Friday, 8 April 2011

Are you having a Giraffe ?

Today's letter is G 

and the phrase is 

"Are you having a Giraffe?"

Now there may be some of you that are confused about the question above. I would imagine (perhaps wrongly) that if you are not a native of the shores of the green and pleasant land we call Great Britain, it is a bizarre question. If you are not familiar with it, you may presume this is a rude query to pose to a pregnant lady "Excuse me are you having a giraffe?" Thankfully its not...

In reality the phrase is a selection of Cockney Rhyming Slang, and although such colloquialism is concentrated in London it would seem some of these phrases have escaped and are in general use 'up north' It is not unusual, in my circle of friends to use the the phrase "Are you having a giraffe?" meaning "Are you having a Laugh?"

Now I am hoping to educate those of you to whom this is a new turn of phrase, my hope being, if I ever bump into you in the land you call home, I will hear you using this new question.

How to use. Please note for best effect this is meant to be used with a hint of sarcasm. So for example asking a comedian, a clown or a group of laughing friends "are you having a laugh?" doesn't make any use of the question.

In its truest context - when your boss asks if you want to work 3 hours late with no extra pay you can reply with - "Are you having a laugh ?"

When your kids ask for money for an expensive branded item of clothing, when the local bargain shop sell one just as suitable, you can now ask "Are you having a laugh?"

If you get pulled over for speeding and the officer tells you that a ticket is the only option, you can ask "Are you having a laugh?"

Now I do have to say two of the above examples will get you in a lot of trouble (you can figure out which two) but they do serve to illustrate the context.

Finally just between you and I, if  because of me this catches on in a big way, there is a counter question that can be used as in this next example.

You tell your child they cant have a new games consul and they reply "Are you having a laugh?" to which your answer should be....

"Am I wearing a red nose ??"

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Picture Source


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Didn't know about that phrase. I do know about Red Nose Day though!

Anonymous said...

I like the giraffe but I don't think anyone around here would know what I was talking about if I used it.

Tundiel said...

Hahaha, I say this ALL the time! Only I usually say 'you're having a giraffe, aint ya?!' I'm in Wales (Cardiff to be exact), and we have a ton of stuff we've 'borrowed' from Cockney, plus our own strange sayings. If ever you want a lesson in 'Taff', you'll find whole posts about 'Taffing' in my blog. It's hysterical, I loves it. ;p

Great 'G' post!

M.J. Fifield said...

Thanks for the lesson. I will have to remember it for the next time I am lucky enough to get across the pond.

nutschell said...

Hey thanks for dropping by my blog! love this post. It's funny and quite informative. I love the intricacies of the English language--particularly the original british version. I bought books called "Rules, Britannia" and "British from A-Zed" because I wanted to learn about British slang and language--I think reading those books added depth to my characters (who live in the Salisbury area) and made them more authentic.

Cole Garrett said...

Good cultural lesson! I've never heard of this saying (maybe because I've never been to Great Britain).

Thanks for stopping by my blog, btw. :)

Ashlie Swainston said...

I'm always having giraffes in bubble baths!

Nate Wilson said...

I've always been intrigued by Cockney slang, but I doubt I'd be able to pull it off here in the States. Then again, no matter what, my Cockney accent will be better than Dick Van Dyke's in Mary Poppins (although in his defense, his Cockney vocal coach was a Scot).

Thanks for the intro to Cockney slang... and for the (non-sarcastic) giraffe.

Spenc said...

I've never heard this, thanks for the 411. I'll use this with friends but probably not with authority figures. Do you know how this expression came about? It just seems so random I thought there might be a good story.

Anonymous said...

The man who fears suffering is already suffering from his fear.

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