Even if you don’t study languages and don’t particularly like reading literature, you cannot escape the main tool we use to communicate every day. And we all enjoy a good play on words or a smart metaphor. So you don’t need an education in linguistics to be interested in that field.
What is also often enjoyable is learning how people use different languages, what words are the same and for what concepts they have or don’t have words. Even in the same language there are variations. An interesting case is the English language as it is spoken in different parts of the world and has become lingua franca, so it inevitably will have changes.
Twitter user Rob Delaney wanted to explore the differences in the English language. Being American, he asked his followers to present him with the best insults British people use and that made a very entertaining thread.
Image credits: Rob Delaney
Image credits: Ralf Steinberger
More info: Twitter
Rob Delaney is an American comedian who helped to write the script for the TV show Catastrophe (2015) and starred in it. He is also known for appearing in such films as Deadpool 2 (2018) and Hobbs & Shaw (2019).
However, the platform that brought him to the spotlight was Twitter, where he started posting in 2009, and by 2016 he had over 1.2 million followers. He is considered to be the one of the first comedians who cracked his jokes on social media.
Now he has a following of 1.5 million people and still continues to entertain his audience. Recently, he wanted to be entertained himself and asked “What are some good British insults these days?”
He mentioned that he knows of “roaster”, “flannel”, or “weapon” that always makes him chuckle. And now he knows a lot more as 3k people joined the conversation to illuminate Rob about the awesome ways the Brits have to insult someone.
It is weird to think that both Americans and British people speak the same language, but it sounds so different and the lexicons are diverse as well. On the other hand, it is the people who adapt the language to be a convenient tool to communicate, so it is only natural that in different places, even the same language will have variations.
The biggest difference between American and British English is probably the pronunciation. The vocabulary is mostly the same but some nouns, verbs and phrasal verbs are used differently. There are also minor differences in grammar, for example, the use of present perfect or how they express possession with the verbs have and have got.
And apparently, there are loads of insults that only the British use. The ones that were mentioned in the thread are quite funny and clever. They are often based on comparison, like ‘dry lunch’ or ‘muppet.’
Twitter user Arietta made a good point by explaining how you can make up your own insult: “The best ones are the random nouns that aren’t technically insults but are made into one by putting the word 'absolute' in front of it. Saw a comment calling someone an 'absolute f*****g pelican' the other day and I’m still not over it.”
Do you find differences between variants of English interesting? Which variant do you prefer to use? Also, do you know of any British insults that were not mentioned in this list? Let us know in the comments below!