Feeds

The American-speaker's guide to Proper English

Pukka lingo, Blighty style

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

We regularly receive missives from representatives of our American readership politely requesting clarification of the highly esoteric and colourful language for which El Reg is rightly famous - especially when our US brethren are confronted with terms such as "boffin", "blagger", "slag", "cobblers" or "prat".

Here's a recent email which demonstrates the problem:

Hi. I'm not sure if you are the right person I should be e-mailing, so if not, I would appreciate it if you either forward this to the appropriate party or reply with the correct email that I should send this to.

I am an American and I enjoy The Register. My only problem with your site is that I don't know a lot of your slang, i.e., bespoke, chav, bourses, etc. I usually look in the dictionary or Google the slang if I can't determine its definition by its context. I think a lot of Americans would enjoy your site more it you linked the distinctly British or European words to a dictionary so us "New World'ers" could more easily understand their meanings.

Even if you don't, much thanks to you and all of your fellow employees for the excellent source of tech-related news.

Signed,

Avid Reader in the U.S. of A.

Well, we can't see what the problem is with "bespoke" (made-to-measure) - unless they don't have tailors on the other side of the Pond. Of course, "bourse" is a French word, so the less said about that the better. We take your point about "chav", however, and have done a bit of trawling to see if we could find any online resources to help out our linguistically-impoverished colonial cousins.

First up, we have a rather useful compendium of Anglicisms from effingpot.com. Revelations include the fact that "throw a wobbler" means to lose one's rag, "off his trolley" indicates that the subject is completely rat-arsed and/or bonkers and that "pissed" actually equals "totally bladdered" and not (pay attention at the back there) "annoyed".

With us so far? Lovely jubbly.

Our second resource is a tasty interactive Flash animation which offers spoken British translations of everyday phrases. So, "I believe what you just said is untrue" is correctly rendered as "What a load of old bollocks", while the currently useful "It is very cold" emerges as "It's cold enough to freeze the bollocks off a brass monkey".

Pukka. We here at Vulture Central are currently mooting the introduction of our own online glossary, but in the meantime can thoroughly recommend both of the above as basic primers. So, until we finally sort our arse from our elbow - which could take donkey's years - readers are advised to have a shufti, gen up and get it sussed and sorted in the lingo department. ®

Related stories

The Ziff-Davis Guide To Britishers (and other foreigners)
You don't know your ass from your elbow
Forget Cockney and Popney, here comes Chipney
Beware Greeks bearing Greeklish
The color of irony

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors
'It's ecological' says spokesman, now how would you like your Bambi done?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.