This started after I was reading a YA book (not going to be naming) and the British character in the book said sausages were always called bangers in England. To an extent that is true. You can hear the term when someone is referring to the meal bangers and mash. But the rest of the time Brits will refer to sausage as simply "sausage". Honestly, if you try walking into a sandwich bar in England and ask for a banger and bacon butty (butty = sandwich) you're going to get some right odd looks.
One thing to watch out for is that slang and terms change wherever you go in England. When I was at school and dressing in rock band t-shirts and baggy jeans I would be called a grunger. And when I was in Yorkshire, the term was mosher.
Subcultures have changed a lot during the years in the UK. From the mods and the rockers to chavs and goths. While the term chav wasn't known until early 2000s Colin helped me out with what a chav to him may have been like in the 80s:
"What I think of as a chav in the 80s--I'm thinking of a guy in school who tried to look like Don Johnson (Miami Vice). had a nice watch, rings, tried to look expensive, but was a troll with the girls--didn't have an "expensive" attitude. We had "Duranies"--Duran Duran fan-girls who looked like the singers from Human League and gushed over Simon Le Bon...Of course, we didn't have the term "chav" back then... but as I understand it, the personality type's the same."
Nowadays the term chav is officially recognised in British language/slang and the idea of a chav now is a person who tends to go for more sportier appearances but they're not the US equivalent to jocks. Tracksuit bottoms, sport brand attire, trainers. Hairstyles are usually quite short, spiky and full of gel. The chavs that I've known have a roughness to how they speak (example here which is Kelly from misfits). For the girls, they also wear sporty gear with large hoop earrings. Scrap their hair back in high ponytails. Generally the stereotype has a bad reputation. If you see anyone on the streets in England being ill-mannered, swearing a lot loudly, and causing trouble people do tend to think: oh, what a chav. You usually hear them saying things like 'innit' (isn't it) or 'bruv' (brother) - both words are quite London/Southern slang. They do this weird hand gesture that looks like a gun and go 'brap brap'. Apparently it's to imitate a gun shot. I just... I don't know why. They've got a whole different language to themselves. But the idea of a chav has evolved a lot throughout the years to the stereotype and word we know now. So have a look at what era your UK character is in. Chavs haven't been around for very long and the term was only officially recognised in 2005, I think?
So you can see how quickly slang changes for teens in Britain. Language easily becomes old-fashioned. In my grandma's childhood (would have been the 30s) she said her and her friends used to call hiding 'getting hiddy' but you'll never hear that term used by a modern day teenager or even my aunts and uncle who were born between 1948 and 1958.
There's still a lot of slang out there that I've not heard off which may be to do with the region of England a person is in so be careful on where your British character is from in the UK. These examples came from Cole, Laura, and Emma.
@robinkatemoran "Bare" means a lot/very/loads of apparently :P "I was bare tired!" ...This is making me feel old ^^;
— Miss Cole (@MissColeBurke) April 2, 2013
all the young kids in my workplace use 'pied' to mean when someone ignores you speaking to them. It's a weird one.
— Emma Maree Urquhart (@EMaree) April 1, 2013
"yo-lo' I don't even know what it means, but there we go." (from Laura).I looked YOLO up and apparently it's an acronym for You Only Live Once. I'm 23 and I didn't even know about this motto craze. I haven't heard teens say this (yet) in Yorkshire so there's always that possibility it is slang that's typical in a different county. Always remember that.
The ones that I know and hear are 'mint' which means something good or amazing. I showed an event to a friend once and they replied "Oh, wow that's mint!". The same applies to the term 'sick'. Sick = good, awesome, excellent. "That's sick!"
In Yorkshire we have a habit of replacing anything and nothing with 'owt' and' nowt'. Not something to say in an interview but for informal use you'll hear people in Yorkshire using those words. Eg, "I didn't say owt." and "there were nowt going on". Was and were usually get mixed up as well in my lovely area. "I were saying that" "They was having a laugh." Also, mum is usually pronounced as 'mam' up North. It's 'mum' down south.
Further up North (County Durham, Newcastle) I hear people putting 'like' at the end of a sentence. I've heard it extend down here in Yorkshire but not as much as these counties further up. Examples: "Where are you going, like?", "Is this for pudding, like?" or "it's a bit late, like". I haven't found any meaning to it, at the moment I'm guessing it's just a random emphasis on the end of a sentence. Maybe if there's anyone from County Durham or Newcastle you'll have a better idea than me.
I could on for ages but this post is already long enough. If you're not a British reader and have any questions about British slang - whether you want to know if we really use a certain word or the different terms and language in regions feel free to ask! And to any British readers, if you have more slang words to add to this new or old, come and list them in the comments! =D
Thanks to everyone who has helped already!