December 22, 2016
In the 90’s it was “rad” or “groovy,” nowadays you might hear words like “smoove” or “bumpin.” Slang has long been an integral part of everyday conversation, but what do these words really mean? Where did they come from? Atholton students share their thoughts.
“Most of the time a word will come from students from other schools. Half the time a word is easily made up,” said senior Ethan Lee. “I broadened my slang vocabulary through interacting with various types of people, athletes, fiends, and gamers.” Lee said he doesn’t really know what a “fiend” is. “It’s just something I call my guy friends.”
A person’s environment usually plays a large role in influencing slang. “The first slang word I ever heard in high school freshman year was ‘dank,’ and to this day I still don’t know what it means,” said Lee. Senior Sam Collins broadened his knowledge of slang by constantly hearing it come from music and friends. Lee furthered, “I usually speak in slang when I’m talking to people that are close to me.”
People adapt their conversational style to fit their audience. If students were having a conversation with their English teacher, they would be less likely to spit out terms such as “dip” or “bop,” but it’s acceptable to use those terms when speaking with a friend. English teacher Mr. Stuppy wouldn’t consider slang valid vocabulary for school because he “[doesn’t] think school-based essays should ever be anything but scholarly. You always want to put your best foot forward and have the tone of someone who is knowledgeable. It’s hard to seem knowledgeable if you say, ‘Yeah, you know Huck Finn had to go on a bop across the Mississippi and it took a brick.’ That makes no sense. You want to appeal to the highest level of thinking.”
Unlike many high schoolers, senior Jessica Rozo isn’t fond of the informal language. “I never use slang, mostly because it sounds weird when I say it, and most of the time it just doesn’t make sense to me.” With many terms available, some don’t like to follow the popular spectrum of the slang “language.” “Basically everyone in high school uses slang, but I just don’t find it necessary when there’s actual proper English that can be used,” Rozo said.
Some slang has stayed the same over generations, even though the words and meanings may have changed. According to Mr. Stuppy, an Atholton alum himself, slang words dating back to 2005 such as “cop, LOL, BRB, [and] shorty” are still heard today in the school. Other teachers recall similar words from their high school tenure. Mr. Stein added, “You guys say sike sometimes. I know that one, I used that in school. It’s like when you’re trying to trick someone, like ‘I’m really lying to you’ basically.”
Although slang has influenced the lives of generations of teenagers, most people grow out of it as they age. No matter the generation however, slang is a sice, fo shizzle!