The Queen’s English

While I remain primarily a Francophile (I mean, any culture that produces the macaron, the ever-fascinating city of Paris and the little black dress is clearly one to be emulated), I am also a devoted fan of the British – not least for their facility with the English language.

They are particularly adept at slang. “Wanker,” “tosser,” “knob” and “bell-end,” for example, are all far superior to (and arguably less sweary than) the common American expression “asshole” (though “douchebag” and its various permutations remain personal favorites).  And there is no American analog for the always delightful “great pillocky ponce” (let alone “sniveling little rat-faced git“).

Probably my all-time favorite bit from across the pond, and one I still use all the time, is a term for the overly-pious and proselytizing type: “god-botherer.” It’s just so perfect in its construction, particularly in its implication that even god finds this person insufferable.

And today I learned a marvelous new compound word, when my friend in Cardiff complained on Facebook about a portly family blocking the aisle at the supermarket. He referred to them as “salad-dodgers.” Actually, as “dirty salad-dodgers.” And I’m still laughing at that vivid characterization.

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