TODAY | July 22, 2012
>>> more than a million extra tourists are expected in london for the olympic games . and while english is the official language , of course, here, a few things may be lost in translation . even for americans. nbc's chapman bell is here with more. a few things, chapman?
>> they say that the u.s. and uk are two nations divided by a common language . but you in certain parts of london that division runs a little bit deeper. you may hear people speaking english, but you won't have a clue what they're actually saying. confused? that's the whole point. just like in america, accents vary all across britain. there is the queen's english.
>> freedom and responsibility.
>> reporter: new castle. and from liverpool.
>> finds the back of the net.
>> reporter: if you're heading to the london olympics , you'll find yourself in cockney country. what is cockney? austin powers explains it. cockney is the accent of the east end . audrey hepburn 's character tried to lose hers in my fair lady .
>> they run in spain stays manly in the plain.
>> reporter: and dick van dyke tried one in mary poppins . but in real life , it is the pearly kings and queens of the east end that help keep this accent alive.
>> reporter: they are proper cockney. hard to understand? that's just the beginning.
>> around the jolly, into the battle cruiser through the pig's ear.
>> reporter: did you catch that? it is rockcockney running slang. which means, frog and toad , road. jolly horner, corner. battle cruiser , boozer. and you can have a pig's ear, a beer.
>> reporter: it seems this language was first used in the mid1800s at markets to confuse customers and the police. some know it.
>> if i said the dog and bone.
>> that's the phone.
>> lady ga divia, a fiver.
>> reporter: a trouble in strife would be -- i was able to stump one of the east end 's finest. the pig's ear, beer.
>> reporter: what rhymes with orange?
>> think you've got it. true cockney speakers would drop the rhyming part of the slang. instead of saying up the apples and pears, they'll say up the apples, which means up the stairs. answer the dog and bone, they'll say answer the dog, which is phone. so they -- it is all about deception.
>> thank you for explaining this. on more than one occasion, i've been huh. i think they think i'm hearing impaired. we should you let them know you are a london based correspondent and reporter here from the south. you picked up the english accent .
>> people get confused, but it is plain.