Need some linguistic help...
April 12, 2006 8:23 AM   Subscribe

I friend of mine from London, England had this "way" of coming up with names for people. As an example; he would call me bubbles (wasn't thrilled about that) because you can associate it with "squeak" (the sound bubbles can make when cleaning something, or like squeaky clean), which rhymed with the word "greek" which is my nationality... does anyone know what this is called and what the origin is?
posted by Cohiba4009 to Writing & Language (33 answers total)
 
Cockney Rhyming Slang
posted by Chunder at 8:24 AM on April 12, 2006


Ditto.
posted by OmieWise at 8:27 AM on April 12, 2006


Mmmmm. Bubble & Squeak. It's also sort of a mnemonic.
posted by steef at 8:29 AM on April 12, 2006


Also, bubble and squeak is a foodstuff.
posted by the cuban at 8:30 AM on April 12, 2006


or ditto what steef says.
posted by the cuban at 8:30 AM on April 12, 2006


If you don't know chitty chitty bang bang you must be Saddam Hussein.

Translation available here.
posted by keijo at 8:32 AM on April 12, 2006


You've had your answer, but it's important to state that Bubble and Squeak has nothing whatsoever to do with "the sound bubbles can make when cleaning something), and everything to do with the East-End delicacy linked to by the cuban. If you ever repeat the cleaning one again, the Pearly Kings will have you shot. You have been warned.
posted by benzo8 at 8:36 AM on April 12, 2006


LoL... fair enough benzo8
posted by Cohiba4009 at 8:44 AM on April 12, 2006


It's not just Cockney rhyming slang, though -- he's used it to come up with an affectionate nickname that I imagine refers only to you. It's somewhat unlikely that he (or any other user of rhyming slang) refers to all Greeks as "bubbles".
posted by reklaw at 8:45 AM on April 12, 2006


I do this all the time and had never heard of Cockney Rhyming Slang. It's just something my mind does when it's in idle. I do wonder if there's a general term for it though.
posted by driveler at 8:51 AM on April 12, 2006


True reklaw, he's taken it a step further. He might be Cohiba4009's Danny Glover.
posted by keijo at 8:52 AM on April 12, 2006


ROFL... couldNT resist huh reklaw? Too funny, no he was never my danny glover, just a really good friend.
posted by Cohiba4009 at 9:05 AM on April 12, 2006


It's not just Cockney rhyming slang, though -- he's used it to come up with an affectionate nickname that I imagine refers only to you. It's somewhat unlikely that he (or any other user of rhyming slang) refers to all Greeks as "bubbles".
posted by reklaw


from the wikipedia article on bubble and squeek:

The name bubble and squeak is used in (at least) South East England - it is also Cockney rhyming slang for "Greek".
posted by lemur at 9:08 AM on April 12, 2006


Tangentially, and it's not in the wikipedia article, but I always heard that it was called Bubble and Squeak because the dish gave you gas (which made you "bubble and squeak").
posted by unknowncommand at 9:35 AM on April 12, 2006


The reason it's not in the wikipedia article is that it's not true.
posted by languagehat at 9:40 AM on April 12, 2006


The reason it's not in the wikipedia article is that it's not true.

When did they institute that policy?
posted by Aknaton at 10:01 AM on April 12, 2006


Aknaton, ever since a horse and cart was just a euphemism for a raspberry tart.
posted by keijo at 10:13 AM on April 12, 2006


Remember Lock Stock? "Nick the Bubble"?
posted by blag at 10:14 AM on April 12, 2006


Yeah, I've heard 'Bubble' as slang for 'Greek' before, so it's sadly not tailor made for you.
posted by penguin pie at 10:42 AM on April 12, 2006


I want a name. Can he give me a name? Or do I have to find my own Britisher?
posted by redsparkler at 11:26 AM on April 12, 2006


East-End delicacy

Huh? It's not like pie and mash shops or a decent bagel. You get bubble and squeak all over England and Wales (but it never seems to appear on greasy spoon menus up here in Scotland, more's the pity.)
posted by jack_mo at 11:29 AM on April 12, 2006


Yep, "Bubble" is standard CRS for Greek. Can't expect all these Septics to know that... :-)
posted by Decani at 11:30 AM on April 12, 2006


I do wonder if there's a general term for it though.

Um, yeah - if you're not a cockney, it's just plain old rhyming slang. It's used widely in non-cockney forms in Australia, Northern Ireland, Scotland (examples) and in cant like Palare. (I can never get the Scottish ones, since the words don't rhyme in my English accent - eg. 'corned beef' = 'deaf'.)
posted by jack_mo at 11:40 AM on April 12, 2006


I'm not sure if (as a yank) I should be pleased I understood what you meant, Decani, or displeased that I'm spending time on this instead of working.
posted by davejay at 11:47 AM on April 12, 2006


wouldn't a Scot pronouncing beef sound somewhat like beff, thus rhyming with deaf?
posted by vanoakenfold at 12:29 PM on April 12, 2006


wouldn't a Scot pronouncing beef sound somewhat like beff, thus rhyming with deaf?
Not quite, it's more beeeef and deeeef
posted by Lanark at 1:15 PM on April 12, 2006


Apparently Wikipedia's proved me wrong...

Still, if you can find me one person who always says "bubble" when they mean Greek, I'll eat my hat. Rhyming slang is fun for tourists and all, but no-one uses it to that extent -- you just don't talk about Greeks that often.
posted by reklaw at 2:03 PM on April 12, 2006


Aknaton, ever since a horse and cart was just a euphemism for a raspberry tart.

Incidentally, "razz" and "raspberry" are in common usage in the U.S. for a certain mouth-made fart noise, but it doesn't seem to be commonly known that it's a case of Cockney rhyming slang.
posted by Aknaton at 2:07 PM on April 12, 2006


Ah languagehat, but it's in the other link, the esteemed http://www.foodreference.com.
posted by unknowncommand at 3:23 PM on April 12, 2006


It's still not true. Food writers are as clueless about etymology as regular people. (I've seen some real howlers in respected food references.)
posted by languagehat at 3:34 PM on April 12, 2006


When I worked in North London (Harringay), 'Bubbles' was the almost universal term for Greeks, even amongst many Greeks. There were a lot of them around. It's cockney rhyming slang.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 9:09 PM on April 12, 2006


Apparently Wikipedia's proved me wrong...

Still, if you can find me one person who always says "bubble" when they mean Greek, I'll eat my hat. Rhyming slang is fun for tourists and all, but no-one uses it to that extent -- you just don't talk about Greeks that often.
posted by reklaw at 10:03 PM GMT on April 12 [!]


I live in east london, was born within the sound of the bow bells, and I call my greek friends bubble's all the time. I think sir, you should get a little sauce fer yer 'at! It'll make it go down that much easier!
posted by the_epicurean at 3:29 AM on April 13, 2006


...

Strange. I guess the Cockneys I know just aren't Cockney enough...

Consider hat eaten.
posted by reklaw at 8:55 AM on April 13, 2006


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