My feet are killing me in them heels

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Peppethelondoner, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. Hello friends,
    I was reading the Scene 6, Act 1 of "The Strange cas of Dr. jekyll and Mr. Hyde" set in London (1850) when I came up to this sentence, said by a prostitute to another: "Lord almighty it was hard out there tonight. My feet are killing me in them heels".
    Now, I understand the general meaning of the sentence, but why she said "them" and not "those". It's only Cockney?
    Thans for your help
    Peppe
     
  2. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Montreal
    Canada, English
    Yes it's cockney slang. I don't know if it is very dated, from the 19th century, perhaps one our BE speakers could let us know?
     
  3. Azazel81 Senior Member

    Milan
    Italy - Italian
    Prostitutes where known to be NOT well-educated, right?

    So, you may hear a lot of mistakes made by them, especially in movies referring to previous centuries. For instance in "From Hell" you can hear prostitutes say something like: "I'll take care of meself" (instead of "myself").

    So, I think it's just a grammar mistake, that's all. And she probably meant "my heels" or "their heels" (referred to the heels of her feet).

    Could that be it?

    PS: I have to admit I know very little of "cockney rhyming slang".
     
  4. Hi Azazel, you're right, they're supposed not to be very... polite :) but I thought, as Rrose confirmed, it was Cockney... :D :D

    We need London Calling, Baldpate and other Londoners born and bred...
     
  5. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Montreal
    Canada, English
    Actually to be precise I don't know if it is Cockney, so much as just street slang spoken at the time. Again perhaps a Brit might be more in a position to illucidate us.
     
  6. Azazel81 Senior Member

    Milan
    Italy - Italian
    So, what'll it be? Cockney, alright.. and the meaning? Like I said, I'm not an expert in Cockney (I'm lazy, you know...)
     
  7. Hermocrates Senior Member

    Italian & British English (bilingual)
    Well, linguistically speaking, the use of "them" as a demonstrative is a feature of Cockney.
     
  8. Well, to be honest, good for you :D
    Joking aside, now I'm not so sure it's simply London's slang, it could be also a mistake. Let's wait...

    Thanks Rye
     
  9. ilcigno

    ilcigno Senior Member

    To answer this part of your question, it's not only Cockney, it's a fairly common mistake amongst poorly educated English speakers. I heard it all the time where I grew up (NW Pennsylvania, US). She meant the high heels of her shoes were hurting her feet.
     
  10. So it depends on both Cockney and non-education?
     
  11. Azazel81 Senior Member

    Milan
    Italy - Italian
    Exactly what I meant above. But since it's about Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde it could also be (and probably is) Cockney.

    I'm still waiting to know what it means in Cockney though :p I guess I'm gonna have to wait till tomorrow :( Bye guys.

    @Peppe: yep... could be both.
     
  12. Thanks for your help, Azazel
    See you soon ;)
     
  13. Leo57 Senior Member

    Yorkshire
    UK English
    I'm not going to say that it is peculiar to London (the south) as I could imagine someone saying it here! ;) (the north)

    Ciao
    Leo:)

    p.s. I must have blinked or something as a few more posts have appeared since I started typing! :) Poor example but.. "Are yer gonna scoff all them biscuits yerself! You have to have a laugh now and then :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2009
  14. Thanks Leo :)
    Peppe
     
  15. Hermocrates Senior Member

    Italian & British English (bilingual)
    Sì e no. Secondo me (deformazione professionale :p) è soprattutto una marca socio-culturale, un segno linguistico di appartenenza. È la stessa cosa del dialetto o l'accento di una persona: non vuol dire che sia necessariamente ignorante (anche se può esserlo, specie in quanto è un dialetto comunque delle classi meno agiate o di campagna che quindi hanno meno facilmente accesso alla "cultura" e all'istruzione superiore) ma che quella persona è molto legata linguisticamente alla sua radice culturale, vuoi per sua scelta, o più spesso, perché è vissuta radicata in quel contesto sociale tutta la sua vita.

    Per esempio, io ho conosciuto molti professori in Italia di grande cultura e preparazione nel loro campo ma che nonostante ciò parlano con forte inflessione dialettale delle loro parti.

    Oppure mi torna in mente il personaggio di Piggy da Lords of the Flies. Lui parla con un po' di accento Cockney o comunque di classe sociale bassa. Da qualche parte usa anche il deittico "them spectacles" (o "them glasses"? non ricordo l'espressione esatta) e cose simili, eppure non viene presentato come "ignorante", visto che è di fatto la mente ingegnosa del gruppo. Nel suo caso è solo una marca sociale che indica che lui viene dalla working class, mentre il protagonista è di famiglia più benestante.

    Detto questo, le prostitute di Stevenson secondo me usano il dimostrativo perché appunto corrisponde alla lingua che loro parlano o ti aspetti che parlino. Loro parlano chiaramente l'inglese della Londra popolare.
     
  16. Thanks for your explanation, Rye
    Very helpful
    Peppe
     
  17. london calling Senior Member

    SALERNO, ITALY
    UK ENGLISH
    It's Cockney:), but if you want my opinion it's Stevenson's version of Cockney....if I were to say it in "proper" Cockney, I'd say something like this:

    Me plates (plates of meat = feet) are killin' me in these 'ere ('igh) 'eels!

    In London we use them to mean those, not these, generally speaking.
     
  18. Hermocrates Senior Member

    Italian & British English (bilingual)
    Hehe! Stevenson was a Scotsman, so I doubt he had been significantly exposed to Cockney. :p
     
  19. xmas50 Senior Member

    USA
    Italian - Italy
    Eat them (= those) cookies
    You was right
    Old meself
    He don't know nothing!
    Vivo negli USA e queste espressioni le sento tutti i giorni tra persone di cultura non eccelsa che parlano il loro gergo colloquiale. A dire il vero, le ho sentite anche in tribunale pronunciate dall'imputato rivolto al giudice.


    Sono senz'altro errori grammaticali, ma denotano anche appartenenza a una certa classe o a un certo gruppo sociale.
     
  20. Azazel81 Senior Member

    Milan
    Italy - Italian
    That's one of the few things I remember about Cockney... together with "apples and pears" (stairs, if memory serves)... There were so many that I said to myself "alright... better forget about all of those, after all you speak AmE.. :D"
     
  21. london calling Senior Member

    SALERNO, ITALY
    UK ENGLISH
    'Swat I meant, innit!:D
    Them Scotch don't know nuffink about 'ow we speak down 'ere!:D

    Comunque, per tornare alla frase originale, confermo che significa:

    Con questi tacchi i piedi mi fanno male.

    Edit: Xmas, non darei giudizi così netti. E' vero che sono errori di grammatica, ma non sempre il modo di parlare è indicativo della classe di appartenenza, anche se spesso è così. Ci sono persone che nascono in una famiglia che parla così ma che poi imparano a parlare "bene", e ci sono persone (come la sottoscritta) che per essere "accettate" in una scuola statale devono modificare il proprio modo di parlare. Una forma di difesa, insomma! Io lo facevo solo quando stavo a scuola: se parlavo così a casa, mia madre reagiva con : "Will you stop speaking like a guttersnipe!". Comunque, lo vedo anche con mio figlio. A casa non usa nè il napoletano nè il gergo dei ragazzi, ma con i suoi compagni sì...

    Azazel: apples and pears = stairs, hai ragione!
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2009
  22. Thanks London Calling. As you can understand from my nickname I'm a bit :) interested in London ( and accordingly in Cockney) so I appreciate any help you give me about that.
    Thanks to you all friends :)
    Peppe
     
  23. tomzenith

    tomzenith Senior Member

    English - Britain
    I definitely agree that it sounds distinctly Cockney, but doesn't the same construction happen in AmE quite commonly? I'm thinking example of the famous line from Good Will Hunting: 'how do you like them apples?'.
     
  24. Hermocrates Senior Member

    Italian & British English (bilingual)
    Will is Irish, and the deitic "them" is common in Hiberno-English as well.
     
  25. tomzenith

    tomzenith Senior Member

    English - Britain
    Nice one Rye, cheers!
     
  26. xmas50 Senior Member

    USA
    Italian - Italy
    Ciao London calling, lungi da me l'idea di fare categorizzazioni. Dopo tutto credo che stiamo dicendo la stessa cosa, perch é ritengo che queste persone che nel loro quotidiano parlano in questo modo (con frasi "grammaticalmente scorrette" che io sento tutti i giorni), in un ambiente diverso - tipo a scuola o in un'intervista per un lavoro - possano tranquillamente esprimersi in modo corretto.
    Per me è evidente che è un segno, un simbolo di appartenenza a un determinato gruppo, come per tuo figlio quando, con gli amici, si esprime in modo diverso che non a casa.
    È solo una constatazione di vita quotidiana...
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2009
  27. ilcigno

    ilcigno Senior Member

    Of course he was also trying to make it comprehensible to his readers, who weren't for the most part Cockney either.
     
  28. london calling Senior Member

    SALERNO, ITALY
    UK ENGLISH
    Yes, indeed, quite right, :) that's why I said it was "his" version"! If he'd written it like I did,:eek: many of his readers wouldn't have understood it. The sentence was his way of trying to render Cockney speech in an intelligible form. However, as I said, I don't think a Cockney would have said them, which to me means those, in this context (unless the lady in question had already taken her shoes off when she made the comment, of course.;)
     
  29. Hermocrates Senior Member

    Italian & British English (bilingual)
    Wait, I actually found out this expression has existed in AE for decades. The etymology is unknown, so not sure if it actually has anything to do with Will being Irish.
     
  30. tomzenith

    tomzenith Senior Member

    English - Britain
    No, but I suppose there is a large Irish influence in America, so your original idea might well still be right. Either way, it seems like a good explanation.. :)

    By the way, your new name is much harder to shorten..
     

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