Tuesday, February 15, 2011
The slang of the day
Think about it. Each generation has their own slang vocabulary that they use to communicate with each other. In the sixties, they used phrases like, "right on" and "groovy". There are corporate buzzwords as well. I am not "in the know" (that used to be one) about popular workplace banter now, because I stay at home, but back in the day (five thousand years ago when Barney Rubble was in the cubicle next to me) the words "cue" and "I'm gonna have to put a note in your file for that one." were commonplace.
My tennis partner, we'll call her "Christina" is big on buzzwords of the day. She also creates her own, which I admire. We play tennis together in the summer and she usually has a fresh slang vocabulary that I look forward to each year. One year it was "bugga" - she used this when she hit the ball into the net and it is derived from English slang meaning "Dammit" I think. To my knowledge, she is Italian, but whatever Mate. "Really, Really Christina" was big last summer, too.
This phenomenon was brought to my attention when my friend "Angela" came to visit from Texas last summer. We were on my deck which I fashion into an Outdoor Oasis, designed specifically for Happy Hour. She remarked that she hated that everyone says, "Really, I mean REALLY" all the time in her social circle. Slang, like fashion, hits later in Columbus than Dallas so I just pretended that I knew what she was talking about and made a mental note to start saying "REALLY" all of the time.
You might also notice that what one generation might say, another generation wouldn't be caught DEAD saying. And the second an older generation starts saying a slang the younger generation says, the younger generation abruptly stops because that slang is not "cool" anymore. For instance, before my generation was text savvy, younger people who had already adopted texting, started using it's abbreviations in casual conversations. BTW, LOL, LMAO were all confounding to us and now we use them on a regular basis.
My three daughters were in the bathtub the other day, and my middle daughter exclaimed that she had come up with a new word she was going to start using. The new word combines "cool" and "awesome". It is "coolsome". She went on, "as in my boobs are really coolsome." Of course my six-year-old does not have breasts (not with my genes she doesn't) but it got me to thinking. How can I make money off of this genius slang word that my daughter has just created?
I heard the word "complisult" the other day. It refers to when a passive-aggressive person gives you a compliment with a veiled insult attached. A complisult might be, "Oh, you are such a laid back mother, I could NEVER let my child wear her pajamas to the grocery, especially mid-afternoon. Good for you, for not caring what people think."
Since society tends to recycle everything now - Potterybarn recycles past furniture trends (just with crappy particle board), fashion is cyclical, and history certainly repeats itself - why don't we recycle language?
My father uses the word "dingleberry" and my kids (who find him hilarious) call him this all of the time. They also call him Martin, who is a servant on some movie they watched together. This made him mad after a while and he promptly told the to stop. They just erupted in laughter.
Anyway, today's lesson is to challenge yourself to create a new slang word and use it in casual conversation to see if it catches on. Mine is "nonsenseblog". I don't think I need to provide a definition, do I?