Friday, May 22, 2015

cockney rhyming slang

Hi there

After watching all those English cop shows through the decades  I figured I had rhyming slang down pat.  Apples and pears?  - stairs, right?   Butcher's hook? - look.  Pork pies, lies?

I had vaguely wondered if there was any new rhyming slang going on, so I googled and discovered something about sleeping in your Barack Obamas (pyjamas ... or 'pajamas', if you're American).

But blow me down with a feather....  For what feels like forever I have been saying something like "Oh, this old shirt?  I've had it for donkeys' years".  I think I even said it in a past blog.

Imagine my embarrassment to discover that the cockney phrase should be "donkey's ears" and means "years".

Ever since i can remember, my kiwi-born mum used this particular slang but my childish mind must have picked it up differently.  Right context, wrong words.

I truly love you, Mum, but why-oh-why couldn't you have enunciated more clearly?  It's horrifying to think what else my young brain picked up from you and to this day - donkey's ears later - I am still saying wrong!

Stupid donkeys...


PS:  a reprieve, hallelujah!!  A friend has just told me that "donkey's ears" has been traced back to 1915, but that now it's become more common to say- wait for it! - "donkeys' years".

Sorry, Mum.

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