American/Cockney Translations

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I am always keen to facilitate the idea of Americans visiting the UK. I like Americans, they’re really funny. Sadly, most Americans become confused when they visit the UK, because they don’t understand the language. They think they can speak and understand “English” but when they arrive in London (as they inevitably do) they discover that the locals do not sound like Mike Myers, or Johnny Depp, or even Daphne out of Frasier. In London, the locals speak “Cockney”. So here are a few useful Cockney phrases, for Americans visiting our shores. You’re welcome.

“Hello” (said to a man):Alright mate? How’s it hangin’?”

“Hello” (said to a woman): “Cheer up darlin’ it might never ‘appen!”

“Please direct me to a bar”:Where’s the nearest boozer mate?”

“How much does that cost?”:What’s the damage on that?”

“Where are the rest rooms?”: “Any bogs in ‘ere? I’m breakin’ me neck!”

“You’ve been very helpful” (said to a man): You’re a diamond geezer mate.”
“You’ve been very helpful” (said to a woman):Fanks darlin’ you’re a top bird.”

“I would like to try some authentic British food”:I could murder a curry.”

“I would like a cup of tea”:Stick the kettle on, I’m dyin’ for a cuppa.”

“I think you are mistaken”:  “You’re talkin’ bollocks.”

“Are you joking?”:You’re pullin’ my plonker, ain’cha?”

“I’m very surprised”:I don’t Adam and Eve it!”

“I am exhausted”:I’m cream crackered.”

“I am travelling alone”:I’m on me Jack.”

“Would you like to have sex with me?”:Fancy a shag?”

“I’m sorry, I do not find you attractive”:You’ve got a boat race like a bag of spanners.”

A basic list of useful phrases there but if my public demands it, I may do some more at a later date. Don’t be too shy to ask me for translations in Comments either, I live to serve.

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30 responses to “American/Cockney Translations

  1. This would all be very helpful if the angry volcano gods weren’t preventing anyone from visiting your country.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=115116998512440

  2. I just put that there because joining that group might give you an actual reason to go to Facebook.

  3. These are WONDERFUL! One of my hobbies is accents and I’ve got a few UK ones down. I’ve got cockney, but without the actual phraseology it kinda falls flat. Posts like these are a godsend.

    • Cool, I’m glad you liked it. I use some of these myself but not all of them.

      I found a couple of websites claiming to have proper Cockney on them but seriously, they included loads of bullshit.

      Feel free to link/pimp this, if the mood takes you – it’s a bit quiet here compared to LJ.

      ( Don’t use my old name though, I’m hiding from the attentions of my ex. *sigh*)

      You need to fire up your new website! It looks good. Shout me when you want it on my Blogroll, or whatever.

  4. Ehehe, my fav one is about the restrooms.

    You’ve been missed, I’m happy to have found you over here and read your archives. Getting new posts through RSS now. :)

  5. ROFL What about the loo? I’ve heard so much about the loo!

    “Fancy a shag?” Oh that just kills me! I think we’re familiar enough with the term “shag” thanks to Mike Myers, but just the way it’s asked – no drinks or dinner first, just a shag, like going for a walk. Too funny!

    • Oh, of COURSE we say “the loo” – we say that loads. But “loo” is almost posh now, certainly middle-class. Cockneys come from the roughest part of London, so I chose a more interesting and less polite word (that they also use) instead.

      I’m not sure British women are up for a shag immediately but I get the impression that American women make men try much harder. ;)

  6. Holy shit! No wonder I can’t understand a Guy Ritchie movie.

    I once had a man from England in my section and I couldn’t understand a single thing he was saying. He finally laughed and said, “We’re separated by a common language.” At least that’s what I thought he said.

    • Haha! A famous quote and very true. Of course, Cockneys do have a language all of their own (due to the use of Rhyming Slang), so most Brits can’t understand a lot of it.

      People in America gave me quite a few blank looks too.

  7. Nice! I’d like to see more of these!

    My new favorite word is “boozer.”

    • Thanks! I will do more in future, because they are fun. It’s not as if I have to try hard – I actually say a lot of them, or I know them anyway. I had to look at some online scources though, just to remind me which of the things I say AREN’T “normal” but are in fact “Cockney”. Hahaha!

  8. huzzah for finding you once again – just saw your quick update post. Will bookmark and follow here now. Cheers! Presumably patsyrant has already followed you here? Or shall I tell him?

    • He knows about it and he has commented on Dave’s – but I think he is busy doing other things at present and hasn’t made it to here. He’s such a bitch.

      And hello! :D

      • ah, I should have known he’d be ahead of me in this. Busy? Yes, throwing glam cocktail parties and buying fab coffee tables. God, you’re right – he’s a bitch. ;-)

  9. Professor Liddle-Oldman

    Wotcher! I’ve already garnered a number of these from Terry Pratchett!

    • Of course! Yeah, he does use some. My Grandmother (Little Nan) used to say “Wotcher” and she also used to call everyone “Cock”, or “Cocker”. As kids we thought that was hilarious. Lots of old Londoners say “Cock” as a term of endearment. There is even a joke about it :

      “What do you say to a man with no arms, when you want to know the time?”

      “Have you got a watch on yer, Cock?”

      I bet that lost a lot in translation.

  10. You, my dear, are a top bird.

  11. I spent a lot of time in the UK last year and learned all about Cockney rhyming slang. “Apples and Pears”, “Ayrton Senna”, “Bacon and Eggs”. and “Dog and Bone” are my favorites.

    I once tried to have them catch on here, but failed miserably. They sound sooooooooo stupid said in an American accent. :)

  12. There’s a lot that you can garner from a Terry Pratchett book, but I’m still unsure as to the exact translation of ‘nobby.’ Although I know it’s not a compliment!

    • “Nobby” usually means “posh” or “stylish/fashionable”. There’s an old East End Music Hall song that goes,

      “Where did you get that hat,
      Where did you get that tile?
      Isn’t it a nobby one?
      And just the proper style.
      I should like to have one,
      Just the same as that.
      Where e’re I’d go
      They’d shout “Hello!
      Where did you get that hat?”.

      Ignore the fact it says “tie” the lyric is “TILE” (as somebody else explains in the YouTube comments).

  13. When we first moved to London from Chicago, the funniest phrase I heard (and I am sure it said just for the reaction) was said by one of my husband’s work mates:
    “I’m just gonna nip out back to suck on a fag.”

    We lived there for 6 years and that still makes me giggle…

    • Haha! When I was 17 a girl from Canada joined our school. She quickly made friends with a boy called Mark and they hung out constantly. One day he was really late for lunch, arriving just as the nicest food in the canteen ran out…

      Canadian Girl: Mark, where have you BEEN? I waited for you and now they only have stew left!

      Mark: Oh sorry, I was in the toilets, having a fag.

      Canadian Girl: You were WHAT?!

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