Nice funny piece in today’s Telegraph by Andrew O’Hagan, talking about the Queen’s English.
All too true. Her Majesty’s pronunciation of the English language used to be one of the wonders of the world. The word “extraordinary,” for example, which an American pronounces with six syllables (EK-struh-OR-din-air-ee), and a middle-class Brit with four (ek-STRAW-dun-ree), Betty used to deliver with just two (STRAWN-ree). Even us oiks down at the bottom of the social pile, to whom the honking and braying of quality folk was an enemy trumpet summoning us to class war, never resented the Queen’s diction. It was just too bizarre.
That’s all gone now. As O’Hagan says: “Those who like to clap in church have the upper hand in modern life.” Or, as I have been heard to mutter in my cups (Andy McCarthy will confirm): Everyone under 50 is scum.
noggin — head
meat pies — eyes (rhyming slang)
Joyce Grenfell — English actress and diseuse of the 1950s, very upper-class voice
Ant & Dec — See here. Why am I wikiing these things for you? Do it yourself, you lazy sods.
apples and pears — stairs (rhyming slang again)