I’ve been traveling the past few weeks (explaining why I have no recent posts) and have gotten the opportunity to hear different dialects. Even though we’re all from the same country, our expressions and accents vary because of the people who have surrounded us since birth or another time when we’re malleable (i.e. puberty).
I say “Coke,” Midwesterners say “pop,” and I think Long Islanders say “soda.”
I say “y’all,” Midwesterners say “you all,” and Long Islanders say “you guys.”
People have commented on words and phrases that I hear in everyday conversation, and having lived in Atlanta my entire life, I admit it’s a little weird, but I accept it.
On the other hand, our friend Technology has made some expressions and abbreviations commonplace across the globe to different age groups. I roll my eyes at every status update resembling “damn, dat grl annoyin af…smh,” yet I know what that means, as do most people under the age of twenty. I like to think of it as our version of colloquial expressions – think our reaction to our grandmother’s “teenie-bopper” label or our teacher’s request to have a “pow-wow.”
And yet, on a completely different hand, we have expressions unique to each individual. Well, maybe not completely unique, but expressions which cannot be traced. For example, “jeal” for “jealous,” or “awk” for “awkward.”
I don’t say “jeal,” but I know I picked up awk somewhere. No one’s ‘fessing up, and I continue to have to explain the reasoning (“Awk” is a shorter version of “awkward,” therefore making the word more awkward) to each confused look. Where that explanation came from is beyond me. But I guess that’s how our language works, right?
Who knows, maybe “awk” will someday enjoy the prestige of twi-heart and gwop provided by our very own Merriam-Webster.