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Hi everyone! Thanks for tuning in to my new video. Today I’m going to be talking about some popular British slang words and phrases.
Every year, language changes and evolves; new phrases and words appear and existing words have their meanings changed all the time. The main source of these changes is young people, who speak a very different language to adults and whose peers are all from different multicultural backgrounds. Similarly, TV, music and film also have a significant effect on slang, with American English terms becoming more and more popular in British English.
As a language learner, slang is the one area where I can easily lose all my confidence. It’s possible for somebody to complete years of language study at school and university, but still be unable to understand real people in a real environment. Why? Well, because often the words that are in the textbooks and the language lessons are not actually used by most people in everyday spoken language. This is especially true in English. All languages have slang, but what makes British slang slightly more complex is that often they are accompanied by very strong accents which change depending on the region.
So, in order to help you get the most out of modern, spoken English, I am going to talk to you today about some very common slang terms that young British people use in everyday language.
Some of them are words that my friends and I use regularly, others are only really used by more urban young people, but they are still important because these words are not just used by young people but also in articles and discussions about young people.
So, are you ready to learn some new words? Let’s go.
This word is probably the most influential slang word in the English language. Alone it means “great”, “OK” “no problem”. As an adjective (e.g. “your car is really cool”) it means everything but also nothing. Nobody knows what “cool” really is, but everybody knows how to recognise it. It is the most common slang word in English, but also one of the most mysterious.[/translation]
This word is probably the most famous internet slang term that has become a part of everyday speech in British (and American) English. Literally, it means Laugh Out Loud, but now it is used alone to mean “that’s funny”.
For example: “Did you see Amy yesterday? She went out with her dress on backwards!” “lol, how stupid”
This word is used all the time. Alone, it can mean “that’s great”, or “cool”, and as an adjective it can mean “nice” “good” “great” etc.
For example: “I’m going travelling around the world next year” “Oh, wicked! That’ll be amazing.”
This word is not one that I use in everyday speech. It is usually used by young people in cities, particularly London. It is used at the end of sentences instead of tag questions like “isn’t it”, “doesn’t it” or “can’t it”. I wouldn’t recommend using this word yourselves, but it is very useful to know what it means because it looks very strange and nothing like English!
For example: “it’s hot in here, isn’t it?” = “it’s hot in here, innit?” or “They always say that, don’t they.” = “They always say that, innit.”
This word means “attractive”, “good-looking” or “sexy”. It can be used to describe either a male or a female.
For example: “My brother’s new girlfriend is so fit! I can’t stop staring at her.”
This word is unusual because it’s not really used by young people, but rather by other people describing young people. The word itself is an item of clothing: a jumper with a hood on it. However, this meaning is used to describe a young person who often wears this item of clothing with the hood over their heads. In recent years, this word has become quite negative, with many people using it to suggest that this type of person might be a rude, uneducated or even a criminal. I would not recommend using this word yourselves, but there are a lot of news articles and other places which use it, so it is very useful to know the meaning!
For example: “you look like a hoodie with that outfit on. Go and change into something else.” “But mum, this is what everyone is wearing!”
Например: «Ты выглядишь как хулиган в этой одежде. Иди и надень что-нибудь другое»
7. Are you having a laugh?
This phrase literally means “are you joking?” or “are you being serious?” It is sometimes changed into different forms, using words which rhyme with ‘laugh’. You may see some of these examples in places: “are you having a giraffe?”, “Are you having a bubble bath?”
For example: “I spoke to John yesterday and he wants you to pay him ?20” “are you having a laugh? I’m not paying him anything!”
So, there you had 7 examples of British slang. There are thousands and thousands more, but I hope this has been interesting and fun for everyone! Remember, for language learners slang is a very useful tool for understanding, but not necessarily using. Don’t try to use all of these words too quickly, but now that you can see them and understand them, hopefully you will feel confident enough to use them one day in the future.
See you next time, innit.