You talking to me?

12th May 2006 at 01:00
Don't be a tube in Scotland, or have no shape in South Wales. Bewildered? Demeter Lowrison translates some schoolyard slang

When Sarah Jones moved from an Oxfordshire school to teach in West Yorkshire, a year after she qualified, her southern voice sounded alien to children with ears used to a Yorkshire accent. "You talk that... posh, we don't know what you're saying, Miss," they told her.

"It was difficult for me to make myself understood at first, never mind grasp what the students were saying," she says.

"A southern voice can sound posh to a northern one - if I'd known a few local words, it might have made life a lot easier, even if I made them laugh by saying them with a southern accent."

You don't have to travel far in the United Kingdom for the English language to take on a completely different sound. Dave Clough moved only a few miles from the Welsh borders to a school in South Wales, but communication wasn't easy to begin with - even in the staffroom. "It was all very good-natured,"

he says. "But it was hard at first to understand exactly what was going on."

If you're moving to a place where they seem to talk funny, help is at hand.

First Appointments has scoured schools up and down the land to find out the latest in schoolyard patois. Keep our little glossary to hand, and you won't get jipped if you're in Wales, or be boff, as they say in Yorkshire.

Scottish slang

An' that: meaningless phrase tacked to the end of every second sentence - "..."m goin' tae the pictuurs an' that".

Bogey: noun - "The gemme's a bogey", meaning that the game is up.

Dead: adjective - "That's pure dead brilliant", meaning absolutely.

Gallus: adjective - "That was gallus", meaning the same as rerr.

Glaikit (pronounced glaykit): adjective - "See him, he's glaikit", meaning stupid or thick.

Mince: adjective - "That teacher's mince", meaning deficient or rubbish.

Mingin: adjective - "That lesson was mingin", meaning smelly, tedious or unattractive, the opposite of rerr and gallus. Rerr (pronounced rair): adjective - "That was rerr", meaning wonderful or excellent.

Scunner: noun - "Away ya scunner", meaning a person who has made himself unpopular through some action.

Stoater (pronounced stowter): noun - "She's a weebig stoater", meaning an attractive and vivacious young girl.

Toerag: noun - "She's a right toerag", meaning the opposite of stoater.

Tube: noun - "She's a tube", meaning a stupid person.

Yorkshire slang

Bare: adjective - "I have bare CDs", meaning lots of.

Boff: adjective - "She's boff", meaning unintelligent.

Dingey!: adjective - Untranslatable, so insulting.

Div: adjective - "That's a div idea", meaning stupid.

Gucci: adjective - word often shrieked in isolation, meaning particularly good.

Heavy: adjective - "It's heavy. My gran died", meaning difficult to be happy about.

I'll bang yer awt: phrase - meaning I will initiate violent hostilities against you.

Jinx padlock: descriptive phrase - meaning you said exactly the same thing as somebody else.

Sick or sound: adjectives - as in "That's sicksound", meaning good or to be recommended.

London slang

Allow it: phrase - meaning "let it go" or "leave it out".

Beats: noun - as in "Allow dat beat, dat's nasty", meaning what a dreadful sound or tune.

Blaps: verb - "Blaps me the veg", meaning pass me the vegetables.

Bruv: as in friend or pal.

Butters: adjective - "She's butters", meaning I don't find her interesting or sexually attractive.

Dandruff: noun - "Watch or for him he's dandruff", meaning someone without loyalty who lets the group down on a habitual basis.

Gey: adjective - "Your music's gey", meaning pathetic, inadequate. Not homosexual, but descended from "gay".

Grimy: adjective - meaning good. "That film was grimy."

That rocks: adjectival phrase - as in "I've got enough money to go out tonight .That rocks", meaning that is good, a reason for being happy and optimistic.

Yoink: verb - "I'll yoink your dirty washing", meaning acceptable transfer of goods, that is, not stealing.

Slang from the Welsh Borders

Hangin': adjective - another term used to describe something unpleasant.

Lush: adjective - as in "This holiday is lush", meaning this is accepted as something being attractive or pleasant.

Munt: adjective - as in "This homework is munt", meaning something is ugly or off-putting.

Nowinaminit: noun - meaning the person is full of good intentions and will carry out the set task when they feel like it.

To jip someone - meaning to tease someone.

Slang from South Wales

A'right butt: This expression is an informal salutation.

Gwli (pronounced gooley): noun - as "They live in the gwli", meaning back lane area.

No shape: as in "He has no shape", meaning that someone has poor organisational skills.

Pwdu (pronounced poodoo): verb - as in "She is pwduing", meaning sulking.

Tidy mun: an expression given as a sign of approval to something.

We'll have missed out loads of gems, so if you've any to add to the list, email them to us:

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now