Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Most Loathed Britishisms

I should be full of fluff and light this close to Christmas, but I figure there's a lot of that around elsewhere so I thought I'd serve up a dose of negativity! Of course there are plenty of North Americanisms that I detest, too, but there are my top hated phrases/words on this side of the pond. Feel free to chime in with yours for either side of the Atlantic!

So in no particular order, here they are:

1. innit - I first encountered this lovely contraction of 'isn't it' when I was teaching at a comprehensive. It puzzled me at first, since it's usually not used in the meaning of 'isn't it.' For example: 'I didn't do my homework last night because the X-Factor was on, innit?'

2. 'I was stood there/ I was sat there' - Words cannot explain how much I hate hate HATE this commonly used construction. You hear it everywhere, from the telly to the radio to the teens in the street. For example: 'I was stood there waiting for the bus for half an hour.'
I don't care how frequently it's said; it's just not grammatically correct and it sounds terrible.

3. lurgy/ lurgi - This is a particularly horrible words used to describe a cold or flu-like illness. Apparently it originated from the BBC Radio Comedy The Goon Show. For some reason it puts me in mind of a zombie with a runny nose.

4. cossie/ pressie/ bessie friend - Why must everything be made diminutive? Swimming costume becomes 'cossie'; present 'pressie'. I cannot bring myself to utter these words.

5. anythink/ nothink - There's no 'k' on the end of 'anything' or 'nothing', so why do some people pronounce these words as if there is?

That's all for now, but I know there are others lurking on the fringes of my subconscious so I'll add to the list as they come forward.

Oh yes, and Merry Christmas everyone!


Karin @ Cafe Bebe said...

Oh my God...how funny! I wholeheartedly agree with everything! You know what else I hate...leaving out consonnants in words. Water becomes wa-er, Peterborough becomes Pe-er-bor-uh. And how about, using NEEDS/WANTS with things- "The dishes NEED doing." "That wall wants painting." I mean, they supposedly invented the language (I know...Germanic & Latin influences...blah blah) so what happened to proper grammar! ;) Well said Mrs!
(living in East Midlands, from Wisconsin originally)

jumblyMummy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jumblyMummy said...

You know what, I'm a Brit through and through and even I agree with most of these (though I do love the word lurgi). My current bugbear is weather forecasters who insist on dropping the 'p' from temperature. Every time I hear someone mention the "temrature" I have to turn over.

Geriatric Mummy said...

I am with you you whole heartedly on this. I did a recent post, no rant, about Alesha Dixon on Strictly. It is a standing joke in our household that I obsessively correct anyone on tv or radio that uses poor grammar. I'm not saying I'm perfect by any means but I'm not speaking to the nation...yet ;-)

Well said.

Kim said...

I totally agree with the pressie and choccie thing. My pet peeve is when people say, 'She's in hospital' or 'We went to hospital'. What happened to 'the'!??

India Drummond said...

You should come to Scotland!

My sweetheart doesn't go to the grocery store, he "brings home messages". He doesn't know things, he "disnae kens". And you wouldn't believe the consonants he dismisses altogether!

I have to admit though, I like it! But, yes, "innit" drives me up a tree as well! Fortunately, I only hear that one on the telly.

I don't complain though... if he can put up with me saying "wah-dur", I can put up with him saying "wa'er"

Word verification on this post: "spangst" -- That made me laugh!

Anonymous said...

Ah, but how about 'summink' and 'Am I bovvered?' Then Dot and Big Mo on Eastenders use a whole host of classic words and pronunciations. I can't help it. I love it all. It's one of the many things that make Britain so interesting to me.

Kim said...

Oh, and I just remembered another one: 'Alright?' Some people are nice enough to say, 'You alright?' This one completely flummoxed me when I first arrived, particularly when I learned that the proper response to 'Alright?' is 'Alright?'

Deniz Bevan said...

Ha ha! To each his own, I guess. I love innit and for years I would use it in my own writing, confounding everyone around me, as I tried to be British... Same goes for I was sat there - K now it's wrong, but I love it. And lurgee always reminds me of the Radiohead song.
But I definitely, wholeheartedly agree with you in pointless diminutives and k at the end of a word. Yuck!

Deniz Bevan said...

What about accents though? I know that throughout the 20th Century, once BBC radio and especially tv came in, lots and lots of dialects got flattened out. But when, in the past ten or twenty years, did the posh tv accent get replaced by this rolypoly vowel sounding Vicki Pollard voice? It's on every contemporary tv show and it bothers me no end. Whoi kon't paypel tolk proply?
No offense meant of course :-)

Rageoline said...

I am also bothered by many of those "Britishisms". Here are some that I either find irritating or perplexing:

-Adding 'r' to words where no 'r' should be, i.e. "I sawr it."
-"Every little helps"-Anytime I hear a Tescos advert I cringe.
-The pronunciation of words such as "library" and "literally." The British have a tendency to forget about some of the vowels in the word, which kind of bugs me-although I've noticed myself pick it up.
-Anytime I enter a shop or restaurant and hear "Can I help?" It comes across as the most passive aggressive form of "help" possible. I shouldn't feel like I'm imposing when all I want to do is buy a sweater. The American in me screams, it's "How may I help you?"!
-And of course, "Thank you for your custom." This is just plain awkward.

Marsha Moore said...

Wow! This has obviously struck a chord; I am so glad I'm not alone in my pet peeves! I laughed as I read through what everyone's written -- I've experienced all of them! It's definitely a love/ hate thing with me. Sometimes I revel in the liguistic differences, but other times I just want to tape the offender's mouth closed!

My 'wah-dur' pronunciation is a constant source of amusement for my significant other, but then again he's Egyptian with an accent all his own so he's hardly one to comment!

A Heron's View said...

We local foreigners: who are Cornish, Irish, Scots and Welsh are absolved, from any condemnation of yours in regard to how we pronounce English. The reason being is because English is not our native language.

What then is your excuse for omitting the 'u' in such words as colour or for calling a Cupboard a Press ?

Nancy J. Parra said...

LOL- loved this post and the comments are hilarious. Americans have many different "languages." When I moved to Kansas, I cringed every time someone said warshed - as in warshed the clothes, and wrastled - as in they wrastled over the toy or went to a wrastling match. Now that I'm back in the northern states I laugh over the regionalisms here.
When one of my highschool friends took a trip to England, she came home and whispered, "They don't speak English over there." :)

Bryn said...

Ooooh I love this topic.

I can't stand the pronunciation of "H" with an actual h sound at the beginning. It forms one of the most hideous syllables I have ever heard.

I'm constantly having to fight against using "I've got" rather than "I have."

That's pretty much it. The rest don't bother me so much.

Lee Mannion said...

I hate 'hun' as in short for 'honey'. First heard it from a PR I think. When I was 27 and working for a lads magazine, I used to love PRs being overly flirty as it made me feel handsome and sexy. Eventually my thick brain worked out they were playing me to get their client/product/whatever in the mag. You don't mean I'm your honey when you say 'hun'. You just mean you want something and I feel used like a cheap tart. But hell, if the cap fits...