Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Given time, words change their meaning

Given time, words change their meaning
27 February 2013

It’s funny how each generation has a unique language all of their own.  How a simple innocuous word, that means one thing for one age group, has a whole different connotation for another.

Sometimes it’s a catchy “new” word.  A fabrication of sorts.  I mean seriously!  What does “kiff” really mean?  Or “lank” (it’s not lengthy and lean)?  Is kiff even a word? 

Yet, when I was a teenager, not a single conversation with anyone was held, without those words coming up a few times at least.  It could be used to refer to the surf at the beach, an awesome party, a cool outfit, a funky hairstyle, a spunky guy.  Absolutely anything.  In fact the word kiff was just so very kiff.  And to illustrate my point I give you an example.

But to set the scene, please picture this.  I’m probably about fifteen or so.  My friend too.  We’re both looking really hot in our opinion or trying too.  Probably lots of flicking of our hair.  Perhaps we’re at school, chatting during break.  Our school dresses are pulled up real high, showing maximum leg.  Our school dress belts however ride low.  And our pristine white socks?  Well they’re rolled down to the very bottom, in fat little sausages, touching our shoes.

Me:  “That party over the weekend was so kiff!”

Friend:  “I know, it was lank cool!”

Me:  “Did you see that kiff guy?”

Friend:  “Ja, he was really kiff”.  As in lank cool.”

Me:  “I saw this lank cool dress I really want to buy.  I think I will look kiff”.

Friend:  “I’m sure you will look lank kiff in it.”

So really, it’s like a special language.  A language you need the script for, to fully understand.  Or perhaps the use of a dictionary is rather more apt.

And I am really appreciating this with Luke.  Listening to him and his buddies is like reliving my past.  So the actual words have changed, but their meaning not so much.

If something or someone is not deemed to be cool, it’s lame or they’re lame.  This in no way reflects on the supposed lame person’s ability to walk.  Because, in actual fact they can.  Anyone that is not deemed to be cool is a faggot.  This is a really offensive word in my opinion.  But for them it has no sexual connotation.  It basically means the person is a loser and has no baring whatsoever on their sexuality.  Or lack thereof. 

If something is wicked it’s a good thing.  Not bad at all.  Being gay is not referring to your happiness, it refers to a person’s sexual orientation.  Someone they think who bats for the other side.  A phrase all of us uses nowadays.  It does however also imply that something is really uncool, as in not hip at all.  But in my grandparent’s generation, it meant happy and jolly. 

And then there’s a personal favourite.  Sick.  No, it does not mean someone is ill or not feeling well.  It actually means something is super cool as in really, really awesome and hot.

And thus, I give you an example of what conversations between teenagers nowadays would sound like.

Teenager #1:  “That party over the weekend was so sick!”

Teenager #2:  “I know, it was wicked!”

Teenager #1:  “Did you see that sick guy?”

Teenager #2:  “Ja, he was really wicked.  As in sick cool.”

Teenager #1:  “I saw this wicked cool dress I really want to buy.  I think I will look sick.”

Teenager #2:  “I’m sure you will look wicked sick in it.”

I can only imagine the look on my kids’ faces if I greeted them when I fetched them from school and asked them if they had a lank kiff day at school.  Can you just imagine?

They’ll think I’m wicked and sick, in the worst possible way.  Referring to the old and time honoured meanings of those words.

Kids!  At times they're simply not lank kiff at all!


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