Breaktime - Yoofspeak

26th August 2011 at 01:00

Bally (n)

Means: A mask used by miscreants

Usage: "Let's grab a bally and go hard down the Centre"

This summer's urban unrest highlighted the dark side of Yoofspeak as police published the contents of social media postings and texts sent from the front lines by rioters, translating the street argot where necessary for the benefit of an outraged readership.

Journalists were taken by the would-be gangstas' use of dated US slang terms "Feds", "5-0" and "po-po" for the police and were bemused by deliberate or accidental misspellings ("Let's have some havic."). Learned articles analysed the social significance of the "hoodie" (garment and wearer), but in their "BBMs" (encrypted BlackBerry Messenger exchanges) the "yutes" (their preferred term) were focused on the practicalities of the moment, warning fellow perpetrators of the location of "bully-vans" - police vehicles - and reminding each other to hide identities from CCTV and press photographers with ballies, seemingly referring both to balaclavas and bandanas.

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