of the Junkie". In English Today 17 (2): pp. 39-45. 24
  25. 25. 14. Lillo, Antonio. 2001. "From Alsatian Dog to Wooden Shoe: Linguistic Xenophobia in Rhyming Slang". In English Studies 82 (4): pp. 336-348.15. Lillo, Antonio. 2004. "A Wee Keek at Scottish Rhyming Slang". In Scottish Language 23: pp. 93-115.16. Lillo, Antonio. 2004. "Exploring Rhyming Slang in Ireland". In English World-Wide 25 (2): pp. 273-285.17. Lillo, Antonio. 2006. "Cut-down Puns". In English Today 22 (1): pp. 36-44. 25