As a fan of the Chalet School books and a reader of Little Women I was exposed early on to the notion that slang was somehow bad. Also at about the age of six I used the term ‘real’ instead of ‘really’ in front of my Great Uncle and was accused of sounding American. This was in no uncertain terms communicated to me as being a Bad Thing TM so heavens know what he’d make of my increasing use of the suffix ‘-ass’ which is entirely down to Skimble. I doubt he’d approve.

Growing up as I did in the latter half of 20th century nobody aside from my Great Uncle ever bothered complaining about slang or my use of it. When speaking to a lot of people (especially Goat) the descent towards the LOLCAT is inevitable and we happily repeat adjectives for emphasis (‘Hard work is hard’, ‘strong drink is strong’), use extended sentence grammar (‘Is it can haz be foods tiem naow?’) as well as using pronunciations to push forward the way we’re spelling our words (k thnks bai)…I should possibly say wrdz…sounding moderately idiotic as we do so.

This is merely an introduction, so that people understand the context of my next few thoughts. I am going away for a Yellow Sign weekend, the weekend after next. I shall be roleplaying a commerical art historian from 1932, she’s the ‘inside man’ for a heist on a Warehouse in Liverpool full of art treasures – and who knows what else!

Now, I’ve got the accent sorted thanks to my beloved Joyce but an accent doesn’t put you right back in period so much as sounding as though you fit there. People don’t talk properly unless their Great Uncles et al are listening. I’ve been looking up the slang so I can declare myself to be ready for a weekend of hoofing (dancing), kindly request someone to take an ankle(walk) with me, or say ‘Mister, the bank’s closed’ when I want Mr Grey (the Jellicle) to stop kissing me. It was actually surprisingly easy to pick up much of the slang as a lot of it is if not current then recognisable from hearing older people use it (or MoT, who clearly reads too much Wodehouse).

When I got to the use of the suffixes ‘-ski’ and ‘-avous’ to be used at will on the end of any word and having to be used in answer to a question which contains them (Would you like a drinkski? Would I everski!) I found myself thinking, why would anyone use such ridiculous phraseology?

k thnks bai!

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