Susie Dent is familiar to us all as the resident word expert in Dictionary Corner on Channel 4’s Countdown and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. Noone is as well-placed to uncover the secret languages we all use.
Have you ever wondered why football managers all speak the same way, what a cabbie calls the Houses of Parliament, or how ticket inspectors discreetly request back-up? We are surrounded by hundreds of tribes, each speaking their own distinct slanguage of colourful words, jokes and phrases, honed through years of conversations on the battlefield, in A&E, backstage, or at ten-thousand feet in the air. Here, at last, is a witty guide through the linguistic minefields that confront us all.
Susie Dent has spent years interviewing hundreds of professionals, hobbyists and enthusiasts; the result is an idiosyncratic phrasebook like no other. From the Freemason’s handshake to the publican’s banter, Dent’s Modern Tribes takes us on a whirlwind tour of Britain, revealing its secret languages and finding out in the process what really makes us tick.