City Slang

Some of you are going to think I’m def (definitely) redic (ridiculous) for saying this, but there is a subtle shift happening right now in the English language. I’m not sure if anyone else has noticed, but I felt compelled to mention this little vocablution (vocabulary evolution) when recently a friend invited me to pizza, but called it “Za”. Um, I guess “pizza” was too long of a word, so in the name of tifficiency (time efficiency) he had to cut it down, but I have a question. When did we start calling pizza “za”? Now you might be saying, “Dre, we don’t call it za, your friend is just a douche”, which may or may not be true but he in fact said it not just to me, but to a whole group of East Sunset Blvd. hipsters. No one made fun of him or even made eye contact with me to make fun of him privately. I thought to myself, “WTH (what the hell) dude.” It reminded me of a recent convo (conversation) I had with my cuz (cousin) in which she referred to her boss as cray and her man as cray cray (crazy). I’ve been asked for the deets (details) on several occasions and even recently got word my bestie (best friend) added Suburgatory to her show rotashe (rotation). Hmmm. Are we so epically cool, pressed for time, or lazy that we are now cutting or merging and in some cases cutting and merging our words together? Not since the whole valley girl slang movement have I seen such a caj (casual) indoctrination of slang into everyday life in Los Angeles…

I theorize that this evolution in the language can be attributed to the texting revolution. No, not sexting, texting. Who would have ever guessed that OMG would actually become not an acronym for Oh My God, but an actual saying on its own, as in Oh Em Gee. I freely admit to texting “prolly” instead of the word “probably” but I don’t say it… well, until now!

This whole shortening of words isn’t really new to me though. I’ve done it with names for the longest… My friend Racquel is Rac, Stephanie is Nel (her name evolution goes from Stephanelious, to Nelious, to Nelli to Nel), Elaine is E. And even my friends with one syllable names like Chad for example, have been shortened to an initial. I call Chad “C”. The other thing I find myself doing with names is making them plural like my friend Roland who I call Rolls, or Michelle who I call Smells. No one ever corrects me or is offended by the liberties I take with their names, prolly (probably) cuz (because) it genuinely comes from my heart space. When I give a nickname it’s a sign of intimacy. It says I know this person and we have a close relationship. A nickname between friends means we are cool like that. The media only encourages this labeling process with their cleaver merging of names like Brangelina (Brad and Angelina), Bennifer (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez), or LiLo (Lindsey Lohan) just to name a few.

Given that this is now a quasi new way of speaking for the understatedly cool in LA, when I see my BFF’s (best friend forever’s) new baby girl all dolled up in a pink tutu and I exclaim how presh (precious) she looks, am I cool or lame? If you said lame, I think you’re prolly (probably) just jelly (jealous) cuz (because) I’m so dope. I mean, all things considered, you do have to be a little bit brill (brilliant) to be able to adjust the English lang (language) using made up words, and not only get everyone to understand what you mean, but also add them to their own slang rotashe (rotation).

So no worries yo! Make your din din (dinner) reservations at your fave spot and grub some delish (delicious) sustenance with your peeps (people), bros (brothers), or BFFL (best friend for life). It’s all good. Chillax (chill and relax) and enjoy some cockies (cocktails). Ok, maybe I took it too far with the cockies, but hey- I’m not making this stuff up. I’ve totes (totally) heard cocktails referred to as cockies! Just saying.

Have you noticed this shift in our vocab? What abbreviations, half words, compound words or singular words made plural do you love or drive you crazy?

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7 thoughts on “City Slang

  1. ‘Za?!?! I haven’t heard that since the douchey frat boys started saying that my sophomore year of college! I had so hoped that one was dead and gone forever… I’m not going to say exactly how long ago that was, but let’s just say that CeCe Peniston and Nirvana may or may not have been hot new acts at the time. =cp

  2. Ha…so true…love this! I also just realized how many people have called me “C” and especially my initials “CD”…lots of co-workers…what will the future hold…a language of acronyms. The corporate world has sooo many acronyms its hilarious…a buddy of mine saw one of my work emails once and was laughing, it literally read “Yes, the CPM for JFM will RR until OND for COB”…I guess we’re all getting too darn busy to speak or write…lates.

  3. I agree that this abbreviated language thing has gone too far. Rap music (or as I’ve lengthened it to Crap music) is a major cause of this trash talk which goes hand-in-hand with ebonics. If you want to speak gibberish, you don’t need a job. Take the wet dirty sock out of your mouth and speak the language. It’s difficult enough for new Americans and visiting foreigners to understand our language, let alone, to add garbage talk to our language. Also, have you heard the verbal wizards on the sports channels and interviewed after the games? We have given up on education and have decided to breed idiots. As far as texting and e-mails, our misspellings are often caused by the speed in which we need to get useless information out to the public. What good is spell check if it doesn’t stop you from sounding like a moron?

    • i really do think texting will change the face of our language, not just in spelling, but language, grammar and new words too. notice i didn’t use any capitals in this response! lol. thanks for reading and responding to my blog. xo dre

  4. Dre- you’re awesome! I’m totally cracking up reading this “cuz” I can hear you saying this stuff out loud. I felt like you and I were sitting at the bar having this conversation. Love it! I can’t tell you how many times in the last 2 years with all the advancement in social media that I’ve had to check with my more youthful friends/family on what the hell something I heard or read means. But I honestly love the creativity of those people out there inventing new words! I love using these new words!
    Thank God for Urban Dictionary!

    BTW- I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to explain the nic-name “Nelly” since it sounds notthing close to Stephanie. So cute tho I love it!
    XoXo
    Stephanelious, Nelious, Nelli, Nel or what ever the hell my name is (giggle)

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