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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Column: You don’t own the language #getoverit

    I won’t ever forget the time I walked into a party and a guy standing next to me turned to his friend and yelled, “This party is so pregnant right now!”

    What does that even mean? Maybe the party was “bumpin’”? I don’t know, and I never will, but I rolled with it. Every day, I hear a few words that I’ve never heard before, but it’s educational, right? I’m expanding my vocabulary here! Currently, my favorite slang word is “salty.” It can be inserted into a sentence in place of “mad,” “pissed,” “angry” and the like. I have overused it in the last few months, and I’d like to extend an open apology to anyone who has been annoyed by it.

    Creating slang has always been a part of every generation’s youth culture, but I feel like the addition of memes and the Internet is causing our slang to take on a life of its own.

    The Huffington Post recently published an article titled, “Slang Words: What Are Young People Saying These Days?” and I didn’t even know some of the words they were defining for all the old fogies out there. Like “styll,” which apparently means to agree with someone. Definitely never heard that one before. And the green fungus “moss” is now also a synonym for relaxing. I guess I moss too much. But our generation must not be mossing enough to come up with that one.

    Not to buy into the media frenzy over millennials, but I gotta say: Millennials are absolutely ridiculous, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    My generation might be full of gangsters, hipsters and every other imaginable cliché or trend, but we all have one thing in common: Don’t tell us what to do. We have created our own style of speech to be unique, to set ourselves apart — and the last thing we need is someone telling us that we aren’t using words correctly.

    English is as English does. Move over, Shakespeare.

    Recently, Jill Shargaa gave a TED Talk in which she said that no one is using the word “awesome” correctly. Excuse me, the first day Starbucks begins to serve the pumpkin spice latte in October is just as awesome as great white sharks. It might be on a different scale, but both are pretty cool and extremely terrifying.

    Shargaa thinks we overuse the word “awesome” and that nothing we think is awesome is actually awe-inspiring. She said the Great Pyramids of Giza are awesome, while PowerPoints are not awesome. She created a list of examples of things she deems awesome and things she deems otherwise.

    But policing language like this amounts to policing people’s impressions. And moreover, it’s a way of demeaning one generation’s — our generation’s — ideas because they aren’t presented in “proper English.” When drawn out to its fullest implications, slang policing can be used to further racist ends. Some people may assume those who don’t speak “proper English” are stupid, may lock them out of educational institutions and subsequently equate “success” with speaking a culturally-stripped, boring, “proper” version of English.

    So when Shargaa started her talk with a dictionary definition of the word “awe,” it immediately turned me off.

    If English is to play the role of international lingua franca, we need to make room for variants. We should be celebrating the ingenuity, nuance and flavor that slang brings to language.

    Just because I didn’t physically dip a chip into a salsa or my toes into the ocean, doesn’t mean that I can’t dip out of the party early. So, let’s ignore the haters. Be young, be wild, ’cause YOLO, right?

    I may not be able to define every word I misuse, and I may be incapable of keeping up with every slang word out there, but I do know that “dgaf” is definitely going to top the skills list on my resume.


    Trey Ross is a journalism sophomore. Follow her on Twitter

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