How to Talk Like a Local: From Cockney to Geordie, a National Companion by Susie Dent

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How to Talk Like a Local: From Cockney to Geordie, a National Companion by Susie Dent

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Category: Trivia
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A handy and worthwhile little guide to regional British slang and idiom.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: March 2010
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 978-1905211791

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Meeting a grammersow in a netty is more common than you might think - I'd put my revits on it. Having a neb around these pages I can find many different ways of saying the above, as well - or should that be boco ways. But before this review comes out as complete cag-mag, I'd better say this book is just as you'd expect - an amenable, approachable but intelligent look at regional idiom and slang, in A-Z dictionary form.

I've seen other, similar books, including maps of the country for every word, so we get a geographical look at where, say, a bread bun becomes a bap, a cob, a batch, or something else. With a simple browse through this we find that format was unnecessary, as the delights of finding where our land is slobby and where slubby, are simply enough revealed, and where going to hell is actually a pleasant, dutiful experience. We get copious articles - ugly people galore, pretty gals aplenty, and their friends and muckers, the money they spend, and the alleyways between their houses (twittens where/when I grew up).

This then is ideal for browsing, with a simple paragraph for every entry, copious box-outs where subjects are combined, and larger patches of the book concerning British regions in one go. There is a slight bit of editorialising, but I don't object to any that Susie Dent gives us. It might look from the multiple mentions of other works she was simply rehashing what is common knowledge to lexicographers and idiom buffs galore, but I've read several books of these now, for the book reviewing gods and for myself, and I have to say several of the words here are new to me, and if I had the memory for using them daily I would be insufferable. Joblocks is one of my favourites, but there are many to be found.

As a result I can almost ignore the fact that none of the slang I'm supposed to have grown up hearing, in Sussex, is what I was using. We were never arney, having bait on Bandy-Ann day (and I bunked off well before I moved to Leicestershire) - I won't go through the alphabet, but I was puzzled at how new so much of what should be familiar was, and how wide (geographically speaking) my childhood tongue was. Not only that, I thought tatered was knackered, not just very cold.

Which does at least represent the merits of this handy, fun compendium - it opens the eyes and ears to words that might be on their way out, or certainly started way away, before reaching your corner of the land. For that and the fact it remains a fun, good value guide to oddball words that will delight many more than the crossword setter or Scrabble fan, we at the Bookbag have to recommend it strongly. And we're not jannicking.

Not only that, but I howled with laughter on discovering why a twirlie is so called. Not a common response to a dictionary.

If there is room for improvement it would be the lack of pronounciation guide - it would help, initially at least, with entries such as tizzacky.

I must thank the publishers at Random House for my review copy.

Toujours Tingo by Adam Jacot de Boinod has unusual words from around the world for us all to discover.

Buy How to Talk Like a Local: From Cockney to Geordie, a National Companion by Susie Dent at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How to Talk Like a Local: From Cockney to Geordie, a National Companion by Susie Dent at Amazon.co.uk


Buy How to Talk Like a Local: From Cockney to Geordie, a National Companion by Susie Dent at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How to Talk Like a Local: From Cockney to Geordie, a National Companion by Susie Dent at Amazon.com.

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