Monday, April 29, 2013

Just My Thoughts: Slang of Today

Today, slang is a huge part of American society.

We say slang all the time and we don't even know it.  Some slang words include...

epic, like, boss, awesome, cool

And I'm wondering.  What if someone, say a Martian, came and didn't know about slang (but knew English).  What would it think?

The word 'epic.'  That word started going on and on and on. 

Our definition? 

(adj) Totally amazingly awesomely magnificently GREAT

"The Lord of the Rings was pretty epic."


According to dictionary.com, the correct definition of 'epic' (adjective form) is....

1.
noting or pertaining to a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style: Homer's Iliad is an epic poem.
2.
resembling or suggesting such poetry: an epic novel on the founding of the country.
3.
heroic; majestic; impressively great: the epic events of the war.
4.
of unusually great size or extent: a crime wave of epic proportions.


Translation?  A poem.  Like Homer's Iliad.

Or take #2.  "Resembling or suggesting such poetry."  "In comparison to the Iliad."

Do kids nowadays know what the Iliad is? 

Take #3.  Heroic, majestic, impossibly great.

"The Lord of the Rings was pretty heroic, majestic, impossibly great."

That fits more of the definition, but while The Lord of the Rings movie was good (and this is coming from a person who hasn't seen it), is it truly heroic?  In a sense of being grand, not in a cheap way, but being powerful, majestic, impossibly amazing?  Like soldiers in a war?  Like a person who sacrifices for another?  Is The Lord of the Rings really, to that extent, epic?  It's a book that involves sacrifice and truths about life.  But it's a book: meant to entertain and occupy us.

#4.  Huge, ginormous, enormous, large. 

That's Epic.

Then the whole problem of like.  Nowadays NO people know how to say like properly, and they don't even know when they're saying it wrong. 

Dictionary.com says...

Well, first of all, like can be an adjective, adverb, conjunction, preposition, noun, verb, and interjection. 

But in this case, I chose the verb part, because that's what I believe the most common usage is.


1.

to take pleasure in; find agreeable or congenial: We all liked the concert.
2.
to regard with favor; have a kindly or friendly feeling for (a person, group, etc.); find attractive: His parents like me and I like them.
3.
to wish or prefer: You can do exactly as you like while you are a guest here.
 

"The Lord of the Rings was, like, the best movie ever."
 
#1: Find favorable.  The Lord of the Rings was found favorable the best movie ever.
 
Doesn't make any sense.
 
#2: To have a fondness/friendly feeling for someone else.  The Lord of the Rings was likeable the best movie ever.
 
Doesn't make any sense.
 
#3: To want.  The Lord of the Rings was to want the best movie ever.
 
That's the two for today, folks.  But have you heard others use the phrase "like a boss"?  Or "awesome"?  Or "cool"? 

With that said, what about "legit" or "stinkin' awesome"?

Or "sucks" or "stinks"?  Or "phat" (don't even ask me where that came from)?  "Hip"?  Since when did a body part turn into a major slang word?  ("That magazine is seriously hip")  I never thought that magazines resembled hips.

I wonder how this all began.

And take the slang of yesteryear.  When "far out" and "groovy" were the new in thing (there I go; in thing?).  I think cool has been the universal.  Except in the thirties.  In the thirties they used phrases like "jeepers" and stuff (urgggh...).  BTW, I got the "jeepers" thing from this really weird Nancy Drew book...

Or the whole opposite-meaning thing.  My mom told me that they sometimes used "bad" in place of "good."

Like (slang alert), "The Lord of the Rings was baaaaad."


And this gets me thinking: what's going to be the slang of the future?  I mean, how has cool got to be one of the most used slang words?  It means cold, or not warm.  What about "like"?  It means being friendly, or finding something favorable.  Now it's a filler word. 

Just think of it.  Twenty years from now my kids could be saying something like "stumpy" or "rattish" or "waggly" in place of cool and awesome.  "Dude, Lord of the Rings is seriously waggly."

I think I'll stick with "cool."


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