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PGS Argot

Adam Clark (OP 1987) invites you to share your memories of PGS slang
25 May 2022
OP updates
Adam Clark OP
Adam Clark OP

The way we speak to each other in informal conversation is rarely recorded. With time the obscure code-words and banter we share with peers is often lost.

I wonder if perhaps the 1980s cohort of PGS pupils was the last generation to use surnames almost exclusively when talking to and referring to each other. As we got towards the Sixth Form, we started to use first names, but to this day there are classmates from my first form in the Middle School, 3W, whose first names I still simply don’t know, even though I remember the surname of everyone in my class.

Our slang had lots of insults based on what used to be called physical and mental handicaps, most of which are unprintable here. Less controversially, I recall we used to say “recKON” (emphasis on second syllable) to dismiss an idea we didn’t think much of, and I’m sure we over-used “subtle” as a sort of put down to others’ ideas. But the one aspect of PGS slang that fascinates me the most was the unkind language used to describe those who showed enthusiasm for academic study. The worst insult in my time at school was to be called a “keeno” or a “spod”. Those who tried hard were held in even lower esteem than the naturally talented, who were dismissed as “boffins” or just “boffs”.

What (printable) slang to you remember from your time at the school?

Adam discovered his love for languages when he learnt Turkish at the age of 28. He has gone on to learn several other languages to varying degrees of fluency and has recently taught himself Italian. Keeno.

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