Friday, October 05, 2007

Slang and small-town dictionary

I don't get slang. At all. There are a few phrases and words I understand in some way, but that doesn't mean I have any idea why they seem so acceptable to so many people.

"My bad": Of course it was your damned mistake. Now apologize for it. Owning up to it is not the same as feeling even a little remorse.

"Grill": Yeah, I get that you're comparing your teeth to the grill on your car. I just don't understand why. I guess your car's grill would be the teeth if it had a face...but that's not a good reason. It just seems ignorant when I hear that somebody "messed up" someone else's "grill." Unless, of course, you damaged their propane or charcoal barbecue setup or the front of their car.

"Strapped": The first time someone asked whether I was strapped, it took several seconds and a little bit of body language reading to figure out that they were asking whether I was armed. I'm much more accustomed to things like being "strapped for cash."

"Off the hook": I know what it means, but I have no idea why it means that something's cool.

Now, mind you, some of my lingo might confuse those who use the slang that confuses me. SO I've come up with a handy guide to a few of my more common ones.

"Yonder": Over there. Distance can vary depending on the circumstances. "Over yonder" might be a few feet away in a room or a pretty good distance outdoors. You'll need to look where I'm pointing, though, since it does not indicate direction within the speech.

"Y'all": Contraction for "you all" or the plural of "you." Yes, I am aware that I'm from the northwest. It's still a useful term. I like being able to differentiate singular and plural "you."

"Ky-oat" (yes, this is a weird way of writing my pronunciation. I'm tired. Live with it.): You city folks pronounce coyote funny. "Ky-oatee" isn't my usual method of pronouncing coyote. They are still the same critter, so don't ask me how it's different from what you're talking about.

"City": Anything big enough to have a couple stoplights. You see, where I'm from, we didn't even have one of those blinker lights. When you call places like the outskirts of Puyallup rural while I can see multiple car dealerships, I get confused, just like you do when I call suburbs cities.

There's more, but I'm tired. There may be another installment soon.

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