Dent's Modern Tribes: The Secret Languages of Britain

Hachette UK

Did you know that . . . a soldier's biggest social blunder is called jack brew - making yourself a cuppa without making one for anyone else? That twitchers have an expression for a bird that can't be identified - LBJ (the letters stand for Little Brown Job)? Or that builders call plastering the ceiling doing Lionel Richie's dancefloor? Susie Dent does.

Ever wondered why football managers all speak the same way, what a cabbie calls the Houses of Parliament, or how ticket inspectors discreetly request back-up? We are surrounded by hundreds of tribes, each speaking their own distinct slanguage of colourful words, jokes and phrases, honed through years of conversations on the battlefield, in A&E, backstage, or at ten-thousand feet in the air.

Susie Dent has spent years interviewing hundreds of professionals, hobbyists and enthusiasts, and the result is an idiosyncratic phrasebook like no other. From the Freemason's handshake to the publican's banter, Dent's Modern Tribes takes us on a whirlwind tour of Britain, decoding its secret languages and, in the process, finds out what really makes us all tick.

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About the author

Susie Dent is the resident word expert in Dictionary Corner on C4's Countdown and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. She comments regularly on TV and radio on words in the news, and has contributed to Woman's Hour, 15 x 15, Word of Mouth, More or Less, Today, BBC Breakfast, and R4's Wordaholics.. Susie is the author of several books, and has weekly columns in both the Radio Times and the website Mental Floss.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Hachette UK
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Published on
Oct 20, 2016
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781473623880
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Humor / General
Humor / Topic / Language
Language Arts & Disciplines / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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If you were a Londoner visiting Cornwall would you know how to recognise a grammersow?
If you were from the West Country and took a trip up to Scotland, would you be bewildered if someone described you as crabbit?
And what if you left your native Belfast for Liverpool, would you understand if someone called you a woollyback?

How to Talk Like a Local is an entertaining guide that gathers together and explains hundreds of words that you would never find in an ordinary dictionary. From dardledumdue, which means day-dreamer in East Anglia, through forkin robbins, the Yorkshire term for earwigs, to clemt, a Lancashire word that means hungry, it covers the enormously rich variety of regional words that pepper the English language.

Not only does it pick out unique and unusal local words, it also draws together the dozens of terms from all over the country that mean the same thing, such as knee-knabbed, crab-ankled and hurked-up for knock-kneed, and obzocky, butters and maftin for ugly. In addition, it digs down to uncover the origins of these words, tracing their routes in to the language. Many terms meaning left-handed, for example, are related to the Kerr family of Ferniehirst Castle in Scotland, who preferred left-handed warriors. And many seemingly new coinages have been around for centuries, such as chav, which derives from a Romany word meaning child, or scouse, which probably comes from lapskaus, a Norwegian word for a sailors' stew.

If you're intrigued by these colourful words and phrases, if you're interested in how English is really spoken, or if you want to discover how our language has evolved over the years, How to Talk Like a Local will prove irresistible - and enlightening - reading.

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