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  Old English
Updated 19 September 2003, 13.43

Learning aims
  • Understand the term 'non-standard English'

  • Increase knowledge of slang

Introduction

Friday 19th Sept was Global Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Ask the class what they think 'slang' is?

  • Slang is informal language (as opposed to standard English)

  • Slang, like other types of language, changes over time

  • Some words, which were originally slang, are now part of standard English

Main activity
Display the list of words below which have more recently been added to dictionaries.

What do the class think these mean?

  • Arr: it can mean hello, goodbye, etc.
  • Ahoy: Hey!
  • Avast: Stop!
  • Aye: Yes
  • Fathom: depth measurement of six feet
  • Grog: a pirate's favourite drink
  • Jack: a flag or a sailor
  • Landlubber: "land-lover" - someone not used to life aboard a ship
  • Lass: a woman
  • League: three miles
  • List: lean to one side
  • Loaded to the gunwales (pronounced "gunnels"): drunk
  • Matey: a shipmate or a friend
  • Me: my
  • Scallywag: a bad person or scoundrel
  • Sprogs: raw, untrained recruits
  • Squadron: a group of ten or less warships
  • Thar: The opposite of "here"
  • Shiver me timbers!: an exclamation of surprise
  • Lily-livered: faint of heart
  • Davy Jones' Locker: the bottom of the sea
  • Doubloons: pieces of gold
  • Pieces of eight: pieces of silver which can be cut into eights for small change
  • Swashbuckling: fighting on the high seas

Students compile a list of their own slang with definitions.

Extension activity
Students come up with their own rhyming slang for people, places and things.

Plenary
Recap on the origins and function of slang and hear students' own examples.

Ask the class:

  • Are the examples of slang words that you think should be included in the dictionary?

  • When would they be more likely to use a slang word in place of standard English?

  • Can you think of examples of words that would be used locally or across the UK?

For all links and resources click at top right.

More InfoBORDER=0
UK'Cool' is your favourite word!
UKBling bling makes it into dictionary
ChatYour Comments: Buzz words

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