British greetings [hello, ay-up, wotcha, and others]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Jiung, Jun 29, 2006.

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  1. Jiung Member

    Taipei, Taiwan
    Chinese, Taiwan

    I learned from a textbook saying that when people in the UK come across a friend, they say "Wotcha!", or "Ay-up!", is that true?

    And do those serve as the same function as "Hi!"?

    Many thanks!

  2. Vikta

    Vikta Member

    Quebec City, Qc.
    English/French/Spanish Canada
    Haha, how old is your textbook? They might be used by some but the traditional is Hello
  3. GoodNight Member

    Turin, Italy
    Italy (Italian)
    If they were really used, they'd be very informal =)
  4. A90Six Senior Member

    England - English.
    They are common greetings in certain areas.

    Wotcha is generally London and the Southeast, whereas ay-up is, I think, around Nottingham and possibly Yorkshire.

    Ay-up can be used as an interjection to mean pay attention, as in Ay-up, look who's just walked in.
    Hello can be used in the same way, but not wotcha (watch you).

    There are many other colloquial greetings, Awriight (All right), Yo, Oi oi, S'appening (What is happening), Wappen (What's happening), Yawright (Are you all right), Ow do (How do you do), to name but a few. These will depend on the area in which people live, their age, and their background.
  5. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    English / England
    Well it is certainly true that some of us say things like this in greeting - I am quite fond of "aye-up" myself, but only with friends or maybe my students if I am feeling very relaxed one day. I might even say "wotcha cock" to someone, even though I am not a Londoner, for a slightly comic effect ...

    It might be useful for you to know this if you are travelling in the UK and hear people use it, or hear it in films of TV shows.

    I would advise against attempting to use these terms yourself, unless you're as fluent / relaxed as a native speaker, otherwise it would seem comical to most "natives".
  6. kertek

    kertek Senior Member

    UK English
    "Ay up!" (or "eh up", "ey up") is still very common, mainly in Yorkshire, and it can be used as a greeting (like "hi", exactly), or as a way of expressing surprise, irony or suspicion, depending on the intonation. You also hear "now then!" used as a greeting. Neither is outdated in this region, but both are fairly informal.
  7. markrichardsmith New Member

    english - england
    Hi Jiung,

    I wanted to reply because these people are not really being helpful.

    Ay-up is a regional slang that is used very often but mainly in the north of England. You can say it anywhere and will be understood but its not the best thing to use.

    Wotcha - please do not use. That is not used by anyone who is not a complete loser. Seriously, not cool. You probably won't be understood because people will think "no surely she can't be THAT sad!" And probably think you're saying 'watch out' or something like that."

    So here are a few things that you can say anywhere to anyone.

    Hi - this is acceptable and used by everyone at any time except in extremely formal circumstances. But even to a teacher, parent, grandparent, policeman, shopkeeper, interviewer is totally acceptable.

    Hi there - this is also used ALL the time. Also can be used even with all the above people. Its like hi but a bit more friendly. I use it all the time. Its nice. Use that.

    Hiya - slightly more informal again but still completely acceptable.

    Hey - Comes from American influence but being used more and more in the UK. "Hey guys" can be used for friends all the time and includes girls too. "Hey, hows it going?" Is used very frequently. This is something that has come in relatively recently so perhaps just to younger people not old people.

    Alright? - This is hello and how are you in one. NB: It does not require a reply such as "yes I'm fine." The response is "alright" with a nod of the head. This is usually but by no means always used by males. "Alright mate" is informal and used among men and very informal young women.

    Morning/afternoon/evening - Take the expression "good morning/afternoon/evening" and remove the "good." This can be used in almost any situation unless very formal.

    Yo / yo yo - very informal. Used in jest but still a fun thing to say in an informal setting.

    Wagwan - Very informal slang used amongst the London black community.

    Easy? - Very informal slang, spoken as a question but requiring no answer. London slang one can say "easy bruv" meaning how are you brother.


    So I hope this helps. Use these and you'll never go wrong. I recommend Hiya or hi there. These are the best and very friendly ways of saying Hello.

    Good luck! :D
  8. Balzar Aikin New Member

    American English
    markrichardsmith seems to have a be very concerned about class and race when giving people instructions for using the English language. Profanity is considered ill-mannered in some company. However, the words he discusses are not offensive and would only raise concerns with someone like himself who seems to feel that some words belong to some people and therefore ought not to be used by others. This is a curious view of the ever-evolving human phenomenon of language. I can only hope that I haven't used any words that markrichardsmith thinks ought not to be used by me as I don't belong a a particular subset of humanity or would end up with me being held in low esteem by those who judge people by their use of a particular vernacular.
  9. Do not ever say this in the US (just in case anyone thought of doing it...)
  10. Language communicates a lot more than the meaning in the dictionary. You should understand and be concerned with all the possible meanings of what you are saying when in a particular context or group, including class, race, and ethnicity. It's not only profanity that is an issue concerning group identification and interaction. Saying a greeting that has nothing to do with the context you are in at best would make the person saying it look ridiculous or ignorant, at worst it would cause a negative reaction from the group they are interacting with.

    Mark was giving important information that Jiung should be aware of, in order to choose correctly which expression to use in different contexts.
  11. I say hello or morning, adding the person's name if I remember it in time.

    I rarely say anything else, and always sound like I'm pleased to see them.

  12. Man_from_India Senior Member

    Indian English
    "Now then!"!
    Is it used if you see a person and greet him this way like "hello" or "hi"?
  13. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    English / England
    Markrichardsmith is a newcomer here, and rather rude to say we are not being helpful. Seems to me no-one advised the original poster to use these terms and this discussion about why was perfectly helpful.

    On the other hand his suggestion that anyone "foreign" could ever consider saying wagwan is total nonsense. Even if they are very fluent. Wagwan is a Carribean dialect and anyone who is not part of that community and adopts that phrase is likely to sound a complete fool. That applies to British people as well, unless they are really good mates with the Caribbean people they are addressing or have adopted it as a little informal thing within a tight group of friends.
  14. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Moderator note:

    I have no idea why this thread, whose last post was a year and a half ago, was revived apparently only to argue with another member. That is not what we are here for.

    The comments have been made, the discussion has run its course, this thread is closed.

    Thank you.

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