“Brown bread” for dead, "borrow and beg” for egg, or "bubble bath" for laugh. Cockney rhyming slang—which replaces a word with a rhyming phrase—is said to have originated almost 200 years ago in the East End of London, and it’s still in use today.
In fact, any English speaking region you visit has its own flavor of language. In the US, a soft drink might be called “pop” in one county, “soda” in another, “Coke” in a third. And in Australia, you’ll hear “arvo” for afternoon, “mozzie” for mosquito and “whinge” for whine. Linguists estimate that there are more than 60 dialects in the US and the UK alone, each made up of a particular set of slang, terminology, and phrasing… and accent!
Other languages add even more flavor to the English pot. With more than half the world fluent in two languages (or more), the majority of us English speakers converse in another tongue, too—Spanish or Mandarin, Hindi or Russian, Arabic or Dutch. English changes with the influence of these sister languages. Hybrid words and constructions emerge, combining the best parts of two tongues, and even culture. Here are a few examples:
Singlish (Singaporean English)
See how: Wait and see how an unpredictable situation turns out
Confirm plus chop: to be extremely sure of something
Arrow: To order or direct someone to carry out a task
Chilear: Chilling out
Googlear or gugulear: To Google
First Class: Excellent, top notch
PJ: Abbreviation for Poor Joke
This week, dear language enthusiasts, tell us your favorite English hybrid or local slang, and use the word or phrase in a creative example. We've asked a few of you to get the ball rolling. Dip into these local tongues for added inspiration:
Gabriel Goodwin's "Filipino Slang"
The Bubbling Pen's "Out Woop Woop"