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Monday, July 12, 2010

Current Slang

So, one of the most common questions for authors of Young Adult literature, especially Contemporary Realistic like Handcuffs, is how do you sound like a teen?
The answer is NOT slang. Okay, some slang works for establishing certain characters and their speech patterns, but I'll admit there's a bit of slang in Handcuffs that actually makes me cringe and hide from the book, and I use any type of slang very sparingly.
But I do find slang FASCINATING. Because it's part of language, and how language changes is so...have I said fascinating? Yeah.
I also find some of it annoying. Here are some of the slang phrases that I hear constantly. Remember that I'm in middle America...the northernmost part of the south and the easternmost part of the midwest, so what one hears in other places may be very different.

Gotcha- as a teacher I hear this all the time, said in a good natured way, to indicate, I understand.

I know, right? I think I first heard this one on Juno, but I could've missed some other pop culture reference. I really can't say this with the right intonation, so I don't use it irl or online.

It is what it is - Meaning this is the way things are, or accept it, or some variation of that. I really hate this one because it seems very meaningless to me.
I haven't heard any words for cool that are newer than Sick (which I had heard on the internet 5 years ago, but hadn't noticed irl until 2 years ago.
What slang words are you guys hearing?

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Blogger Nomes (inkcrush) said...

I love slang! Funny, being Australian, I haven't heard any of those - and often I don't recognise I'm using slang until a non-Aussie points out my "cute phrases".

as for teenage slang here? wicked, mad cool, epic, awesome, and absolutely are still going pretty strong.

plus, weirdly, teenagers say 'you bast*rd' as a playful compliment. what is that? I was talking to some teens about it and it's a cool word now, I still think of it as swearing though. Showing my age :)

-- hope I didn't pollute your comments... :)

July 12, 2010 at 7:56 AM  
Blogger bethany said...

oh no, those are good there are none that I've never heard, but some that I don't hear that much...I do hear epic quite a bit here, but more in line with epic fail.

I think with the internet that slang will become more globalized, but maybe not.

I think I can figure out slang from other English speaking places by context, but sometimes the different usage of verbs/ different nouns, and unfamiliar product names is what can feel really confusing. I LOVE hearing slang from other countries!

July 12, 2010 at 8:11 AM  
Blogger bethany said...

Oh, I thought of another one, Ridiculous! We say ridiculous all the time, like you are ridiculous! Or I am ridiculously tired.

July 12, 2010 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger elissa said...

As a teacher, I do hear a lot of slang (yeah, kids here do say "epic"--with or without fail, haha)...and I'm MUCH more likely to use slang online (FTW! IKR? LOL!)than in real life. In writing, I hesitate to use it because it always sounds forced, and I know quite a few excellent YA books that make me feel awkward when reading them with my students because the slang makes them feel so dated so fast.

(that said, I'm pretty sure Anna or Kat says "I know, right?" in KtMS, but in real life I personally kind of roll my eyes when someone says it.)

July 12, 2010 at 8:34 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

South African slang pulls from a bunch of languages, so you'll have stuff that comes from afrikaans, zulu, sotho, yiddish and so on.

sharp-sharp means pretty cool, or you're just agreeing with someone. (sometimes cause you want them to bugger off)

ja-nee (lit: yes-no) means nothing, I mean you just say it to say it. also similar to ja-well-no-fine

bagel - basically a metrosexual with a certain sandton accent.

just-now - in sometime in the foreseeable future

now-now - a bit sooner than just-now

kif - cool

there's tons but yeah, i wouldn't try write a novel with much SA slang because no-one would know what the hell was going on.

July 12, 2010 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger bethany said...

But it sounds sooooo cool, Cat!

I do love non-American slang...

July 12, 2010 at 9:18 AM  
Blogger bethany said...

Elissa, I agree! Some things feel so dated so fast. Though if one random character says something, then it just feels like part of their voice, maybe.

Also, have you heard the Gotcha thing? I hear it, like, every day. Do this page, Gotcha! The meeting is moved till tomorrow, Gotcha!

July 12, 2010 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger bethany said...

Note, I never use lol, even online. :)

July 12, 2010 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

i totes abuse lol, i've been known to say it in rl (much to my own shame)

July 12, 2010 at 9:53 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

There are a couple of phrases that seem to have some staying power among my own teens and their friends.

1. As cited already the "I know, right?"
2. Yeahhhh no. As in "I hear you you, but definitely not."
3. My son and his friends use the term "roasted" as in Man, you just got roasted (disrespected, put in your place)

In my real life, I've noticed that I use numbers one and two and only use number three when I want to annoy my son.

July 12, 2010 at 12:03 PM  
Blogger elissa said...

bethany, I've never heard the Gotcha! thing. I mean, certainly from time to time, but not enough to notice it as a thing.

As I was driving today, I remembered something that my students say a lot right now is "Smarticles" to indicate intelligence. and I use lol all the time.

July 12, 2010 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger Nomes (inkcrush) said...

I love this slang thread. so weird to imagine no on over there is going around saying absolutely ALL DAY LONG :) people here say it all the time while listening to convos, and as a reply to anything: 'it's going to be hot today' - 'absolutely'. 'I hope the blues win' 'absolutely'. etc, etc.

also, everyone says: that's gold! when something is funny, or a sporting team scores an awesome goal. Do you guys say that? I cant imagine a world where people aren't saying Thats Gold! :)

anyway, got to get off here and back to your book :) Only 40 pages to go (had to stop to get kids in bed etc...) I am really into it - love it. definitely my kind of book and a fave read of the year :)


July 13, 2010 at 4:48 AM  
Blogger bethany said...

I do hear absolutely, maybe not as much as you're reporting, but I hear it on occasion (and might say it because woo, big word!) but have never heard that's gold!

Glad you're liking Handcuffs!

July 13, 2010 at 7:17 AM  
Blogger grace said...

of things posted here, I use:

I know, right?
Yeahhhh no.

like, all the time.

my brother (19 yrs) uses "epic" and "epic fail" or just plain "FAIL" or "something+fail" what seems like constantly lol.

oh and I guess I use lol too, but only online and infrequently.

July 15, 2010 at 6:16 AM  
Blogger Horserider said...

Sorry I'm late. :D

Epic, fail, epic fail, made of win, and for the win are my favorites. I use "I know, right?" and I blame that one on my cousin because she uses it. I also use "Yeahhh no" once in awhile, but not that often.

July 15, 2010 at 8:14 PM  

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