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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Rhyming slang - who doesn't get it?

Advertisers, those arbiters of taste and discernment in Berkeley Square or Madison Avenue, simply don't understand cockney rhyming slang. While telling us which soap powder washes whitest and which juices we'll love because it doesn't have 'bits' in, they make their ignorance too obvious to ignore.
The way rhyming slang works is to use an article that comes as part of a pair or a set phrase - plates of meat, for example, then just say 'plates'. The word you mean will rhyme with the missing part. Plates of meat = feet.
China plate = mate, apples and pears = stairs, Adam and Eve = believe.
It's much easier to understand than it is to explain.
So how come all of these overpaid masters of the language use 'you're having a giraffe'? on an advert for soap powder? If giraffe were used in rhyming slang it would be something like 'giraffe's neck' for 'peck'. Londoners everywhere would be saying 'give me a giraffe on the cheek'. Sorry, chaps, but you just don't get it, do you? Perhaps we should bring back Minder and Only Fools and Horses to teach you young whippersnappers a thing or two?

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