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The Slang Generation Checkup

A discussion of slang and the changes it undergoes.

Postby azhdragon » Thu Oct 19, 2006 7:43 pm

As someone else commented, slang is not only generational, it's also geographical.

The slang test pegged me as 60s, but I was a child in the 60s, and a teen in the 70s. However, I live in Australia, and slang moved much more slowly across cultures then than it does now.


Azh
(still wrestling with the novel)
Cogito ergo ... quid sequitur?
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Postby Palewriter » Thu Oct 19, 2006 9:48 pm

azhdragon wrote:As someone else commented, slang is not only generational, it's also geographical.

The slang test pegged me as 60s, but I was a child in the 60s, and a teen in the 70s. However, I live in Australia, and slang moved much more slowly across cultures then than it does now.


Azh
(still wrestling with the novel)


Right. It's also dependent on social standing and, to some extent, even political viewpoint. The word "lackey", for example, conjures up all kinds of political baggage from the 60s. Not to mention "honky".

My English friends back in the fifties would cheerfully ask me if I had a fag. My American high-school comrades (oops, another one) certainly wouldn't. "Spiffing" is a word that immediately smacks of English boarding schools, while "boss" conjures up a totally different environment.

I had some Australian buddies back in the early 70s, to whom anything good was either "bonza" or "bollix". Don't know if Strine has moved on or not.

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Postby azhdragon » Thu Oct 19, 2006 10:10 pm

My English friends back in the fifties would cheerfully ask me if I had a fag. My American high-school comrades (oops, another one) certainly wouldn't.


Oh yes, one can still certainly "bum a fag" here in Aus, though in some circles it'll garner a snigger or two.

Asking an American friend if they could lend you a "rubber" is another amusing one. Here it means an eraser, such as you might use to remove extraneous lines or words from a drawing or piece or writing. It also applies to the felt blocks used to clean blackboards.

Telling someone that when I was at school I was kept back as a punishment and made to clean rubbers for the teacher is certainly an eye-opener.

The felt "rubbers" were also known as "dusters". Imagine my surprise when I found out that in the US, a duster is a coat.

I had some Australian buddies back in the early 70s, to whom anything good was either "bonza" or "bollix". Don't know if Strine has moved on or not.


That's "bollocks". And yes, things are generally still "bonza" or "bollocks", though the younger generation (late teens) are less inclined to use these words, but they still know what they mean. "Beaut", or "Bewdy" is another one, more common in those in their 40s and older, but still holding their own.

Azh.
Cogito ergo ... quid sequitur?
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Postby Bailey » Fri Oct 20, 2006 12:20 am

Azh, how does the US as you saw it recently, compare with Australia now, in regards to slang? anything surprising?

mark got-quite-a-laugh-from-my-Aussie-friends-when I described-myself-as-stuffed-following a-large-meal Bailey

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Postby azhdragon » Fri Oct 20, 2006 7:01 am

Bailey wrote:Azh, how does the US as you saw it recently, compare with Australia now, in regards to slang? anything surprising?

mark got-quite-a-laugh-from-my-Aussie-friends-when I described-myself-as-stuffed-following a-large-meal Bailey


During my stay in the Napa Valley, I heard very little slang that I was not already familiar with. This time around I also spent relatively fewer hours watching tv, and more time writing. I spent my days mostly waking up at 7am, writing for a few hours, taking a short break to bird watch, a little more writing, then catching the bus into town and walking about taking photos, followed by a short interlude drinking coffee and doing research upstairs in a bookshop, then going home with my daughter, making dinner, and spending the evening with her sort-of watching tv, chatting, and just generally hanging out, till her husband came home close to midnight and drove me back out to the RV park on the outer outer edge of town.

This, I have decided, is bliss for a writer. I added some 20,000 plus words to my novel in 4 weeks. I wish I was there now, still following the same routine.

My only regret is that my daughter wouldn't allow me to go to the local police station and see if I could arrange to speak with a LEO to tidy up a few procedural matters I was dealing with in the writing.

My stay in Florida was likewise devoid of local slang - though I realised it was time for me to come home, when it stopped looking *wrong* to see cars driving on the right side of the road, and when I found myself using words like "lobby", "soda", and the like.

:-)

As for "stuffed", it is used in the context of "full of", but more generally here it's used in the context of something being damaged, mixed up, messed up, or generally FUBAR.

Azh
(who always liked the quietly genteel maiden aunt who claimed that she was "full up to kitty's bow", whenever she'd had an elegant sufficiency at the dinner table.)
Cogito ergo ... quid sequitur?
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Postby Bailey » Fri Oct 20, 2006 11:17 am

azhdragon wrote:As for "stuffed", it is used in the context of "full of", but more generally here it's used in the context of something being damaged, mixed up, messed up, or generally FUBAR.

Azh
(who always liked the quietly genteel maiden aunt who claimed that she was "full up to kitty's bow", whenever she'd had an elegant sufficiency at the dinner table.)

As a general rule of thumb, you might not want to use the cat reference in the States, and in the movies from Down Under 'stuffed' is usually used like the first word in fubar, here.

mark have-always-loved-the-differences-in-slang-amongst-our-English-speaking-brothers Bailey

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Postby azhdragon » Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:21 am

Bailey wrote:As a general rule of thumb, you might not want to use the cat reference in the States, and in the movies from Down Under 'stuffed' is usually used like the first word in fubar, here.

mark have-always-loved-the-differences-in-slang-amongst-our-English-speaking-brothers Bailey


"stuffed" is a relatively mild euphemism for something messed up here. I could easily say to my mother that I'd stuffed something up, or been to the local equivalent of Social Security and got "stuffed around", or that I'd spent the afternoon "stuffing around" and she'd know I'd mean that I didn't achieve much.

similarly with the word "b ugger" (not sure how aggressive the autocensor is on this BBsoftware, so I'm being careful). Here it's a very very mild expletive, one that's permitted for use on broadcast tv in prime time (example, the car ad which uses it). Referring to a male friend or relative as "a daft old bu gger" would not be considered anything more than an sentimental expression of his admirable good nature, and would certainly not be considered as a commentary on his sexual predilections.

Azh
who has occasionally been accused of being a daft bugger, himself.
Cogito ergo ... quid sequitur?
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Postby sluggo » Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:53 pm

Here's a new one I heard for the first time today:

"Well cut off my legs and call me 'Shorty'!"

-I think it's something along the lines of "who knew?" but not sure. Anyone ever heard this one? Where?
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Postby skinem » Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:10 pm

Heard it before--can't remember where, but I've heard it a couple of times over the years.

You're right--"who knew"?
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Postby sluggo » Mon Oct 30, 2006 4:45 pm

skinem wrote:Heard it before--can't remember where, but I've heard it a couple of times over the years.

You're right--"who knew"?


or: Well, I'll be switched (?)
How many nonSoutherners know what a "switch" is? Who knoweth the derivation?
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Postby skinem » Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:04 pm

The "derivation" at my house was the forsythia bush in the front yard...
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Postby gailr » Mon Oct 30, 2006 9:20 pm

sluggo wrote:How many nonSoutherners know what a "switch" is? Who knoweth the derivation?

Bonus corporal punishment points for being sent to cut your own.
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Postby skinem » Tue Oct 31, 2006 12:51 pm

I guess I got bonus points then. I remember trying to struggle to pick just the right one--one that wouldn't hurt too much but not cause mom to send me out for another one, or worse, get her own!

Skinem (whose mother was no "mommy dearest", but rather "dearest mom".)
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Postby skinem » Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:40 pm

sluggo wrote:"Well cut off my legs and call me 'Shorty'!"


Thought of this today when I heard for the first time "Well, beat me senseless and call me Happy!" :D

Why the propensity towards violence here?
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Postby Palewriter » Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:54 pm


Thought of this today when I heard for the first time "Well, beat me senseless and call me Happy!" :D

Why the propensity towards violence here?


Probably part of the run-up to the mid-term elections.

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