A Dictionary of Brackley Slang Words
About This Glossary:
This online slang dictionary has been compiled by Alex Herring, a third year English student at The University of Leicester, as part of a project on Slang and the WWW. The project includes many different glossaries of slang terms, ranging from American Football slang to Welsh slang to the slang used by students at the University of Leicester itself. The aim of this project is to try and record the many different areas of slang, that seem to be constantly increasing and preserve the terms of a certain social group or region.
Slang by its nature is extremely indefinite and ever changing, so that even by the time these glossaries are finished, new terms will have arisen and many of the slang words will be unfashionable or have declined in use. Slang is also a rebellious language and often contains many abusive and distasteful terms. I therefore apologise for any offence that may be caused to readers by words and material on the website or in the dictionary itself. My aim is to present an accurate collection of the words and phrases used by the youth culture of Brackley, so to omit any insulting entries would be a misrepresentation of the current slang used.
Introduction to Slang:
Slang is a non-standard form of language that incorporates new and imported words and is often used by a particular social group. It is therefore often associated with speakers of low social status because it is not as dignified or refined as formal speech. It is for this reason that slang is popular with adolescents and young people, as it is an informal style of language generally used in conversation rather than written down. It also functions in this way to identify a specific social group or ‘in-crowd’ and to alienate non-members, by communicating with slang words so that anyone outside of the social circle will not be able to understand what is being said.
I am a resident of the town of Brackley, in Northamptonshire and was astounded by the amount of slang terms we use that are completely specific to our area and way of life. I often noticed upon returning to University after a holiday period, having been at home in Brackley and involved with a different social group, that my University friends could not understand many of the terms I had picked up. It was for this reason I decided to analyse the apparently unique and individual slang used by people of my age group (namely 16-25 year olds) in the Brackley area. I chose to study this area of slang as I myself belong to the social unit and live in the region I intended to analyse, therefore, it became simple for me to research the slang used by this group. Being part of the group also helped me to collect many slang terms with the greatest ease, without disturbing my overall study of the area and culture.
Slang is immensely creative and yet intrinsically elusive because it is constantly changing and expanding, so it becomes hard to trace where new words have come from. I would therefore like to point out that any dates within the etymology field of my online slang dictionary are approximations and only give a rough guide to the period of a particular word’s first recorded use. I have tried to include as many words with an etymological background as possible. However, many of the slang entries do not contain an etymological description, due to the abundance of new words that enter youth culture speech everyday and the specific area I have chosen to focus on. My dictionary is a current documentation of the most recent slang terms used by young people in Brackley and so it is understandable that many of the terms have not yet been recorded in an official sense. All the etymologies of words used in my online slang dictionary of Brackley terms are based on the background information given in Cassel’s Dictionary of Slang ed. Jonathan Green (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2nd edn., 2005) and all Standard English (SE) terms were taken from the Oxford English Dictionary online (www.oed.com).
Brackley slang is more often used in conversation than written down, which is why I have included alternative spellings for some of the words. Although the Brackley area does not have a specific accent or dialect, it is interesting to note a few instances of variant spellings, with ing on the end of the word, becoming in’. This is mainly due to the conversational nature of slang, for example, I have included spellings such as bezzin’ (for bezzing), as this is the way the word would be spoken and the spelling of these various terms has never been officially recorded.
I myself composed the citations included in the slang dictionary of Brackley terms, as I live in Brackley and often use many of the terms myself in everyday conversations. However, I have tried to make them as simple as possible so that they are easily understandable to a reader outside of this social group. I have therefore not included any other slang terms in the citations, as to not cause confusion over which word is the actual slang entry. I have also made sure that they are as brief and explanatory as possible, demonstrating the actual use of the term in a sentence and any different senses it can be used in. I have tried to include a citation for every word in my slang dictionary, however, there were a few terms that I felt were obvious enough not to need an illustration of their use and also because I did not want to cause unnecessary offence by demonstrating these crude words being used in a sentence.
It is interesting to look at the keywords section of my online slang dictionary, as it illustrates the subjects most often talked about and important to the youth culture of Brackley. A significantly large proportion of the slang under discussion, originates from just a few subject areas, these being mainly drugs, alcohol and music, all of which are associated with and central to youth culture in general. Illegal drug use among younger generations is becoming more widespread than ever before and the quantity of related drug slang terms reflects this. Also there is an easily identifiable culture of going out drinking and clubbing among the younger generations, which accounts for many of the related terms present in my slang dictionary.
I have not included many indications of how to pronounce certain words in my slang dictionary, predominantly because I think that most of the expressions are simple enough to speak for themselves in terms of pronunciation. The language used by the youth culture of Brackley is simplistic in style and is specifically an oral culture, therefore many of the words particular to this area have never been written down and so I have spelt them exactly how they sound in everyday speech. There are cases where I have illustrated the pronunciation of a slang word, however, I decided to not to use the complicated International Phonetic Alphabet, but rather describe to my audience in straightforward terms, how to pronounce the word.