You’re watching The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air thinking to yourself, what the hell does dope even mean? You flip the channel to American Idol and here that one of the contestants bombed there audition and you’re thinking, wait… so did people die? And no, if someone gets dusted, they didn’t get felt up by a feather duster. Slang is an inevitable part of English, or any other language. I am here to guide you through the labyrinth of words that makes up the day-to-day language of English because let’s be honest, knowing the meaning of vernacular and triskaidekaphobia isn’t going to get you anywhere on the streets of Brooklyn. And since you just got back from googling what vernacular and triskaidekaphobia means, welcome back and let’s start with some general tips shall we?
1. Don’t try and use words that you don’t know the meaning of. You’ll just make a fool of yourself by mixing up shawg and shag and then you’ll forever be labelled as the poser who tries too hard. And to clarify… shawg is a portmanteau of shit and dawg and shag is to have sex. And a portmanteau is two words meshed together.
2. Use them in moderation.
Y’all best be joshin’ is not an appropriate sentence. Although it dooooes sorta sound like something that I would say, it’s not cool unless you really own what you’re saying but for that to work other people sorta need to understand what you’re saying. And awkwardly laughing while they’re thinking to themselves “okay so what is this person trying to say?” does not count as understanding. So use a moderate amount of slang in every sentence. And remember… you’re not a member of The Crips so stop trying to be.
3. Slang is like fashion, trends change.
If you think that Slammin’ is still in, then i’m sorry to say you’re stuck in the 90’s and you should stop listening to the Spice Girls and the Backstreet Boys. Okay I take that back… continue listening to the Spice Girls and the Backstreet Boys but change your language.
4. Slang is only as cool as you make it.
We all know that slang takes swag to execute. And as much as I hate using the word swag since it’s somewhat recent viral status, it describes this quite perfectly. Slang is pointless if you don’t say it with a certain twang and ring in your voice.
5. Native speakers don’t care about grammar.
Native speakers don’t learn rules about when to learn who and when to use whom, they just go by what sounds right and so whom is never used. Of course you shouldn’t start using incorrect grammar excessively or god forbid in essays or something but let’s just say that you shouldn’t correct yourself when you accidentally say “good” as a response to “how are you doing?” as opposed to the correct “well.” Slang is the same way. Grammar rules don’t apply when using slang. Use the future tense as if it were the present and make something plural even though it’s impossible. Pretty much… there are no rules of slang. (Except for the ones i’m outlining to you right now of course)
6. Slang is individual.
The whole point of using slang is to be cool, eh? Well you can’t be cool by just stealing other peoples words all the time! Mix it up and make your own slang. Invent words, bring back words that have died or just overuse some of your favorite words until they end up your signature phrase or something.
I have been known over the years for having a robust vault of slang. Language is something that defines you, and your word choice could reveal many things about your personality. If you catch someone using words like queen and twink then chances are they’re on the down low or just plain gay. And no I don’t mean gay as in a synonym for weird and stupid which has been recently exploited and is on the list of forbidden slang, I mean gay as in homosexual. So back to my notorious language, I think that having your own language is an essential part of everyones personality. I tend to make up my own words or phrases that are easy to understand but are just quirky and unique enough to be be noticeable. I have made a list of some of the words that I like to say most but you’ll have to wait for part 2 for those. So until then, adios bitches!