So cool that slang has stayed heavy

8th August 2003 at 01:00
CRIKEY, playground slang ain't what it used to be - or maybe it is.

Such ageing expressions as "crikey", "cool" and "heavy" remain highly popular with schoolchildren, according to a survey of more than 20,000 nine to 14-year-olds by Penguin Books.

The publisher discovered that a range of new slang words were gaining currency, such as "nang" (great), "bezzy" (brilliant) and the rap-inspired "wagwaan" (greetings). But the surprise was the popularity of old classics.

"Cool" was by far the favourite word among children, followed by "wicked".

Meanwhile, "toodaloo" was listed as one of the most popular ways to say goodbye, alongside the more contemporary "laters" and "ttfn" (text message shorthand for "Ta-ta for now").

Publisher Martin Toseland said that many of the slang phrases children listed, such as "safe", were classics that had already been included in Penguin's new English dictionary.

However, he said that some of the newer expressions, such as "chilly wax" (good), would be considered for inclusion if future surveys showed they remained popular.

Mr Toseland said: "Some of the words which have remained popular have shifted in meaning.

"Take 'heavy'. If you said: 'Man, that's heavy', in previous decades you would be describing something negative. But now it means something that is really rather good."

Responses from the north of England frequently featured the words "Beckham" and "Manchester United", while "lush" remains extremely popular in Wales.

Penguin estimates that television programmes are the source of a fifth of the expressions. Two of the most favoured greetings were "How you doin'?", the catchphrase of Joey in Friends and "Wazzup?" from a series of Budweiser advertisements.

Overall, the most popular words were: cool, wicked, minging, brill, class, heavy, whatever, safe, mank, innnit, chill, groovy, sweet and kerching.

The new "Penguin English Dictionary" costs pound;18.99

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