The Standardization of English

The Standardization of English

For Part 1 of this assignment I decided to use an expression that belongs to Cockney rhyming slang. The phrase I chose is "Crust of Bread"; as in "Head". One might use it in a sentence like this: "Use your crust, lad". In fact, I found myself spoilt for choice when trying to decide which phrase to select.

As a newcomer to the United Kingdom, but London in particular, I have been simply amazed by the accents and the expressions and language I have encountered throughout The City. Whilst I was able to gain a reasonably good written command of the English language, through my traditional education in Greece and through working for my family’s hotel in Mykonos, I was truly surprised by the Cockney rhyming slang because we don’t have anything like it in Greece today! In my own life, I have noticed that my three young children have already begun to use rhyming and slang within their writings at school, since moving to the United Kingdom. It’s really marvelous to watch them express themselves with such imagination.

Initially, I used the Internet in researching Cockney rhyming slang. Other types of research are quite difficult because the ‘language’ has uncertain roots.1 It is generally thought to have been the code spoken by the thieves of London. However, until the advent of the Internet, this language was almost entirely spoken, with very few written records. Using the Internet I was able to find numerous websites offering many thousands of examples of Cockney rhyming slang.

One website, explained that during the 14th century, the word “cockney”, which originated from "cockeneys" (or misshapen eggs, as if laid by a cock), referred to the city dwellers, who were considered ignorant of 'real life'. But even a relative newcomer, as I consider myself, recognises that the people living in the East End of London are not ignorant of real life and perhaps quite the opposite is true.

The author of the website, reference below, suggested that since the 17th century,...

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