A guide to London slang

New to London and finding all these new words difficult? Worry no more, this quick guide to London slang will teach you the basics!

Firstly, we must look at the influences that make London slang what it is right now. The large levels of ethnic integration meant that several pronunciations and phrases created modern day London slang, now commonly present in the inner-city. If you speak London slang you are probably already using Caribbean words, the influence of the Jamaican diaspora has made its influence throughout London, and the world.

You’ve definitely heard people in London refer to their friends as ‘bredrin’ which is the mispronunciation of ‘brethren’ used In Jamaica as ‘brother’ but can also be refer to a female, inner-city Londoners use it as the archaic plural for close friend, and this is just one example of the Caribbean influence.

Slang is considered as a very informal and common language that is usually restricted to certain groups of people, London slang incorporates many different backgrounds which represents the multicultural and diverse city. Through the expansion of social media, the inner-city language has made its way around most parts of the UK amongst youngsters.

Through the rise of Tiktok and Instagram there are phrases that have become a trend, such as ‘we move’, ‘simp’ and ‘hot girl summer’. The new generation of words keep adding up, and it represents that English slang is developing, the main influence is social media. This means inner-city London slang will keep its individuality and sense of diversity in which we praise the most.

Now I will talk you through London slang words you should definitely get to learn!

Bait– You are obvious/simple. ‘you are acting so bait’.

Bare– A lot of: ‘there’s bare people here’.

Fam– Family/friends.

Feds– Police.

Ends– Area/neighbourhood: ‘which ends are you from?’

Gyaldem– Group of girls

Mandem– Group of boys

Jokes– Funny: ‘that film was jokes’

Link– to meet someone.

Long– A lot of effort/not worth the effort.

Yard– House

Safe– cool/sweet: ‘she’s a really safe girl’.

Wagwan– (wah’gwan) is short for ‘what’s going on’.  

We’ve officially moved from Cockney rhyming slang to MLE, meaning multicultural London English and to be fair we love it! As Londoners we have developed language from all cultures around us, it almost makes us unique and appreciative of multiculturalism. 

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