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Tuesday, 17 July, 2001, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
What does 'snog' mean?

American teenagers are ditching their own slang in favour of Brit-speak, thanks to the fictional diaries of an English schoolgirl. But first they need a translation...

It's no longer to hip to use words like, well, "hip" in the malls and schoolyards of the United States. Instead, the cool kids want to speak like a Brit.

Louise Rennison's Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging
The Georgia diaries: "Bridget Jones for teens"
The fictional diaries of Georgia Nicolson, aged 14, are a hit with teenagers across the Atlantic.

To aid those unable to work out what "snog" and "wally" might mean, the US editions come complete with a glossary of British terms, such as "bloke", "prat" and "Rolf Harris".

Click here for Georgia's glossary

The competition to sound British is so fierce that author Louise Rennison, of Brighton, gets thousands of letters and e-mails from her American fans, begging for more slang.

"What really gets me is that they ask for a 'British to English translation'," says Ms Rennison, a former stand-up comedian.

Cool Britannia

Others try out their mock-English accents on her at book signings, but tend to sound like an Aussie-Scottish hybrid.

Louise Rennison
Louise Rennison: Draws on teenage memories
"One girl said to me, 'We're practising being British, but my friend is better at it than me'."

The terms that crop up in Georgia's confessional diaries are a curious mix of modern British slang, and anachronistic terms that are more St Trinians than Top Shop.

Some are taken from common parlance, some from the 50-year-old author's days as a teenager, and others are pure invention.

Cheeky monkey!

Georgia may not speak like a bona fide British teenager, but Ms Rennison is proud to have turned the tables on the nation which unleashed "cool", "like" and "wassup" upon the world.

Boyzone
Boyzone: See below for Georgia's verdict
The latest instalment - titled Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas - seems destined to follow Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging and It's OK, I'm Wearing Really Big Knickers! into the best-seller lists.

Ms Rennison puts the American craze for British slang down to the fact that it's a bit rude, a little bit naughty - something of a novelty in these days of political correctness.

"Teenagers really love something that's theirs, something secret. I think that's why they've adopted Georgia's language," she says.

"When I was a teenager, we used to make up cults. We'd get deliberately obsessed with something like The Magic Roundabout, and speak as if we were, say, Brian the Snail, until it became the language of the school.

"I like to think that that's what's happened with my books."


Georgia's glossary, from Angus, Thongs etc

Boyzone: Irish boy band, all very good-looking in a bland way.

Fringe: Goofy short bit of hair over the eyebrows. American-type people call them "bangs" but this is so ridiculous that it's not worth thinking about.

Full-frontal snogging: Kissing with all the trimmings - except dribble.

Naff: Unbearably and embarrassingly out of fashion.

Po faced: A "po" is a bedpan, used in the days when people poured the contents into the street onto passers-by. Ergo, "po faced" means someone who has a face like a lavatory bowl.

Prat: Gormless oik. You make a prat of yourself by putting both legs down one knicker leg or playing air guitar at pop concerts.

Teletubby jimjams: Pyjamas emblazoned with kiddie TV characters.

Wally: See prat. A wally additionally has no clothes sense.

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