Slang and Made Up Words

Some good friends have left the state…

Slang PencilWe will miss them until such time we are able to meet again face to face. But some things about this past week put me into a reflection mode about our identity. This is not about our friends, rather it is about those I know who are different than where they started life.

I know quite a few of these people!

Part of the fun of getting to know someone is the manner of life and speech that represents so much of who they are, and where they came from. Add to the past and present, and with a prophetic understanding, you can see an image of where they are going. It might be fuzzy, but there are hints along the way.

When someone migrates from their home state, they pick up the speech and word patterns of their adopted location. They may not lose much of their past, but new definitions are introduced to some words, and what might have been a normal word is now used as slang. One easily loses their speech identity of home, and picks up the patterns of another that is not home.

I have an aunt that left Texas and moved to Kentucky. I was too young to have an impression of her when she was in Texas, but today she sounds so much like the Kentuckian way of speaking that I simply associate with the area.  I worked with a Texan who spent several decades in NY and when he finally returned to the south I wasn’t sure where he was from. I wanted to call him a Yorker-Tex, but that sounds too much like those bred dogs on a certain homestead out of San Antonio!

There are many military friends who are moving around the world. It’s not only that they take a part of their home with them, but they are intermingling with so many other soldiers from so many different locations – their speech is often impacted by areas they have not even been to yet!

I know a number of folks from Australia, and they struggle with our slang but bring so much with them – it’s fun to listen to them! In fact, one of them said all he had to do to get a sell was to talk with his strong British or Australian accent and “Everyone trusts you!”

One friend has a unique way of mispronouncing words, inserting vowels and consonants in the most unlikely places. Many pick up local slang and use it freely even when it doesn’t mean the same at their present location.

Endearing. It keeps you on your toes as you try to decipher what the true meaning of a word might be – especially to them and the way they use it.

Almost. Just barely. It’s like growing up in Texas and calling every soft drink a “coke” – you know, “Dad, I want an orange coke.” Then to Alaska where everything was a “pop”, and elsewhere it is simply a soda.

Everywhere my wife and I go we are always asked what part of the south we are from! In fact, my wife was transferred a call from a co-worker because the caller could not be understood. The co-worker thought my wife would have a more understanding ear of the Georgia Peach on the other end of the line!

We will warn you, we can make our accent much thicker!

2014-10-10 12.55.38So, to our friends, Wes and Caroline, we bid you farewell, and know we will see you again some day. I will be listening for your latest speech patterns… I know you will be adding some more interesting words, and I promise you will never sit in “judgament” in our home!

Blessings to good friends everywhere, you add so much to our rich life and heritage!