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AGESTRAD cockney-rhyming-slang

Cockney Rhyming Slang (CRS) is a linguistic phenomenon believed to have originated from the East End of London during the mid-1800s. Put simply, it is the replacement of words with different words or phrases which rhyme with the original. From around 1840 the so-called ‘Cockney’ population of London began to use it to communicate with each other, however, it is still unknown why Cockney Rhyming Slang was invented. It may have been a form of hiding the real meaning of what they were saying when in the marketplace or for criminals hiding the meaning of their conversations from police. It could also have been a way of excluding outsiders such as non-locals or simply a sort of bonding technique within a group. The replacement phrases are usually made up of two but often the second word in the phrase is left out and only the first word is said.

There are hundreds of examples of CRS. Here are some commonly known ones and their definitions:

Apples and Pears=Stairs

Aunt Joanna=Piano (pronounced ‘pianna’)

Dog and Bone=phone (later addition)

Trouble and Strife=Wife

Bees and Honey=Money

Bird Lime=Time (in prison)

Tea Leaf=Thief

Porky Pies=Lies (He keeps telling porkies)

Artful Dodger=Lodger

Jack Jones=Alone (He went to the pub all Jack)

Baker’s dozen=Cousin

Barnet Fair=Hair

Rabbit and Pork=Talk (Rabbiting on)

Weasel and Stoat=Coat (Don’t forget your weasel)

Lemon Lime=Crime

Bricks and Mortar=Daughter

Cod and Plaice=Face

Dogs Meat=Feet




Stephanie Orton

AGESTRAD Creole around the world


The term “Creole” comes from the Portuguese “crioulo”, which means “black person born in the colonies”, and which has the Latin etymology “criare”, meaning “nurtured” or “raised”. It designates the origin of all African, European or mixed ethnicity people born and raised in the colonies. Little by little, the meaning of the word expanded, and it today used to refer to a language.

Creole languages are new languages, formed from one or several linguistic bases. They were formed in the 16th and 17th centuries, fostered by the European expansion into the New World. The first Creoles were probably invented in the plantations where slaves worked, combining European, African and Amerindian languages. Generally, their grammar has African origins, while their vocabulary is more European. These are oral languages, and seldom written down, although some dictionaries do exist.

127 different Creoles exist around the world and were registered in a study carried out in 1977 by Ian Hancock, a doctor of linguistics at the University of Texas. They were classified depending on their linguistic basis. Most Creoles are those based on English (35 countries), African (21 countries), French (15 countries) and Portuguese (14 countries).

Creole languages are spread throughout the whole world, except in Europe. Effectively, our continent only contains a single country where Creole is spoken: Gibraltar. There, Yanito, also called Spanglish, is spoken; a mixture of English and Spanish. On the contrary, the largest Creole speaking population is in the West Indies. Linguists specialising in Creole languages have also realised that these are generally insular languages, without knowing the reasons for the phenomenon with certainty.

However, Creole languages have only been made official in a few countries, for example in Haiti or the Seychelles, where English, French and Creole are co-official languages.

See you soon – or as they say in Guadeloupe, a dan on dot soley!

Superstitions are a reflection of a civilisation’s culture, and these cultural differences may surprise us due to how different they are from our own. This is especially true if they are the customs of a country which is on the other side of the world, such as China.

Superstitions and good luck on the other side of the world

Good luck!

To begin, we will address the issue of numbers. Numbers have a special importance in Chinese culture due to their significance. In Chinese, several characters may be written with the same pinyin but pronounced with a different tone, totally changing the meaning of the word. Thus, mā (妈) means mother and mǎ (马), means horse. The similarity does not go unnoticed.


In this context, the number four has a great symbolism in China: it is an unlucky number. It has nothing to do with the number of months in the year, the division of days into hours, or anyone’s death, as the number thirteen does in western culture. It is due to its pronunciation, (四), resembling that of death or dying, sǐ (死). For this reason, the number four is practically absent in all contexts: after the third floor of a building comes the fifth, there is no seat number four (or fourteen) on a train or aeroplane, etc.


However, there is also a number for good luck, number eight. Its pronunciation, bā (八), is almost a homophone of prosperity or fortune, fā (发), although it may also be related with Buddhism and its eight petal lotus flower, which represents the perfection of the spirit. Thus, we can find various examples in China which show the importance of this superstition. For example, the Olympic Games held in China began on the eighth day of the eight month of 2008 (08/08/08) at eight o’ clock in the evening.


Additionally, traditions and customs are also a clear reflection of a culture, and the historical background of a country and its geographic location play an important role. Therefore, the further from each other two civilisations being compared are, the more differences we can find. In almost all cultures a series of virtues or meanings have been attributed to different animals. In the west, a black cat is related with bad luck, and a white dove with peace. In the same way, a deer or white crane is a symbol of good luck in China.


This is, surprisingly, the case of the bat, and is also due, among other reasons, to the pronunciation of this word: biānfú (蝙蝠). The final character, (蝠), is practically a homonym for that of happiness, (福), and is therefore related to good news. Numerous ancient paintings and vases can be found with drawings of bats, and even in the past it was a custom to sit on the patio at night with a cup of tea, observing how these animals fluttered around.


Thus, although it may seem strange to us, it is better not be offended or upset if you are given a picture of a bat as a gift – you are being wished the best of luck!


Beatriz Bustos Rincón

Translated by AGESTRAD