I remember while growing up, my parents made a habit of correcting my grammar. I thought what a pain they were constantly fixing the smallest of mistakes. Looking back, it stuck with me as I grew older, and was a benefit rather than a detriment when I had job interviews or simply just functioning at a higher level in conversations.
Here’s where the lines become blurred. I could teach a master class in confusion about words and how they are used today and what they really mean. I certainly don’t want to be one of those parents who uses phrases like “kids today” or start to pick apart the things they say and do. After all, we had our own language growing up, listened to music our parents hated, and dressed in some questionable bell bottom jeans and fringe jackets. I can remember my mom coming into my room and asking me to “turn that music down.” When I replied “Mom I’m listening to The Eagles – the greatest band ever,” I was told, “well stop listening to that over and over again they won’t be around in a year.” We all know how that prediction turned out!
Grammar today is on a different level. Is it because we communicate mostly through smart phones instead of lifting our heads and facing the real world and actually using our voices? Have emojis become the only way we can express ourselves and deploy humor and sadness? Being the parent of a 20-year old, I have been introduced to a language I can only describe as from Star Trek, or Mork and Mindy?
Words are shortened, abbreviations are center stage and to really complete the puzzle, words don’t mean what you think they mean. When I talk with my daughter or hear her talking to her friends, I often times want to stop the conversation and ask if she is saying something obscene. What did she just say? Does that mean what I think it means? I feel I have literally stepped back in time and have become my mom and am stuck in a time warp where I am on the outside looking in. Because I want to be a “cool mom,” I decided to ask my daughter to explain some of the words. Take notes dear parents. At the very least, there is humor in the language and its current meanings, and more importantly, this will enable you to understand what your kids are talking about. Enjoy the quiz:
PURRR – this is the sound cats make right?
TRANSLATION: When someone tells you something good and you are happy about it “purrrr” is the response. In other words perfect or great.
PERIOD – OK so this could be the ending of a sentence you have written or a menstrual cycle.
TRANSLATION: A person tells you something, you agree with them and add commentary. “Period” is the response.
VIBE: I think we all probably understand this one. But in today’s language it means “chillin.”
MOMENT: You see two people having a picnic on the beach with candles all around… your comment “moment.” Not sure why we cant use a whole sentence to convey our feelings.
FIT: You are getting dressed to attend an event and your spouse turns to you and says “your fit!” My initial reaction is to say “what – I am in good shape?” “You like my fit bit?” Not sure why we can’t just say “I love your outfit” – but maybe it’s just too much effort?
MERCH: “This merch I got from the store is awesome.” Ok so I find the word “merchandise” too much to say in that sentence, but why the abbreviation? “The clothes I bought.”
L.O.L: Just when you thought you were using this one correctly, you are not! When you say the periods after each letter it means you are really excited about something – in other words it is emphasized.
PERF: I guess it is just too taxing to say “perfect.”
BET: You ask someone to eat six slices of pizza or maybe even a bug. “Bet” is the response meaning challenge accepted.
LIT: My thought here is that the candle or the fireplace has been ignited? But no… when something is awesome or cool it is “lit.”
DEAD: Shouldn’t this one be obvious? After all dead is dead right? Think again. Current meaning is when someone tells you something really funny your response is “dead” or “I am so dead.”
The truth is I could go on and on with the language barrier and even expand into emojis. It’s the world we live in. I am not trying to pick on Millennials or Gen Z. Let’s face it baby boomers and Gen X’ers, we had our own language too and our parents were just as confused as current parents are now. Here’s a reminder of what was cool then….
Rad, Groovy, Nifty, Funky, Bomb, Dork, Off the hook
Gnarly, Gag me with a spoon, Veg out, Wannabe, Totally, Rad (a carryover)
What slang do you remember from you formative years?
Honestly, looking at all the lists, the vibe might just be purr and the merch that made up the fit might have been totally off the hook and lit. In the end the best thing to do is live, laugh and love.
VOL. 112, NO. 19 - May 11, 2022