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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 April 2006, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
'Nang' takes over Cockney slang
Pearly King and Queen
Experts say Cockney is fading in inner London
Teenagers in east London are forming their own brand of English and pushing out traditional Cockney slang, according to language experts.

A study by Sue Fox, from London's Queen Mary's College, found words such as "nang" - meaning good - were commonly used by youths in inner London.

Ms Fox said this "Multicultural London English" was influenced by a variety of languages such as Bengali.

Youths in outer London had a stronger association with the Cockney accent.

Researchers attributed this to the population movement out of London.

Second-language English

The study examined the use of the English language by 72, 16-19 year olds, in two London boroughs.

Youngsters living in inner London pronounced words in different ways, for example home as "hawm" and food was pronounced "fiyd", a cross between food and feed.

But traces of traditional Cockney slang were still found to exist as pound was still pronounced as "paand".

Ms Fox dismissed the idea that young people in certain groups copy the speech patterns of others.

The English language is constantly evolving, the occasional "nang" meaning good, isn't earth-shattering
Professor David Crystal

"It seems more likely that young people have been growing up in London, being exposed to a mixture of second-language English".

She said varieties of English from other parts of the world as well as local London English had led to the emergence of a new variety of English.

Linguistics expert, Professor David Crystal said the ethnic diversity found in the East End was bound to produce new norms of speech.

"The English language is constantly evolving, the occasional "nang" meaning good, isn't earth-shattering.

"English as a language has always been a great borrower of words from other languages, and what we are now seeing is the operation of this process at a dialect level.

"Far from dying out, I think Cockney, as a result of this ethnic encounter, will be born again".

More on what is being said on the streets

A lexicon of teen speak
10 Jun 05 |  Magazine
Rhyme of the times
27 May 05 |  Magazine
Slang creeps into English exams
16 Sep 05 |  Education
Slang makes youths 'unemployable'
11 Mar 04 |  Business

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