My name is Jade Joddle and I grew up in Elephant and Castle, ‘Saaf Lahndan’.
People are often surprised to find out about my origins because I do not speak with a cockney accent anymore. However, I can easily switch into the cockney accent because my family are born and bred cockneys and still live in the area.
I remember as a kid sitting on my grandad’s knee and being taught cockney rhyming slang.
For me, it was such a pleasure to be taught this language of riddles by a proper cockney. He’d say the rhyme to me and I’d have to guess what it meant, though I hardly ever got it right. He’d say to me, ‘Plates of meat,’ and then I’d shout out, ‘Face! Legs! Head!’ not quite understanding how to predict the rhyme.
What I love most about the cockney way of speaking is the characteristic manner of storytelling. I describe it like they get one hundred percent involved inside the story, using strong facial expression and gesture to make the story come alive. When a cockney tells a story it is always larger than life, exaggerated. The cockney becomes a hero character within the story and usually there is someone else behaving in a stupid way that needs to be knocked down a peg or two. By the end of the cockney story someone always looks like a right muppet and everyone listening just has to laugh.
I may not sound like a cockney in my daily life these days but the way I communicate is definitely still influenced by my origins. Cockney’s don’t bother with formalities and formal nonsense when you meet someone new: it’s not going to go down well if you put on airs and graces.
Also, true cockneys wear their hearts on their sleeves, and for me too it’s essential to be open and honest in communication at all times. From what I’ve observed, the ‘posher’ the accent somebody has, the less genuine the person is able to be in communication because their language at times becomes overly polite and indirect. On the other hand at least you always know where you stand with a cockney!
For more videos about accents check out my YouTube Channel Introverts by Jade