Tuesday, January 13, 2009

composition, jargon, mirrored

Posted by PicasaMold and ivy on a fence.

Cockney rhyming slang is one of the curiosities of the English language. Do other languages have similar odd corners of usage? It seems that French, for one, does, though I have not encountered it, as it were, live or even discussed it with a French person. I refer to largonji . To make one you replace the initial consonant of a word with the letter "l". You then move the original consonant to the end of the word, where it is followed by a vowel to aid pronunciation. For example à poile becomes à loilpé. Both words mean in "the buff", but the second is a more secret or perhaps euphemistic way of saying it. Another example: en douce, "on the sly", given the largonji treatment becomes loucedé. Largongi, if you haven't worked it out, is a largonji for jargon.

This afternoon, purple clouds over the Common presage rain. A heavy shower follows. And then the sun. The brick pavement becomes a mirror over which I hurry home.


marja-leena said...

Nice photo! I remember hearing someone speaking Cockney, truly a foreign language and not English to my ear!

Plutarch said...

Rhyming slang, not just cockney, is very odd. It is based initially on a word being replaced by another word, which rhymes with it. And then the replacement word itself is replaced by a connected word. Hence "I'll have a butchers" means "I'll have a look",. That is based on the term "butchers' hook". You drop the "hook", the original rhyme, and retain the "butchers". It's very complex and had to be, because it was evidently a device used by convicts to invent a way of hiding from their guards what they were talking about.

Incidently the photo is a collage of two separate photos of different sections of the fence.

Dave King said...

I am bemused at the way your disparate items seem to link up at some deeper level.

Lucy said...

I have never successfully been able to explain cockney rhyming slang to anyone here. Paris backslang is the nearest thing anyone can think of to compare it to.

'Scarper' was one I didn't recognise as rhyming slang until quite recently, that it comes from Skapa Flow - go. It's used universally as a full verb in all tenses, and the spelling has changed too. There are quite alot of others that have been absorbed like that and the original largely forgotten. It is a great wonder.