Fox says trying to preserve the language is like trying to nail down water — it is always evolving.
"It has never been this pure linguistic variety," she said. "It is constantly in flux."
The area has changed, too, with long-term residents voicing the common big-city complaints about atomization and anonymity.
"I can walk down this road — I've lived here 60 years — and I wouldn't know anyone," said John Proud, a lifelong East Ender. "It's the way of the world."
EAST END ENDURANCE
But don't count the Cockneys out just yet. This is a community that's proud of its resilience. East Enders, after all, withstood the bulk of wartime bombing and personify Britain's "Blitz Spirit."
"We're pretty robust," said Vicky Groves, the 32-year-old Pearly Queen of Bow, an east London neighborhood. "Keep your chin up, keep on, muddle through."
And the ever-evolving Cockney language endures. A curry used to be widely known as a "ruby," short for Ruby Murray, a 1950s singer. The dish now has started to be known as an "Andy," after the tennis player.
A TV ad for potato chips bills it as the perfect snack "for when you're Hank Marvin" — or starvin'.
"I'm very proud to be a Cockney," said Groves, who has married into a family that boasts four generations of Pearly Kings and Queens. "It's where I'm from. It's who I am."
She hopes to share that culture with the world during the Summer Games.
"All eyes are on London," she said. "I think it's great to be able to say, we've got traditions that go back hundreds of years."
Jill Lawless can be reached at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless
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