Thoughts on The Ever-Evolving Nature of Casual Language
“Sup homes, I totes wanted that chick, but she wants your nuts and it sucks major ass! I dug her first, fo real.” Ahem. Yes, this sentence does make sense to about 99 percent of you. Is this a bad thing, or are the times just changing? These days, language is about as casual as any of us could have imagined.
Even my ancient father has caught on to text messaging, and I still am not over the very first “Wr r u?” sent to me from my dad. Even my boss at one of my internships picks up the phone with a “Hey, girlfriend!” I don’t think even the most eloquent person can refrain from spitting out phrases like “obvi” for obvious, “ridic” for ridiculous or “whatevs” for whatever. I suppose some of us say them without thinking twice, and people like myself still express a puzzled look and ask ourselves, “Did I seriously just say that?” after uttering one of these shortened words.
We even shorten class names, such as “sosh,” which is short for sociology. “Psych” stands for psychology, and “poli sci” covers political science. Is this shift over the past few generations indicative of laziness, or is it as commonplace as reality TV? I almost feel that if people actually spoke proper English they would be the odd man out. Do you even know anyone who speaks entire words and uses proper grammar, along with correct punctuation? Even in text messages? Oh, my!
This leads me to wonder, when did this sort of slang become so common? It has surely always been used, but not with such frequency. My personal theory is that we are on a permanent time crunch and everything, even language, needs to be shortened to fit our fast-paced lifestyles: fast food, fast mail, fast cars, fast quarter systems and fast talk. I can find slang words from the ’60s that we still use today, but this word-shortening and Internet-speak is a new occurrence. Back in the ’60s they said phrases we still hear today, such as: woody, wig out, wedgie, stuck up, stoned, stoked, square, spaz, slut, screwed up, raunchy, make out, later, decked out, cool, chick and badass. I am sure that many of the slang words of the ’60s were borrowed from the ’50s, and the ’50s borrowed from the ’40s and so on.
Slang originated in smaller communities and subcultures