As a child, born and bred in the heart of London, I would say, ‘ay ?

As a child, born and bred in the heart of London, I would say, ‘ay ?

when what I meant was, “What did you say ?” I wasn’t alone in this and the common response from a parent would be, ” ‘ay is for ‘orses.” ‘h’ was mostly redundant in London back in the thirties but there were plenty of ‘orses around.

I think hey is a horrible greeting, since in English English there’s an implied exclamation mark, as with oi! As in “Hey you! Stop that!” So it’s another importation from the States, as hi was originally, although hi is very widely used in Great Britain now.

Nick – I (also a Brit) totally agree, both on pronunciation and meaning. I just checked it in The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and was rather surprised not to find it under hoy, thinking oi was more a dialect thing. And their definition is ‘used to attract somebody’s attention, especially in an angry way’ – Like – ‘Oi, you! What do you think you’re doing?’.Not exactly a greeting. But on the other hand on the street or in the pub In you might well hear something like ‘Oi mate, got a fag?’ I suppose we could say that’s a greeting of sorts. (for non-Brits, fag=cigarette)

Any danger of some refreshment in ‘ere’ –

– English English? Are you excluding the rest of us who share these isles. But I do agree with you about the exclamation – Nice one. Out of interest, did you also add aitches to e’s as in ‘this ‘ere hedge of the table’. I take it you know the Heineken ad – “The wa’er in Majorca don’t taste like what it ought’a”. I’ve just noticed there’s an ‘oi’ in it with a noticeable aitch. ‘Oi, Dell!

Well, I’m a foreigner in France at the moment, but I’m not an expatriate because I’m still officially resident in Britain

I like “hey” when used as a friendly greeting – the tone of voice makes clear when you mean “hey!” in a “stop thief!” sense. But “Brit” ? Now that is indeed horrible.

W Will – not in the slightest personal, no, not at all. British is fine, one of my own passports is indeed a British one. Sometimes I even live in Britain. Nothing against British people at all, sorry if that was the impression given. My great distaste is for the ‘word’ Brit, which, like Yank or Frog when intended to denote someone’s nationality, is, well, horrible, no matter how affectionately intended. Did American newspapers carry headlines about the Olympics like: ” Yanks win lots and lots of medals “? or French ones :” Frogs don’t win many medals, do we? ” ? So why did British ones do “Brits do really rather well in medals table!” (I paraphrase all these, web site of course, because I have forgotten what they actually said). To me, ‘Brit’ ranks on the yuk! scale along with ‘expat’ which seems to be used to mean British people who are living as foreigners in another country. Nothing wrong with doing that, of course: I’ll do it myself if it doesn’t stop raining here soon. It’s the word itself which grates on the ear like fingernails scraped on the blackboard (or is it chalkboard?). What’s wrong with “foreigners” as the mot juste? In Thailand they use the charming term “farangs” which is the same thing, and it is my first choice of word here.Again, sorry about the wrong impression given, of course nothing personal was intended.

The French are unlikely to have a headline beginning “Frogs. ” but they might well have one beginning “Les Rosbifs. “. One might well see a headline “Scots do well. ” or “Welsh. ” or “Northern Irish. ” but “British do well. ” sounds a bid odd and old-fashioned. “Great Britain does well. ” is a bit of a mouthful and so would probably get reduced to “GB does well. ” but some people don’t like the term “GB” any more than others like “Brits” – so who to please?!