The closer you live to the Queen’s house at Buckingham Palace in the City of Westminster, the more eloquent one’s comprehension of the English is. I live about an hour out, so although I do stumble with grammatical syntax, at least you can understand what I am saying (I hope).
Working in Essex, is like working in a different country, at times I need a translator to understand what my colleagues are saying and I know that they struggle to hear me. I spent my formative years learning English from pre-colonial Ghanaian parents and although the pronunciation of some things were a bit dodgy (e.g. Cucumber being pronounced Cocoomber). For the most part it was the Queen’s English and not the American/Jamaican/Eastenders type “slanging” I hear from the “yoof” of today.
So to aide me in my understanding of the indigenous Southenders, I have put together my own newbees guide to leaving amongst the Essex people.
Firstly, in the same way the Ashanti’s mix up their L’s and their R’s (e.g. Herro for Hello and play for pray), in Essex the speak with a silent t. So water becomes wa’er, and better becomes be’er.
Awigh’ is a greeting meaning hello, how are you.
Then “ou” and “ow” turns into an “a” so where I say “see you tomorrow” they will respond “ok see ya tomorra”.
If you hear the word “pukka”, it means good. Cheers as you probably know means thank you and aint it means isn’t it (same as the East London “innit”).
The word “sick” is used a lot, contrary to the Oxford English Dictionary this means that something is amazing.
Instead of saying “as well” or “in addition to”, the Essex people abbreviate this to “un’all”.
H’s are also silent e.g. E, for he and ate for hate, so you need to be aware of the entirety of the sentence so as not to get lost in translation.
Eeyar is used to get someone’s attention, especially when in a large group so as to get everyone’s attention in one shot.
“E go’ the righ’ ump” – refers to a person who is rather annoyed.
“Minging” is used to point out one’s distaste for something or someone (I believe this is used in the North of England a lot as well).
You must think I’m a righ’ mug means “you must think that I am stupid”.
“She was well jel” – means she was really jealous.
Be’ave – means “be serious”.
If someone is “well minted”, it means that they are very wealthy.
A “gobby cow” refers to someone with a big mouth.
A “leg”, is an abbreviation of legend, refers when someone thinks highly of you particularly when you have done something to help out.
Everyone seems to have a dog
Everyone appears to have a tattoo or a lot of tattoos.
Everyone seems to own a pair of converse trainers.
A lot of people started reproducing once they hit puberty (99% of the one’s I met anyway).
It is not unusual for my Essex brethren to drop the “F” bomb once in a while, I am not so offended by this, but I hear a lot of parents use this word around their young children. I am not judging but if that child grows up to be a hooligan, I won’t be surprised.
So if you come to UK fresh and find yourself out of London and into the heart of Essex, I hope this helps communicate with your Southern neighbours.
Until the next time