Due to my dear friend T, who lived in
There are lots of
Mind you I can't get away with actually saying many of these words and phrases because they don't sound right with an American accent. But I can think them. And thanks to Ted Duckworth's "Dictionary of Slang," now I have the spellings.
My current favorite word is: Whinge. (pronounced like "hinge" with a "w" in front)
The American word is "whine," as in "to complain."
Whining has an onomatopoetic quality to it which is nice but the hard "g" followed by a silent "g" at the end makes "whingin'" a lot of fun to say. Try it now: whingin', whingin', whingin'.
The other great UK word is the ultimate ugly word in American English: the "c-word." Yes, it's four letters long. The one that the Vagina Monologues attempts to nullify. Yes, that one.
Here one simply doesn't say it. Too much trouble. In the
The thing I learned from our British cousins is that you can conjugate the c-word. A character in a Denise Mina novel described having a "cunting headache," which I thought was a clever way of expressing the severity of the pain. Oh and the character happened to be female, so it's not a misogynistic word. It's just really really bad. It's the worst word. So it has some power behind it.
But, and I have a very Frank Zappa attitude about this, it's just a word. It can't actually hurt anyone.
Certainly words can hurt feelings but it's not the words themselves which cause the problem, it's how the words were delivered or whatever emotional baggage we carry with us in conjunction with the words. You can do some serious damage with totally innocuous words. I once got into trouble for calling someone a "grilled cheese sandwich." I blame Sam Kinison.
Racist language is an exception. Michael Richards was out of his cunting mind when he called those folks the n-word.
But some folks will get upset about the strangest and most benign words. I think I've mentioned before that one of my brothers has a problem with the word "tasty." It just makes him cringe.
Pasta, a co-worker, has a brother who has a great deal of difficulty with the word "ointment." Granted, he is the same person who refuses to eat the part of a sandwich which he has been holding while eating the rest of it, calling those bits the "sandwich handles" which he will leave on his plate, so clearly inpatient therapy would be recommended in his case.
I'd always recommend that one chooses their words carefully but I'll add this: don't be afraid to take a chance. Provided you have a decent grasp on what it actually means, throw some odd slang into your vocabulary. Not necessarily the naughty words but just a fun new word. It feels good.
And for those who don't like slang in any form:
a) you're probably not a big fan of this blog anyway, and
b) quit your whingin', you twat!