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I am well "jelly" of my "ill" kids

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I am well "jelly" of my "ill" kids

Post  Panda on Fri 13 Sep - 10:43

I am well 'jelly' of my 'ill' kids. What on earth are they saying to their 'bros'?
How’s your day so far? Is it ‘dece’, ‘savage’ or ‘rare’? If so, lucky you. Beverley Turner decodes the digital dictionary her children use everyday online for the rest of us - young and old.


Image 1 of 2
Prolific tweeters Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez at the Teen Choice Awards earlier this year. Photo: Rex Features
Image 1 of 2Children as young as four can be hooked on computer devices Photo: Getty Images

By Beverley Turner
7:00AM BST 12 Sep 2013
51 Comments
Commiserations if your day is ‘crab’ or ‘ratchet’ and you’re surrounded by ‘neg jelly derps’ who are being ‘troll’. Or maybe you’re just not bov. I know – don’t worry I’ll wait while you re-read it….

Ok? Then we’ll begin, because if you’re a parent or merely a human who will one day exist in a world run by ‘digital natives’ (that’s the blood-chilling marketing term for today’s children), you need to read on. Unbeknown to us, the devious little key-tapping-screen-addicts are rapidly evolving their own language which appears – at last partly designed - to deliberately exclude us oldies from their conversations. While we merely held our hand over the mouthpiece of the phone while sat in the broom cupboard when we were teens, they’re freely, manipulatively and (I hate to say it) rather inventively creating an entire lexicon of apparent nonsense to leave us out in the cold.

We must thank Disney’s Club Penguin for bringing this to our attention. It’s normally an insidious website on which kids can ‘join parties’ ‘chat to friends’ and ‘play games’ (of course, you get more if you become a member) all of which they should probably be doing in the real world instead. But despite the aggressively finger-pointing title of their internet-safety campaign aimed at parents, “It Starts With You!” (it doesn’t really have an exclamation mark – I added that to evoke Lord Litchener and World War One posters), they’re doing a valuable job. If it wasn’t for their research of 1,000 parents with kids between six and 14, we wouldn’t know that almost half of us don’t regularly monitor our child’s online activity or that nearly 75 per cent of us don’t have a “good grasp” of the language (please see full list of words below) kids use online or that ‘butters’ means ugly and ‘dub’ means stupid.

Like many in my generation, educated in the 70s and 80s with Austen, Swift, Shakespeare and Wordy from Words and Pictures, I’m fascinated by the evolution of language – I collect words like some collect earrings - but in digging beneath Club Penguin’s findings, I’m left feeling rather ‘neg’ (annoyed) and a tad queasy (I won’t say, ‘ill’ as to digital natives, ‘ill’ means amazing – keep up).

It seems that the speed and precision needed to instant message, tweet or text is leading to the grizzly amputation or decapitation of many words or phrases: dece is decent, legit means good (from legitimate), bov is from bothered, as in ‘am I?’ And neg is annoying (who needs a time consuming ‘ative?’).

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Acronyms abound (although I wonder how many of the users actually realise that): a whole generation can be summed up by the ‘word’ YOLO – You Only Live Once. It was coined on an NBC reality show, The Average Joe, in 2004 but exploded in usage after Hip Hop artist, Drake, posted a picture of himself looking romantically (or perhaps suicidally, it’s hard to tell) jumping off a balcony in 2011 to promote his new single, ‘The Motto’. Of course, YOLO quickly became a cover-all term to excuse self-serving, hedonistic, I-can-live-the-consequences-as-life-is-short behaviour. Basically, if you see your child type YOLO, they’re referring to something you’d probably have a ‘beef’ (problem) with. And if you knew about it, they’d feel ‘owned’ (embarrassed) because you’d consider their action ‘outers’ (out of order – unacceptable).

YOLO did however lead to a rather ‘naughty’ (that means ‘good’ by the way) backlash in June 2012 when some clever youngsters devised an anti-YOLO campaign that juxtaposed a shot of drunken party-girls having fun with a photo of a girl looking at a pregnancy test with the caption: “Nine months from now. #YOLO. Just won’t be as cool as you thought it was.”

It’s so punchy, I can even forgive the grammar. But what this shows is that a ‘word’ was invented, assimilated and subverted in a year – before any of us had even heard of it. Language used to take millennia to evolve. This crab (c**p) becomes commonplace overnight.

But bizarrely some of the ‘digital native dictionary’ is indeed standing the test of time. ‘Beef’ was first used as ‘complaint’ in 1888 American English and recorded to mean an ‘argument’ in the 1930s. Etymologists believe it’s derived from the late nineteenth-century complaint of US soldiers about the quality of their meat rations. Imagine the look on your 12 year-old’s face when you peek over her shoulder at Facebook and tell her that (as she’s beaching - that’s bitching - about a girl at school).

Troublingly, the words do split into distinctly masculine and feminine categories with the girls coming off badly. A ‘bro’ is a boy’s best buddy but there is no female equivalent for female solidarity. 'Jock' means cool or athletic – an old-fashioned American High School term to denote the square-jawed football captain. Having ‘swag’ is to be cool or confident, with ‘swagger’ being something men traditionally do. And if you’re a ‘player’ you’re similarly worthy of respect but again, it’s typically a male persona.

In the negative column however is ‘ratchet’ an adjective meaning unpleasant to us Brits and thought to be a perversion of ‘wretched’, but in the USA distinctly refers to a dirty, uncontrollable, loud and sexually promiscuous woman who lives in a ghetto. ‘Jelly’ means jealous but according to online urban dictionaries is not a word that any self-respecting male would ever utter: only girls feel jealousy towards other girls. ‘Blond’ still commonly reduces a woman to her hair-colour and concludes stupidity. ‘Butters’ meaning ugly is from ‘Nice body…but her face…’ and ‘beach’ is of course a way of hiding misogynistic language from your parents. If you see you son write a text about ‘Butters Beach’ don’t think he’s proposing a trip to a North Devon cove.

Of course, these transmogrifications occur across the Atlantic – we are merely the recipients of their putrid semantic regurgitations. ‘Derp’ denotes a lack of intelligence (noun or adjective – take your pick) and first appeared in a 1998 comedy called Basketball by Trey Parker and Matt Stone who then normalised it in their South Park series. ‘Fetch’ meaning awesome was uttered in movie Mean Girls as an abbreviation of ‘fetching’ and ‘rents’ meaning ‘parents’ seems first to have appeared on American websites in 2002 when somebody didn’t have time to write ‘pa,’ but serendipitously reduced mum and dad to nothing but bill-payers.

‘Noob’ appears on the list – and although it might be reminiscent of someone new to a place or task (even school teachers this term can be heard referring to the ‘newbies’ – tsk), it is of course much more pejorative and refers to someone who is new to a setting, but knows nothing and expects others to do work for them which they are happy to take praise as their own. There’s something admirable about that: someone, somewhere has summed up a specifically scrounging personality type in their classroom or work place and stamped a name on it.

But as David Cameron discovered with LOL (when Rebecca Brooks and the ‘hacking’ enquiry had to educate him about the difference between Laugh Out Loud and Lots of Love), adults use these terms at their own risk. Ever been tempted to sign off an email with, ‘FTW?’ Don’t. To slightly nerdy American cheer-leader types it means ‘For The Win,’ a sort of rabble-rousing pay off for those who’d use ‘Carpe Diem’ if they’d only ever heard of Latin. But to Biker Gangs it means, ‘F*** The World’ and – one I happen to love – it symbolises the more common, ‘What The F***?’ but in an intentional mis-spelling to emphasise confusion and bewilderment. I do hope that Miliband’s advisors don’t know the nuances. That’s exactly the type of deeply entertaining malapropism he may cheer with a clenched fist in the run up to an election.

Hopefully you now have the ‘tekkers’ (that’s skills, you tool) to keep track of your kid’s online communications. If not, the laptop could always be ‘B@’ – that’s ‘banned’ to us: a word without real letters in it. FTW?? I fear this is only the beginning…

The digital native dictionary
Positive words:

1. Epic – awesome/amazing

2. YOLO – you only live once

3. Bro – guys best buddy

4. Like a boss – well achieved

5. Dece – means decent

6. Cushti/Kooshty – as above

7. Naughty – means it is good

8. Savage – means it is good

9. A touch – means something is good/positive

10. Reem – cool

11. Swag – style/confidence

12. Fetch – awesome

13. Rare – desirable

Negative words

1. Crab/crabby – crap/crappy

2. Spinout – means weird

3. Gate – hate

4. Butters – means ugly

5. Lowe that – means 'can't be bothered'

6. Bun – general term of negativity/ swear word

7. Bov – means don't care

8. Jank – means gross

9. Ratchet – unpleasant

10. Beach – bitch

11. Prep – snob/stuck up

12. Outers – out of order

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Re: I am well "jelly" of my "ill" kids

Post  wjk on Fri 13 Sep - 13:42

OMG!   Shoot me now!
I'll never be 'reem'!  

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Re: I am well "jelly" of my "ill" kids

Post  Not Born Yesterday on Fri 13 Sep - 13:56

Parents throughout the generations have said that they don't understand their children. I don't think that that's ever been as literally true as it is now!

It's not just that you don't understand their attitudes and opinions, it's the actual words.

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Re: I am well "jelly" of my "ill" kids

Post  Panda on Fri 13 Sep - 16:35


The danger is that it is replacing actual words so these teenagers will probably use them when taking their English Exam in school.

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Re: I am well "jelly" of my "ill" kids

Post  Guest on Fri 13 Sep - 18:02

It is not the first time I have had a whole essay submitted in txtspk.

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Re: I am well "jelly" of my "ill" kids

Post  Panda on Fri 13 Sep - 18:20

 
Iris wrote:It is not the first time I have had a whole essay submitted in txtspk.  
What did you do Iris, draw a line across it and demand an essay in ENGLISH !!  

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Re: I am well "jelly" of my "ill" kids

Post  Guest on Fri 13 Sep - 18:34

Panda wrote: 
Iris wrote:It is not the first time I have had a whole essay submitted in txtspk.  
What did you do Iris, draw a line across it and demand an essay in ENGLISH !!  
Yes, I usually returned them with a polite note saying thank you for your assessment submission, but I was unable to grade it, as I don't speak Text. They are welcome, however, to resubmit it before the deadline in English, French, German, Turkish, Scots Gaelic or Hebrew.

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Re: I am well "jelly" of my "ill" kids

Post  Panda on Fri 13 Sep - 23:57

Iris wrote:
Panda wrote: 
Iris wrote:It is not the first time I have had a whole essay submitted in txtspk.  
What did you do Iris, draw a line across it and demand an essay in ENGLISH !!  
Yes, I usually returned them with a polite note saying thank you for your assessment submission, but I was unable to grade it, as I don't speak Text.  They are welcome, however, to resubmit it before the deadline in English, French, German, Turkish, Scots Gaelic or Hebrew.
I was on a Bus a couple of weeks ago and the girl behind me was talking to a friend on her mobile, it is Alien speak.!!!

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Re: I am well "jelly" of my "ill" kids

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