Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Who's My What?!

In my day to day life here in England, I often hear unique words or phrases springing forth from the lips of either my husband or someone else.

One such phrase that tickled my funny bone when I first heard it was “...and Bob’s your uncle!”. My first thoughts were (a) ‘what the heck?’ – I had no idea what they were talking about, and (b) ‘how did you know?’ – since I actually did have an Uncle Bob! Well, apparently they weren’t talking about my family tree at all. In Britain, this phrase is used quite commonly and means “and that’s all there is to it”, or “and you’re all set”, usually put at the end of a list of instructions. Who knew?!

British Library

British Library

I love the richness and diversity of the English language, and the many different forms of it that you hear all over the world. This is the subject of an exhibition at the British Library – Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices. This free exhibition opened on November 12th and runs until April 3rd, and includes many iconic books and manuscripts as well as recordings of famous speeches by Churchill, Gandhi and Mandela. Visitors to the exhibition can even record their own voices, reading the children’s book Mr Tickle, and have the recording added to the British Library audio archive as a part of the collection. There are also examples of early advertising posters, lists of slang, early newspapers, comics, text messages and so much more included in the exhibition. More information on all of this can be found at http://www.bl.uk/evolvingenglishand if you are on Twitter, then you can also tweet using the hashtag #evolvingenglish.


I recently played an online quiz related to the exhibition at http://www.bl.uk/evolvingenglish/quiz.html and scored 6/6 on the “easy-peasy” level (the less said the better about how I did on the more advanced levels!). You could always follow the link yourself, take the quiz and share your own score ...and Bob’s your uncle!

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Unknown said...

My family always used that phrase "and Bob's Your Uncle" - I never thought anything of it until reading your post ...I wonder how it made it to Brooklyn..lol...

A Valdese Blogger said...

I took the quiz and I did not that well - only got 4 on easy peasy & it went downhill from there.

Swirl Around the World said...

I love Bob's your uncle. And, bobbies. I love international slang.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Dori, I loved this post! I've always used a lot of English words and phrases in my speech.

Dori said...

That's so interesting that your family used that expression too in Brooklyn. It's intriguing how phrases are so regional within the United States :)

Valdese Blogger,
Still good going on the quiz :)

Swirl Around the World,
Yep, there's some interesting slang in our world :) Thanks for visiting and commenting!

So glad that you liked the post :) I figured that you'd be hip to these English phrases since your mother is English. I'll bet your speech is very varied with strong influences from both of your parents :)

BLOGZOOM said...

Dori, I'm dying laughing! If you know so well the English language and was surprised by a British phrase, just imagine if I were there?! kkkkkkk

So, how's your uncle Bob?! kkkkkkk

BLOGZOOM said...

Ahhhh when I talk to Craig (American friend who lives in San Diego) he dies laughing when I keep trying to talk "wardrobe " ... I start to laugh ... it's like having an egg on each side of the cheek.
So I always ask him as a "armario - brazilian word" can be called a "wardrobe" !!!!!!!
So we remember Chronicles of Narnia ... It is wonder that there was a secret passage! Only through something hard to pronounce!

So Dori, the day we can get to know us you know what to do: ask me to say "wardrobe"... I'll get too wrapped up!

The Author said...

That's really interesting. I'd never have guessed what it meant in a million years. And you scored so high on your quiz!!

Unknown said...

LOL! Love it!
Still trying to wrap my mind around, "And Bob's your uncle". Not understanding how that signifies the end of a conversation! smh

Krystal Grant said...

Interesting how language changes. Some sayings are so funny.

Dori said...

LOL. It's very funny how we supposedly speak the same language in both countries, but sometimes it's so different. I know you'd do fine. I always marvel at your language skills :) And when I do see you someday, the first thing I'm gonna ask you to say is wardrobe ;-) Hugs!

Mountain Woman,
Even after nearly five years I'm still intrigued to find out what phrases mean. It truly is interesting. I think I just got really lucky on the quiz. LOL.

LOL. I know what you mean. It's kind of one of those things where I just shake my head and say, "Okayy". LOL.

You're so right. I always wonder where all of these sayings start out. I'll usually ask hubby about some of them and he doesn't know either. I think that I'm gonna do a bit of investigation and see what I can find out and share what I do come across here. Thanks for stopping by :)

Anonymous said...

I've often pulled out the "and Bob's your uncle" phrase to confuse and throw off my American friends. :) It is a pretty interesting slang. Will watch out for the British Library exhibit. That SHOULD be very interesting. :)

Dori said...

Miss Chicago,
Yep, it's funny to pull out old Bob on folks. LOL. I want to check out the exhibit too! :)