Education: Undergragger Talk

In one sense, Oxonian Morris Marples had noted, English university students were no different from thieves, gangsters, soldiers, sailors, tramps, showmen, costers, churchmen or lawyers. Whatever century they lived in, they were apt to speak a language all their own.

The language so fascinated him that, in his spare time, Headmaster Marples of Wolstanton Grammar School at Newcastle under Lyme has been jotting down campus words and finding out how they came to be. Last week Britons were chuckling over the result: a thin, bright little book entitled University Slang.

The Swot. "Slang," decides Marples, "is a form of youthful ebullience," and nothing,...