I’ve long been interested by the inventive, jokey, sometimes ludicrous expressions that arise within the family and only very occasionally emerge into the speech of the wider community. This variety is sometimes known as family slang or familect, otherwise, by the English Project at Winchester University, as kitchen-table lingo.

The following article gives some examples of these lighthearted, eccentric expressions. Following that is another, new article, shared by kind permission of the author,  Hamish Thompson who is currently collecting more examples with publication in mind. Please do donate your own family slang to him, or to me – and all donations will be gratefully acknowledged  and namechecked.

Here is Hamish’s article…


…and finally, from January 2018, an excellent article that includes personal reflections by Caroline Baum in the Guardian newspaper …

3 thoughts on “FAMILY LANGUAGE

  1. From my scouse origins, my mum used to refer to something old fashioned and lacking in the latest tastes (usually in a home decor context) as being ‘antwacky’ (with the stress on the second syllable).


  2. Pingback: Link love: language (67) | Sentence first

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