How Did Cockney Rhyming Slang Develop?


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E Jacobson answered
The origins of good old Cockney rhyming slang are largely unknown. It did develop in the East End of London, true, but no one can agree why.
Some people believe that it was devised by criminals as a way of keeping information from the police and passing 'secret' information to each other. However, some people feel that this just stereotypes people from the East End as being 'gangsters' which is not the reality.
Other people assert that it was a way of keeping Community going, so that people from outside who could not understand the slang would be easily identified as such and excluded. A sense of community was strong in the East End, so this may well be the case.
However, it is a rich and interesting linguistic toy and is great to hear spoken, even if it is somewhat in decline.

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