There was a piece on the Radio 4 Today programme last week (listen again for a couple more days here - scroll down to 07:38) about the Mass Observation project, that was begun in the 1930s, and that set out to observe the conversation of ordinary people in Britain in order to understand them better. Volunteer correspondents were asked to report on all sorts of things - people's behaviour at war memorials, gestures made by motorists, bathroom behaviour and such like.
The questions asked by the correspondents are as revealing about the 1930s as the answers. One fascinating area was people's attitudes to different words, and how these were regarded as class markers. For instance one question asked whether people used certain words, and if not, what did they think when others used them. The words included cheerio, okey-dokey, toodle-oo, not half, old boy, chum, pal, ta and mate. A 47-year-old male park-keeper replied that he felt uneasy if addressed as pal, chum or old boy as he felt the other person was talking down to him.