Bestselling children's writer, poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen has written this specially commissioned verse about the myriad forms our current vernacular takes.
Michael Rosen's Verse
Following a visit to Britain, a Martian reports back to the leader on the subject of slang and dialect
It's not crabs who are crabby
No one says 'lav'
A baby's often the babby
And they keep saying chav.
I thought parky means you're parked
They said I was barking
They got narked when I barked
Which doesn't mean narking.
The nippers didn't nip
It's not buffers who are buff
Chipper isn't 'more chip'
She's never down the duff
An odd-jobber can have clobber
You can clobber an odd-jobber
An odd-jobber can be clobbered
But your clobber's not jobbered
You can have a take-over and a make-over
A take-away but not a make-away
You could get away with a take-over
You can have a take-off and a get-away
Or make off with a take-away
The make-over could be tacky
The take-off could be wacky
Which would make you wacko
That's barking. Not barko.
There's no barko, there is 'baccy'
Which isn't barking, it's tobacco
I said tobarko? They said, tobacco
Tobarko, tobacco; tobacco, tobarko,
Let's call the whole thing off...
Bestselling children's writer and poet Michael Rosen has written a specially commissioned verse about the myriad forms our current vernacular takes. Follow this link to read the poem.
Dermot Murnaghan has spent most of his career in broadcast journalism. Before joining the BBC, he spent more than a decade fronting ITV's national news bulletins from London. He joined the BBC in the Autumn of 2002, becoming Breakfast's main presenter immediately Read Dermot's article on Word 4 Word