Do any of these apply to you?
___I have a teenage child or children living at home;
___I have to interact regularly with teenagers as part of my job;
___I sometimes see or speak with teenagers in public;
If you answered yes to any one or more of these, then you have probably found yourself in the unenviable position of having not the faintest clue as to what they are saying, their words falling like a foreign language out of their mouths, and Google Translate unable to assist.
Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone have done much to make learning a foreign language easier and more accessible to us huddled masses yearning for knowledge.
Travelling to Paris next year? They have a program for that.
Need to learn Spanish to more effectively communicate with customers? They make it easy.
Do you want to learn Mandarin to impress your friends while dining out? No problem.
Do you need to understand what your teenagers are saying? Uhhhhh…Well, you’re just S.O.L.
I mean, this is nothing new. You had your own “language” when you were growing up too. Consider, for example, these gems from the era of my youth—the 1980’s:
For sure certainly
totally all the way; absolutely
far out weird
barf me out suggesting something is unappealing
gag me (with or without a spoon) same as barf me out, but more flexible in its usage
gnarly bad; unfortunate
what’s your damage? What’s wrong with you?
Like No real meaning; used to start EVERY sentence
grody (grody to the max) gross, ugly, nasty, or any other way unappealing
bag your face put a bag over your head; indicates extreme lack of appeal
To understand why teenagers of any era adopt the language they adopt, one has only to review the predominant cultural and social habits of their time. In the above example, it is safe to say that millions of teens spoke in the above referenced idioms because of TWO, count them, TWO movies from the early 1980’s….Valley Girl, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Let’s not even get into the impact those movies had on the fashions of the day.
If you don’t think a simple movie can impact culture for years, you are sorely mistaken. Like, totally, for sure, mistaken.
So anyway…one day I grew up and had kids. And I had to learn a third language (English being my first, and Valley Speak being my second). I thought I’d help you out a little, because it’s how I do….I’m a giver.
Next time you find yourself staring blankly into the face of a pimply faced adolescent, and wondering what the various sounds coming out of his brace-clad mouth might mean, consider this helpful guide. Feel free to print and cut out to carry with you.
Because, you know, Google translate totally doesn’t recognize Teenspeak.
Whatevs—shortened form of whatever; used to denote indecision, as in “What do you want to do tonight?” “I dunno…Whatevs”. May also indicate denial of a situation, as in “You know you have a big test to study for, Junior, so get studying…” “Whatevs, Dad…”
Boo—how one refers to their love (boyfriend/girlfriend); “I’m going to prom with my Boo…”
B–boyfriend, as in “I’m going out with my B”
G-girlfriend, see above
Rachet—lewd, rude, or obnoxious; or a girl that thinks she’s “all that and a bag o’ chips”
Kick it—to hang out. “I’m gonna kick it tonight with my homies”
Crunk—drunk. Are you gonnna get crunk tonight? A bastardization of the term “cranked up”
SMH—from the oft lazy world of texting, means shaking my head
Sick-used to denote awesomeness; “that party was sick!”
Sup—lazy for “what’s up?”
Cray-Cray—crazy; Cray may also be used
Swag/Swaggy—means being or having something cool; from swagger
LOL-laughing out loud
OMG—Oh my god (or gosh)
Talking—today’s version of dating or going steady; as in “are you and Heather still talking?”
IJS-I’m just sayin’
IDK-I don’t know
Prolly-the sort (read: lazy) form of probably
KK—used in place of OK; means the same thing, but intends to put more emphasis on actually being OK
Yolo-You Only Live Once
Hashtag—used to denote emphasis. Used to only be used in written format on electronic forums, such as twitter, but has now made its way into verbal use as well as in “I’m living that hashtag (#)YOLO lifestyle”
The origins of today’s teenspeak are also based in the predominant social happenings of their day. Primarily, rap music and texting. While many of us hoped that the Ebonics popularized by the rap music scene in the 1990’s would fade into the past, it thus far has not done so. Po-po, cray cray, crunk and swag are some examples. Many of the others are the result of texting. Looking for ever shorter ways of abbreviating words and sentences, due to both laziness and an effort to avoid carpal tunnel thumbs, the use of acronyms has exploded exponentially. KWIM? (know what mean?)
Not much we can do but let it all pass, and hope they grow up fluent in actual English. For now, I’ll just sit back, chillaxing, SMH and MMOB.
As I have mentioned before, my house is the gathering spot for half a dozen or so teens, my son’s friends. They descend on my kitchen like a plague of locusts, eating anything before them that was once part of nature. And sometimes things that weren’t (I’m pretty sure there is nothing natural in a Mallomar ).
But of all the food they inhale in my house, the thing that they like the most, and ask for routinely, is Salty Wings. Now, I would call Salty Wings “those chicken wings that I WAYYYY overseasoned that time”, but apparently that translates in Teenspeak to Salty Wings.
I do have to admit, when you just want one of those salty fried food fixes, there is really nothing better. Hope you enjoy them.
PS–You should prolly serve them with something green that once grew in the ground….You know, to healthify them a little.
Salty Wings serves 2 hungry teen boys, or 4 normal people
- 3 pounds chicken wings and drumettes
- 4 cups rice flour or brown rice flour
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 3 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 6 beaten eggs
- Oil for frying
To prepare your workspace, place a cookie/baking cooling rack over each of two baking pans lined with newspaper.
Rinse chicken and pat excess water off. Mix all of the dry ingredients together well. Toss all of the chicken in the flour mixture, and shake off any excess. Place chicken on one of the cooling racks (leaving the other clean). Dip the chicken a few pieces at a time into the beaten egg, and then again into the flour mixture. Shake off excess, and place back on the same rack it came from. Repeat with all of the chicken.
Now, begin to heat your oil (either a deep fryer, or several inches deep in a large pot)…to 375*
While it heats up, the chicken may start to look a little wet…This is fine—good even…. When the oil has come to temperature and you are ready to fry the chicken, give it one more toss in the flour, and shake off excess before frying for 12-15 minutes (until golden brown). Remove chicken to the CLEAN cooling rack, and try not to let the pieces touch while they drain.
Repeat with all of the chicken and serve immediately while hot and crunchy…