Recently my sister and I played a fun game of “do kids still say…” with two teenaged cousins. Wait, did I say “fun”? I meant depressing.
I’m not yet thirty, but apparently I’m old enough. In a scant ten years, the lingo has changed. Apparently kids no longer used “taxed” for “steal”. Nor do they “teef” things. The words they do use these days have slipped right out of my head. The cool kids (are there still cool kids?) speak a language foreign enough that I can’t pick it up as easily these days.
Language has a shelf life, by the time it’s in print it may already be dead. So how does one keep current? For modern and regional slang, I’ve found UrbanDictionary.com to be a great help. Even in trying to understand my husband, who uses (now largely dated) English slang, which, after more than ten years, can still surprise me.
Perhaps Anthony Burgess had the right idea with A Clockwork Orange – invent your own slang, and go from there. It’s difficult to seem dated when no-one’s ever said what you’re saying.
Then again, a friend of my cousin’s seems to be a girl after my own heart. She actively looks up old, obsolete phrases and slang and uses that instead. I think that’s pretty nifty, because that’s what I did that in high school. Jeepers, I still do that.
Though I did learn how to snail, turkey, and jellyfish a few months ago. Maybe there’s hope for me yet?