With Love from E: Britishisms

Jeep CherokeeI have this friend, Simon, who nicknamed me E.  It fits.

You’ve all heard of the G spot.  This is better.  It’s my E spot.  I now have a special place to park when I shop at Meijers.

Simon is having a hard time of it lately, so I thought I would dedicate this post to him.  And myself.  Because I have been having a hard time of it lately.  In fact, if you take out your magnifying glass and check out my license plate, you will notice it is EXPIRED!  A nice policeman stopped me today and informed me of that fact.  To the tune of $105.00.  Lovely.

Simon is from the North of England where they speak a different language.  Literally. Simon liked to say, “We speak the same language.  But not really.”

No, not really.   So before I hear “Bloody ‘ell!”  or, “You wha?!”  I thought I’d slip this post by him.

I would suggest studying the special brand of English they speak in the North of England if you plan on vistiting there.  And you should.  Nice country up there.  A lot of sheep.  You can find them in the meat section.  And woven into sweaters.

If you have been to London and have heard a British accent, you ain’t heard nothing until you get into the North of England.

In Liverpool there are the Scousers.  The Beatles were Scousers.  They say things like:

Sniff up, yer in their cunny: Enjoy the fresh country air.

Makes sense?  Sounds a bit mingay though…

Mingay: Dirty, nasty things.  Either smells or visuals.  Or both.

Or when in Lancashire, how ’bout:

Bunged up: Constipated

Crumper:  Really big one

Daft: Simple, stupidly simple.

Cheers: Thank You

Ta: Thank You

Don’t forget the last two.  You might get inivited to drink more pints.  And don’t forget you need to buy a round, too.

You’ll meet your best Britishisms in the pub.


Photocredit: © Ellen Wilson

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19 Responses to With Love from E: Britishisms

  1. Hi Ellen,

    This post made me smile. I have two cyberspace friends (result of blogging) who are from England. I love to read their posts, especially if they comment on each others blogs. The words intrigue me. In emails they have also taught me a thing or two about their language. I’m feeling rather worldly (being able to understand it).

    Cheers 🙂

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..Those Are Fighting Words

  2. Karen Swim says:

    Hey E! I love hearing local colloquialisms. It always makes me feel closer to the community. I hope Simon enjoys this as much as I did. If you need a friend who speaks English like you do, I’m only a phone call, email, skype or tweet away. 🙂

    Cheers 🙂


    Karen Swim’s last blog post..A Post About Nothing

  3. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Barbara – I hope you get to meet your friends one day and hear their accents! You’ll have to let me know how it goes.

    @Karen – Thanks, my friend.

  4. Friar says:


    Reminds me of the Beatles’ first movie (A Hard Days’ Night). It was made in 1964, when they were still unrefined young lads, fresh out of Liverpool.

    The opening scene of the movie had them sitting on a train, with the dialogue bantering back and forth…and you can’t understand a damn word they’re saying!

    It was English, I THINK……:-)

    Friar’s last blog post..Corporate Buzzwords that Need to Die.

  5. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Friar – That would be Scouse speak.

  6. Friar says:

    …yet when they sang, they sounded so articulate!

    PS. You inspire me to write a post on French-Canadian slang (the equivalent of scouse is Jouale!)

    Friar’s last blog post..Corporate Buzzwords that Need to Die.

  7. Ellen Wilson says:


    Sweet! Glad to be of service. A Scouser is also a derogatory term. It is the equivalent of “white trash.”

    I’m looking forward to your French-Canadian slang post. I wonder if the French can understand the French Canadians. I’ve heard the languages are quite different from eachother now.

  8. Dialects and colloquialisms are so fascinating. I’ve always been interested in learning other languages and these pretty much fit in that category. It’s too bad we can’t really pick up on accents in written communications (mostly) because it would be fun to hear how everyone talks.

    Cheers and ta!

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..June Announcements

  9. Brett Legree says:

    I always liked “nutter” myself, as in “e’s a fookin’ nuhtta”

    (I spelled that as best I could to make it sound like it does when my friend Dave says it.)

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..best laid plans.

  10. --Deb says:

    I’ve always loved the word, “Daft,” though it doesn’t get used in NJ that often (grin). And NOBODY understands what I mean if I say “Ta!” All those years of reading British books and nobody to use my trans-Atlantic vocabulary on…. (grin)

    –Deb’s last blog post..MM: Colonoscopy

  11. Friar says:


    Have you ever seen “King of the Hill”? One of the characters (Boom Hower) talks in this hill-billy language that’s barely English.

    That’s what the slang Quebecois is like, compared to Parisian French!

    Friar’s last blog post..Corporate Buzzwords that Need to Die.

  12. Karen Swim says:

    @Friar, I almost spit my coffee out from laughing so hard. That is so dead on descriptive!

    @Deb and @Brett, I like daft too and I have used it frequently. 🙂 Nutter is another good one. Growing up in CA where everyone was from somewhere else, your English becomes sprinkled with phrases from everywhere. To this day I still have some strange hybrid accent.

    Karen Swim’s last blog post..Are You Ready to Get Lucky?

  13. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Brett – I haven’t heard that one yet. Nuhtta. Or maybe I have and forgot about it. Quite possible.

    @Deb – Ta Deb! Thanks for stopping in. I have been meaning to get to your blog also. But my punctuality sucks. So I have been late!

    @Friar – Oh yeah, I remember that, now. The hillbilly guy. See, I don’t understand French, so Quebecois and Parisian French sounds the same to me. The same thing happened to me when I was in England, it took me awhile to tell the accents apart, and the accents change every 20 miles or so. Unlike the US, where I have to the southern end of Ohio to pick up a discernible southern drawl.

    And you know those British, they like to think it is “their language.” Right. No, now it’s OUR American language. Or Canadian language. Can’t leave you Canucks out.

    I mean really, no one “owns” a language. It is an evolving thing. My linguistics professor said English was half French and half German, so it’s just a combination of influences.

  14. Friar says:


    You know what’s funny? Is that they’ve translated “King of the Hill” in French to show in Quebec. It’s called “Henri pis sa gang” (Henry and his gang).

    And actually, it seems to work. The french voices seem to fit in very well with the cartoon characters. It seems the blue-collar Texas folk and the blue-collar Quebecois are somewhat similar.

    Friar’s last blog post..French-Canadian expressions you’ll never see in a textbook

  15. Strange. I know I left a comment on this post yesterday but now it’s gone. Ah well. I had just said something about my own fascination with language and dialect. Maybe it got trapped in the spam box on accident.

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..June Announcements

  16. Kelly says:


    Re: accent shifts here, I think it depends on the part of the country. I can tell within 20 miles or less what part of little Massachusetts you’re from, based on your accent, but when I lived in Illinois and Iowa, I felt like the accents were as flat as the land. In Iowa it was hard to discern a difference until you got near the Missouri or the Minnesota border.

    I can’t tell a north Delaware accent from a mild Philly accent (20 min. apart) after five years, but I can tell if you’re from New Jersey or Maryland, or from out further west in Pennsylvania. It must have something to do with migration patterns and the original settlers’ ethnicities.



    Kelly’s last blog post..Inspiration Points: How to Knock It Out of the Park

  17. Good ones! Thanks.

    I’ve met Irish people and asked them, “What language do you speak?” So embarrassing!

    And the Scots, I can hardly understand anything.

    English definitely has its variations!

    Manchester accent is my favorite!

    Jaden @ Screenwriting for Hollywood’s last blog post..What You Don’t Know About Juno

  18. I dunno if they still say it but ‘wotcher’ is my favorite British greeting hehe!

    Darren Daz Cox’s last blog post..Pegasus – evolving painting

  19. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Melissa – Hey! Your comments are here. Dead good. Another Britishism. I want to learn French but I don’t have anyone to speak it with so it would probably rot. On the other hand, I do make fair use of my Spanish around here, so maybe not – seeing the two languages are related.

    @Karen – Daft is a good one. I didn’t notice that you had a hybrid accent. But maybe you were speaking “proper” English.

    @Kelly – That is interesting concerning the accent change in the East. You know, I bet you’re right about the ethnicity and dialect. I remember watching a documentary on some little island on the East Coast, and the people there apparently spoke a dialect close to what was spoken in 16th century England. A certain part of England that is, and I can’t remember where.

    @Friar – I love watching TV when I get up in Quebec. The game shows are pretty funny. I think certain classed of people are the same no matter where you go. Do they do mullets and mohawks where you’re at? Ha! And on the other hand we have “Stuff White People Like,” concerning the middle to upper middle class.

    @Jaden – I totally understand. It’s like Friar said, you can’t understand the Beatles in a “Hard Day’s Night.” It’s a totally different language. Yeah, Manchester is easier to understand than Scouse speak.

    @Darren – I haven’t hear wotcher yet. You’ll have to tell me what it means. Or I can look it up in my little North of England slang book. It might be in there.

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