Posts Tagged ‘slang’

SLANG. PART THREE

August 10, 2017

ESL lesson adv vocab school slang-2A geography teacher in Savannah, Ga (U.S.A.) gave his students a pop quiz on how they knew school slang of the past. The assignment was a Geography Jumpstart, probably not so much connected with geography proper, but teachers are always trying to find engaging ways to make it fun for students. One dialogue dating back to the 1990s was a street slang conversation between two “homeys” (=close friends):

“Yo, dog. I’m tired of getting punked by the popo for sportin’ my bling-bling. “ – “ True dat! You know they be trippin’ ‘cause our gear is da bomb. I mean all that and bag of chips with us.” Under the text a list of the slang idioms contained in it was given, and the students had to fill in a blank against each idiom with a corresponding “normal” word. Practically, all the students coped with the task: the 1990s were not distant past: yo – you, dog – man, punked – caught, popo – police, sportin’ – showing, bling-bling – jewelry, trippin’ – to overact or getting all bent out of shape over something small, gear – clothes; the bomb – something excellent, bag of chips – a friend (male/female) who “has it all” (is hot, athletic, has a sense of style and has a good personality).

The second dialog was from the 1980s. Only ten years “older”, the conversation was far less understood by the students. However, yours truly put his nose to the grind stone, looked up the slangy words in dictionaries, and here you are: the following text goes with the glossary.

“Like, do you see that barney over there? Can you believe that poser was even trying to talk to me? I mean, gag me with a spoon!” – “Like, for sure, what a dork! He’s like grodie to the max, and we are like bodacious babes. That’s like, really bogus.”

Like — with some teenage girls this word is spoken in between each word in a sentence; a barney – a despised person, socially awkward, boring, unstylish; a poser – who pretends to be someone he’s not; gag me with a spoon! – exclamation that describes displeasure on the part of the speaker due to something being distasteful or otherwise sickening; a dork – someone who has odd interests and who can be himself and not care what anyone thinks of him; grodie – nasty, gross, disgusting; bodacious – (predominantly used during the 1980s ) a combination of the words “bold” and “audacious.” To be bodacious is to be impressive, awesome, brave in action, remarkable, prodigious; bogus – unfortunate, unbelievable, opposite of “excellent.”

The above assignment happened to be uploaded on the Internet and went viral. Many parents said now they understood why American education was in such a dire state, they also said that their children should probably spend their class time doing something more useful and important. But there were also those who said the kids should get some “slang awareness.”

This morning I shared some articles on Facebook which show concern of both teachers and parents about how students speak. No secret that students’ future career may heavily depend on the impression they will produce during their job interviews, or when they go to universities, etc. Campaigns are launched which aim at abolishing certain “unparliamentary” (= rude and abusive) words from school. At some point even political celebrities (David Cameron among them) participated in such campaigns.

For all that, a lot of slang idioms were eventually adopted by the majority of language users and moved from the sphere of being “not appropriate in good contexts” to quite acceptable colloquial idioms. The following school slang is quite safe. You may enjoy it, just the same as the short test after the vocabulary definitions and examples (the key is at the bottom)

 

American English Slang – School And Studying

1.To “ace a test” is to get a very good grade.

How’d you do on the chemistry test?”

“I aced it!

 

2.If you “cram,” it means you study a lot in a short period of time.

“Are you going to the party tonight?”

“Nah, I have to cram for my history test.”

 

3.If you “cut class,” it means you don’t go to class.

“I’m gonna cut math class so that I can finish this project for biology.”

“OK. I’ll tell the professor you’re sick.

 

4.If you “drop a class,” it means you stop taking that class.

“I’m really stressed out this semester. I’m thinking of dropping a class.

 

5.To “hit the books” is to study.

“I gotta go hit the books. I have a final exam tomorrow.”

A “pop quiz” is a surprise quiz.

“We had a pop quiz in philosophy class today. I was completely unprepared!”

6.To “flunk” a test or a class is to fail.

“I’ve flunked economics three times.”

“Really? Maybe you should get a tutor.

If a person flunks so many classes that they stop going to school or college, we say they “flunked out.”

 

7.If you slack off, it means that you get lazy and don’t work hard.

“A lot of students start to slack off near the end of the school year.

 

8.“Dorm” is short for dormitory – the place where students live.

“How’s your dorm?

“It gets a little noisy on weekends, but in general I like it.”

 

9.The “quad” is a rectangular area surrounded by buildings on a college campus.

“Where’s Jenny?”

“She’s sunbathing out on the quad.

 

10.Many students gain weight when they start college. People often say that first-year students (freshmen) gain 15 extra pounds during their first year of school – this is called the “freshman 15.”

“I go to the gym every day so that I don’t gain the freshman 15.”

 

11.In high school and college, there are names for students in each year:

  • freshman= first-year student
  • sophomore= second-year student
  • junior= third-year student
  • senior= fourth-year student

 

  1. If someone has or gets a “full ride,” it means they have a scholarship that pays for 100% of their education.

“She got a full ride to the state university thanks to her good grades in high school.”

 

13.“Senioritis” is when students who are in their last year of college get lazy and stop working hard, because they know that they will finish their studies soon.

“Even the best students often get senioritis just before they graduate.”

 

  1. If you “pull an all-nighter,” it means you stay awake the whole night, usually studying.

“I had to pull an all-nighter to finish writing my paper for history class.”

  1. Frat” is short for “fraternity,” which is a social organization of male college students. The word for a social organization of female students is “sorority.” These organizations are often called by Greek letters, like Alpha Theta Chi or Kappa Delta, and members are called “brothers” and “sisters.”

“My brother joined a frat his first year of college to make new friends.”

  1. hang in there” – not to give up:“If you hang in there, you’ll get it!”
  2. busted” – caught :“My brother got busted for skipping class.”
  3. to bomb” – to fail, to do horrible: “I bombed the Chemistry quiz this morning.”
  4. “101” – a beginner’s course: “I’m in Spanish 101 this semester.”
  5. “busy work” – worksheets and activities that keep students busy: “Ms Anderson gives us tons of busy work.”
  6. cheat sheet” – a paper with information on it to help a person cheat on a test: “Eric made a cheat sheet for the exam because he was too lazy to study.
  7. A” – the best grade (mark): “I’ve got straight A’s on my report card.”

 

Quiz:

Question 1

“My ______ room was so small that my desk wouldn’t even fit.”

A  quad
B frat
C dorm
Question 2

“I drink about 10 cups of coffee whenever I have to ___________. It gives me energy.”

A pull an all-nighter
B ace a test
C join a frat

 

Question 3

“My son has _________ – I’m trying to find a way to motivate him.”

A senioritis
B hit the books
C gotten a full ride
Question 4

“I _______ all of my final exams!”

“Congratulations!”

A crammed
B aced
C flunked

 

Question 5

“I think I only got two or three questions wrong on the __________.”

A pop quiz
B quad
C freshman 15
Question 6

“Stop ________ – turn off the TV and work on your philosophy paper.”

A slacking off
B acing
C cramming

 

Question 7

“We should really __________ – I think the tomorrow’s physics test is going to be tough.”

A get a full ride
B pop the quiz
C hit the books
Question 8

“Paul ________ so many times this semester that the professor forgot his name!”

A dropped class
B cut class
C pulled an all-nighter

 

Question 9

“My parents would kill me if I _________ of college.”

A pulled an all-nighter
B slacked off
C flunked out
Question 10

“It took me until my junior year to lose the ____________.”

A  pop quiz
B  freshman 15
C Frat

 

Question 11

“It’s not a good idea to put off studying until the last minute and then try to _______ the night before the test.”

A  ace
B  cram
C  flunk
Question 12

“You’re lucky you __________ – it means you’ll graduate without debt.”

A   cut the class
B pulled an all-nighter
C  got a full ride

 

KEY: 1C, 2A, 3A, 4B, 5A, 6A, 7C, 8B, 9C, 10B, 11B, 12C

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SLANG. PART TWO

August 9, 2017

valentines-cartoons-10-ssFortunately or unfortunately, but learners of English as a foreign language study slang only from afar. As a rule, they acquire their knowledge of English in the formal atmosphere of the classroom, where slang is out of place. Some teachers of English try overcome this difficulty by teaching their students slang idioms, but there are dangers in this practice. Slang changes so quickly that it is likely to be out of date before it reaches the classroom. Besides, the effective use of slang demands a feeling for delicate shades of formality that cannot be expected from anyone who needs classroom instruction. I would compare a native user of slang to a teenager who walks down the steps in a stairwell of a multistoried building, and then decides to slide down the rails of the staircase instead. The teenager knows how to do it, he has done it many a time before and feels quite confident about his downrun-route. A foreigner, however, is an adult person who is quite inexperienced in this type of descent. He may, of course, follow the teenager’s style, but will definitely cut a ridiculous figure and will hardly be a success in his attempt. It would be more befitting if the adult (= the foreigner) simply OBSEREVED the skill of the young man (i.e. , in our case, understood slang and appreciated it for what it is), and walked quietly on. “Make it flat”, my teacher of English used to say.

Being an “adult foreigner”, I’m not likely to catch up with such aspects of slang as its degree of novelty or its permitted intimacy, but as a linguist, I will be able to admire its dynamics and imaginative power. The first group of slang idioms which I’m offering today is military slang. Why military? Because that was my first encounter with colloquial English when I served in the military as a conscript in the 1970s. I took lots of English books with me from the civvy street into the barracks, and collections of American military humor brought color into my soldier’s life. Here are some findings discovered by me on the Internet today.

brain bucket (U.S., Canada) Combat helmet.

camel jockey used to refer to Arabs. Pejorative.

Dead Man Walking (U.S. Army) A person who has a permanent profile (see profile below) which allows him/her to walk two and a half miles rather than run 2 miles as part of the Army Physical Fitness Test.

ASAP – As Soon As Possible: This has become slang in normal speech but in the military it means “immediately.”

First Shirt – First Sergeant (Usually the senior NCO within a military unit)

boot – Someone lacking in experience. A reference to “boot camp”.

on the double – (US Navy, Marines) As quickly as possible; without delay.

blue nose (U.S. Navy, Marines) Anyone who has served above the Arctic Circle.

Cycled (U.S. Navy) or “getting cycled”  In boot camp, the act of being “beat” by your company commanders via strenuous work-out, or “PT” sessions. Cycling normally occurs after a member or the entire company has made an error of some kind either in drilling, training, etc. Cycling has no time limit, it lasts as long as desired by the company commander(s), and it can include any physical training that has been imagined. Oftentimes company commanders will make their recruits put on multiple layers of clothing, while closing windows and turning off fans, etc., in an effort to make it “rain indoors”. Lore states of “rain makers”, company commanders often rumored to be in charge of other units who will make guest appearances at cycles in an effort to achieve the results of “raining indoors”, due to the fact that the sweat from the recruits will cause condensation to build in the room and leak down from the ceilings

GI (U.S.) Always pronounced as initials “gee ai”, coined during WWII it reputedly stands for “government issue(d)”. As a noun, GI refers to a member of a U.S. military service, as in “G.I. Joe”; originally pejorative as it implied that U.S. Soldiers were nothing but interchangeable units (Government Issue(d) Joe) that could be requisitioned like any other supplies. As an adjective, it can be applied to any item of U.S. military materiel or procedure. When used as a verb it means to put into military shape, as in “to GI the barracks”.

get some Navy (U.S. Navy) A verb used to describe a situation where someone has some pain inflicted on them due to something associated to the Navy. (e.g., A Sailor is told that he has to stay past his duty time and do extra duty due to the whim of a higher ranking person – he is “getting some Navy”).

Garatrooper (Canada) used to describe a Soldier who excels in garrison but is lacking where it counts in the field. This term was used by WWII U.S. Army Cartoonist Bill Mauldin “Up Front” to describe those who were “too far forward to wear ties, and too far back to get shot” However the term proved unpopular with the Paratroopers who saw it as a slur on their designation and it never gained popularity with U.S. forces.

G.I. party (U.S. Army & Air Force) A term used to describe scrubbing the barracks from top to bottom. This sort of “party” is seldom, if ever, fun.

grunt (U.S.) Originally, a derogatory term for Army or Marine infantrymen (referencing the sounds made by men carrying heavy gear). This term has become more acceptable over time, and today, most, if not all, infantrymen are proud to be “grunts,” as opposed to other MOSes in the military. Also known as “Ground Pounders.” Although “grunt” is not an acronym, common backronyms include: “Ground Replacement Unit, Not Trained.”

gun bunny (U.S.) An artilleryman – often specifically a cannon crewman. Often used as derogatory and implies simplemindedness because of simple job – “Pull string, gun goes boom”

ID10T Form (U.S.) Idiot form. A non-existent form that ignorant airmen/marines are sent to find. Usually they are new to their unit.

jack (U.K., AUS) Selfish, as in “Don’t be a jack bastard” or “Don’t jack on your mates”. One of the most serious. things a British Soldier can be accused of by his comrades.

K.I.A Killed In Action

KP (U.S., Canada) Abbreviation for the obsolete term “Kitchen Police”, a duty assigned (to other than food service personnel) to perform menial, but necessary, kitchen chores such as dishwashing, serving and kitchen cleaning, oftentimes as a punishment for bad behavior. It has been jocularly backronymed to “Keep Peeling”, in reference to the popular perception of Soldiers peeling potatoes; however, in the United States, current Army regulations prohibit non-food services personnel from food preparation.

Latrine Wisdom (U.S. Military) Jokes and quotes left by military personnel in porta potties and bathroom walls.

LN (U.S.) Acronym for a Local National (pronounced ELL-N). used to describe “friendly” locals who work on Army Bases in Iraq.

Meat shield (Canada) An infantryman

Meathead (Canada): An MP, descriptive of the red berets they wear as part of their uniform .

Ocifer (Singapore) A derogatory term for a conscript officer

On your face (U.S. Army) Do pushups.

Penguin (U.K. RAF) Aircrews term for ground crew. “All flap and no fly.”

Shirt (U.S. Air Force) Respectful term to address an Air Force First Sergeant. For example, “Hey Shirt, got a minute?”

sniper check (Canada and U.S.) A salute rendered to an officer in a field environment, where salutes are normally proscribed because they identify officers to the enemy.

spook (U.S., U.K.) A spy. Used for anyone in the CIA, MI5 or MI6.  In the military, one who deals with the gathering of electronic intelligence.

two digit midget (U.S.) A G.I. who has less than 100 days ‘in country’ left before they rotate back to the U.S.A and/or before discharge. Coined during Vietnam War. See “short”.

short, or short-timer (U.S.) Term coined during Vietnam era to describe personnel approaching the end of their tour and/or term of service. Usually announced in an obnoxious and rowdy manner — examples: “I’m so short I had to parachute out of bed this morning and accidentally landed in my boot!”, “I’m so short I could sit on a piece of paper and dangle my legs over the edge!” Modified into “short-timer” in the modern military era.

six, six and a kick (U.S.) Six months confinement, six months loss of pay, reduction in grade to E-1, Bad Conduct Discharge; formerly the most severe penalty that could be awarded by a special court martial. A special court martial can now adjudge 12 months confinement.

suck, the (U.S.) The field, bad conditions, rotten duty, used to describe the military as a whole. One might say “embrace the suck” to tell someone to stop complaining and accept the situation.

suck it up (U.S.) See “suck, the” above. Similar to “embrace the suck.”

suck thumb (Singapore) Shut up and stop complaining

waste of money U.S.) Derogatory term used to describe a woman Marine, a.k.a. WM

Weather Guesser (U.S. Navy) Slang for a Sailor in the AG (Aerographers Mate) rating. Weather forecasters. Self-explanatory.

SLANG. PART ONE

August 8, 2017

2017-08-08DIctionary of Slang and Unconventional EnglishCarl Sandburg, an American Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and author, said that slang is a language which “takes off its coat, spits on its hands and goes to work.” Being generally correct, Carl Sandburg’s definition doesn’t take into account that alongside lower-class slang there’s upper-class slang too, the users of which may be not so willing to ‘spit on their hands.‘ However, even the “classy” characters of P.G. Wodehouse can also be tempted into a “very informal language used by a particular group of people” (probably, I know more about the writer because my daughter is an aficionado and a subtle connoisseur of Wodehouse’s style). Just compare a sentence from Wodehouse’s “Service with a Smile”: “She lugged the poor wench off to Blandings, and she’s been there ever since, practically in durance vile (= in awful confinement), her every movement watched. “In durance vile” is a marker of upper-class slang.

Over time, slang terms either die out from lack of use as groups move on to new terminology, or they may become so popular that they are absorbed into the common language. In this case, everyone understands the terms, and they aren’t likely to be considered inappropriate or poor grammar any longer. This is how language grows and evolves over time, as new words are added to the dictionary while old ones fall into disuse and disappear.

Examples of Old-Fashioned Slang

Some words that were once fashionable are no longer used. For example:

  • The cat’s pajamas: This term was used by flappers in the 1920s to mean that something was exciting, new, or excellent. Though it doesn’t make much sense, it does use vivid imagery. — “That new phonograph is the cat’s pajamas.”
  • Wallflower:This term describes a shy person. It was used for decades in the twentieth century to describe a person — typically a girl — who preferred to stand along the wall instead of participating in a dance. — “You’ll have more fun at the dance if you aren’t such a wallflower.”
  • Don’t have a cow:This term is used to try to calm someone down. It was popularized by “The Simpsons” in the 1980s, and though you might still hear Bart say it in reruns, it’s no longer very common to hear in conversation. — “Don’t have a cow, mom! I didn’t eat all the ice cream.”

Examples of Evolving Slang

Some slang words change their meaning over time, usually across generations. This keeps the word in usage, but can lead to some miscommunication between older and younger speakers. For example:

  • Busted:To your grandparents, “busted” probably meant that something was broken. To your parents, it means getting caught doing something wrong. The latest use? As an adjective to mean “ugly.” — “No, I won’t go out with your little sister. She’s busted.”
  • Ride: Originally a verb for the act of being a passenger in a vehicle, this word also evolved into a noun to describe a car. Most recently, “my rides” can mean sneakers. — “I got new rides to match my favorite shirt.”
  • Hip:Originally “hip” or “hep” meant someone very fashionable in the first half of the twentieth century. It evolved to mean someone into jazz and beatnik culture in the 1940s and 50s, and changed further still into “hippie” to describe flower children of the 60s. Today it’s changed again to “hipster,” meaning a self-aware artsy person. — “My hip grandfather plays the sax, but my hipster brother just makes homemade pickles.”

 Examples of Portmanteau Slang

Some slang terms are created by combining two words into one that has a new meaning. A new word created by combining portions of two existing words is called a portmanteau, and they are very popular as a way to give a new name to a celebrity couple. For example, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were known as “Brangelina” when they were married. Other examples of portmanteaus:

  • Frenemy:This combination of “friend” and “enemy” describes a person who is a little bit of both, perhaps a friend with whom one experiences regular conflict. — “You’d be a lot happier if you stopped hanging out with your frenemy.”
  • Ginormous: This combination of “gigantic” and “enormous” means something very large. — “You could find a parking space more easily is your car wasn’t so ginormous.”

Examples of Modern Slang

Slang is changing all the time, but here’s a list of words that are in use today:

  • Goat: Current usage is actually a compliment, as this is now an acronym that stands for “greatest of all time.” — “I don’t care what you say, because Tom Brady is the goat.”
  • Woke: Slang for “awakened,” as in being made aware of social injustices. — “If you’re so woke, why didn’t you vote?”
  • Basic:A put-down describing someone or something that’s not very interesting or highly evolved. — “Those boys are so basic. Why do they all want to dress the same?”
  • Bye Felicia:A fast way to tell someone to go away. This term comes from the 1995 movie “Friday.” — “No, I will not go out with you. Bye Felicia.”
  • Bae:A term of endearment, usually for romantic partners, but possibly for close friends as well. — “Bae, you’re the best.”
  • On point:Outstanding, perfectly executed.  — “Her accessories are on point. She looks great.”
  • Dead:Overwhelmed, unable to keep up. — “I have two finals and a full work day tomorrow. I’m dead.”
  • Sips tea:Minds one’s own business, as opposed to making a comment or giving an opinion. — “Should I do something about that? No way. Sips tea.”
  • Salty: Angry or bitter about something. —“Why you so salty? I said I would share if I win the lottery.”
  • Fam: A group of close friends. — “I’m going to hang with the fam tonight at the tailgate party.”
  • Throw shade: To insult or say something unkind about someone. — “I can’t believe he said that. He just threw some serious shade.”

Why Do People Use Slang?

Because slang terms are often understood by people only in a certain group, using slang is, above all, a way to show that you “belong.” That is the way to show that you’re “in the swim”, you’re one of the “gang.” You start using terms that others don’t understand, and you can connect with like-minded people who understand just what you mean by using the latest slang terms.

For this reason, slang is often a mark of being “cool,” or at least in the know about something. People who are “in” with a group know the slang, and people who aren’t do not. Slang is, therefore, a way to use language to separate yourself from others. The best example of this is the way each generation of teens uses new slang to separate themselves from their tragically uncool parents.

Eric Partridge, the author of Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (1937), indicated some more reasons for being infatuated with slang. Slang is used, he wrote, “in sheer spirits by the young in heart as well as by the young in years, just for the fun of things, in playfulness or waggishness… it is used as an exercise in wit and ingenuity, or in humor, … to be picturesque, to avoid insipidity, to take delight in virtuosity.” For me, the words “…by the young in heart…” are particularly prominent in Eric Partridge’s argumentation.” No wonder that when I think of Frank Sinatra’s “You Make Me Feel So Young” I unwittingly link it with my attitude to slang 🙂

SPEAKING THE SAME LANGUAGE?

January 30, 2016

There’s an avalanche of new coinages on the Internet today. My advice for learners of English is: know those nonce-words (most of them are just flashes-in-the-pan), but don’t idolize them. I’ve tried to demonstrate the absurdity of the jargonized English in an invented crammed story below.

2016-01-30slanguageSLANGQUILIBRISTICS OF 2DAY

It was nothing but a flightmare (1) – with a delay and a missed connection crowned with the baggravation (2) when Henry had to wait for his luggage for about an hour and a half. The airport was busy, though it was quite normal for a winterval (3). To make things worse, the baggage area was a nonspot (4). Henry was overwhelmed with web rage (4a) and had to wait until he could leave the area and go online. It was great, of course, to be a non-liner (5), as he had been when he was vacationeering at the end of the world, miles from nowhere. But, eventually, such isolation turns to be too much of a good thing, and Henry was looking forward to connecting with his e-quaintances (6) and all of the Manchester United fandom (7).

(1) Unpleasant air travel experience (2) A feeling of annoyance and frustration at the airport when your baggage has not arrived but the other passengers’ bags have (3) A festival that takes place in winter. (4)An area where there is slow Internet access or no connection at all. (4a) Anger or frustration as a result of difficulties or problems encountered when using the Internet. (5) Someone who rarely or never uses the Internet, usually because they cannot access it. (6) A person you know only through online networks. (7)The fans of a particular person, team, etc. regarded collectively as a community.

Earlier Henry was what they called a solopreneur (8), afterwards he got employed at a large company and started making a pretty penny. His friends even called him a HENRY (9)… However, that didn’t last long, and now he is funemployed (10) enjoying his permanent staycation (11), binge-watching (12) docusoaps (13), and guesstimating (14) his chances for employment. “I’m having Me-time (15)”, he said about himself. The other day his former colleague invited Henry to visit with him. The colleague spoke about his trip to Italy showing some selfies, and about the Italian cuisine (he is a locavore(16)), but those legsies (17) and foodmoirs  (18)were actually a kind of humblebragging (19) and in no way impactful (20) for Henry.  

(8) A person who is the owner of their business and runs it alone (9) high earner not rich yet .(10) Someone who enjoys not having a job because they have more time for leisure and fun activities. (11) A vacation in which you stay at home and relax or visit places close to where you live. (12) Watch multiple episodes of a TV programme in rapid succession. (13) a reality television programme in the style of a documentary. (14) A rough estimate without any claim of accuracy. (15) A period of time spent exclusively on yourself doing something that you enjoy and allows you to relax.(16) A person who only eats food produced locally.(17) A photograph taken by yourself of your suntanned legs to show that you are enjoying your holiday.(The sand and sea are usually visible in the picture.) (18) An account of someone’s life or personal experiences, with a strong emphasis on food, often including recipes and cookery advice.(19) To say something with apparent modesty but at the same time actually boast about an achievement. (20) Having a great impact or effect, or making a strong impression.

The baggage arrived at last. Henry took out the dumbphone (21) (his smartphone had been stolen: there were lots of applepickers (22) nowadays) and phoned his wife asking her to pick him up. He had no car at the moment: it had been frostjacked (23) shortly before Christmas (there were lots of carnappers (24) nowadays), so they were sharing Mary’s car now. It was a company car: Mary got a promotion at work, but her new position looked more like a glass cliff (25).

(21) An early model of a mobile phone with limited functionality. (22) Steal someone’s iPhone (23) Stealing a car on a cold day when the owner leaves the engine running to defrost the windows. (24) A person who steals a car. (25) Refers to a situation where women are selected for positions when there is a strong likelihood of failure.

When at home, Henry had his brinner (26) in the shabby-chic (27) kitchen and opened his netbook. Now he was going to netpick (28) some info. He didn’t suffer from infomania (29), he was just info-hungry. He belonged to the glorious netizens’ (30) fraternity and was just finishing a blook (31) , which required some binge-thinking (32). Maybe, some bookaholics (33) will buy the blook. The blook will be copylefted (34), and posted on a content farm (35), so it won’t infringe anybody’s copyright. He downloaded quite a number of apps. “Good thing that the software is laymanised (36)nowadays”, Henry thought. However, he had a big issue with passwords – a password fatigue (37), to be exact.

(26) A meal served in the evening consisting of food usually eaten at breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausages, pancakes, etc.). (27) Cottage-style decor achieved by using worn or “distressed” furniture and neutral-coloured fabrics, or new items suitably treated to appear old and look comfortable (28) to surf the internet looking for information in order to impress others with knowledge (29) Constantly checking and responding to email and text messages. (30) Blend of ‘internet’ and ‘citizen’. A person who spends an excessive amount of time on the internet. (31) A blend of ‘book’ and ‘blog’ :  a book written by a blogger. (32) Thinking excessively about a problem in a short period of time. (33) A compulsive book buyer or a prolific reader. (34) Opposite of copyright. Whereas copyright imposes restrictions on the distribution of a work or publication, copyleft eliminates restrictions and allows freedom of use for all. (35) A website that publishes large amounts of low-quality content, or content copied from elsewhere, in order to attract visitors and improve its search-engine rankings (36) To simplify technical information so that it can be understood by ordinary people or non-specialists. (37) Being tired of having to remember a large number of passwords for different electronic devises.

The book will be written in txtese, with elements of leet (1337). Henry is no n00b. he nos nglish! He luvs 2rite. Its ez nd 1drfl! cu asap. +u!

The book will be written in a language adapted for text messages, with elements of a language where numbers and symbols approximate the shape of letters. Henry is no newbie (no newcomer). He knows English! He loves to write. It’s easy and wonderful! See you and adieu!

HOWZAT!

ACQUISITION OF ENGLISH

July 28, 2014

2014-07-28Cartoon-Design-04Sophia is now visiting her grandparents here in Kyiv. She asked her granddad to show her the Cloudbabies on the  iPad, which I, of course, did, having beforehand surfed the Internet to see what the Cloudbabies were about. While the page with the animated pre-school series was being opened (maybe, too slowly), Sophia shouted into the tablet: “Silly Pants!” I understood that Sophia had changed her mind and instead of the Cloudbabies wanted to watch the program “Silly Pants.” So I dropped the Cloudbabies and started browsing the Internet again. What I found was a slang dictionary where the word “sillypants” was explained as 1. A very silly and random word used as a gentle repercussion or insult. My granddaughter might have been irritated by the slowness of the online connection. Being an advocate of Queen’s English does not always help to communicate with those who were born in the 21st century.

When later in the day, at dinner table, I told my folks about this episode, adding that Sophia knew English better than someone who had been learning this language for more than half a century, she, hearing what I said, raised her head from her dinner plate and said distinctly: “Bonjour!”

While I am writing these lines, Sophia is in the kitchen eating a huge and extremely red water-melon, which she calls “lemon water.”


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