Date: Mon, 10 Nov 1997 11:37:34 +0900

From: Daniel Long dlong[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]X.AGE.NE.JP

Subject: Re: Barry Popik (Kid's Slang)

Gregory {Greg} Downing wrote:

As for Barry, how much groveling does he want? 50 people must have said yes,

and no one no that I know of. No sulking, Barry! Life is too short!!!

I too had been puzzled by Mr. Popik's silence, but I have an answer for

Mr. Downing and others on the list. Barry apparently had not been aware

of all of the polling going on because he somehow got unsubscribed from

the list. (I forwarded the messages to him. That oughta fill up his

mailbox!) Here is a posting from him.

Danny Long

I didn't see anything! I said I wasn't posting, and I got unsubscribed

without saying that!

You can post this if you wish--it's from before my vacation. It comes from

New York (actually, Long Island & Queens) Newsday, Part 2, 11 October 1997,

B2, cols. 2-5, Planned Parenting:

Kids' Slang: What's the Dealio?

If your preteen says, ""Gotta bounce, Mom. Me and my dogg will be

chillin' with the crew and then shopping for some mad phat gear," don't be

confused. This is the latest slang, the curious but entertaining words that

preadolescents and teens use to define themselves with their peers. After

all, how long ago was it that you called everything cool (still acceptable,

by the way) or neato (don't even try it if you don't want to see your child's

eyes roll)? ("Neato" was my friend Joel Benjamin's favorite word. He became

U. S. chess champion, which is way cool--ed.)

Beyond being fun, slang demonstrates that your child has an excellent

command of language, according to Linda Levine, an educational anthropologist

and chair of teacher education at the Graduate School at Bank Street College

in Manhattan. (She's NOT an ADS member, and she's being used as an expert!

Didn't David K. Barnhart go to Bank Street College--NADS 29.3 Sept. 1997,

pg. 27? I keep saying that 517 ADS members is too small!--ed.)

"It shows kids have developed a wide range of language. As kids grow

up, they learn the language of their speech community," she says. "As soon

as they start to interact socially in elementary school, they pick (slang)

up. It is crucial that they have a command of slang. Without it, they are

less likely to get into social groups. It is one of the first things that

chuildren from other countries learn when they come here so they can become

socially acceptable to their peers."

Skill is required, Levine says, to do what linguistic experts call code

switching, or using two different languages in a sentence. Most kids use

slang with their friends, but not so much with teachers and parents, so they

also can turn it on and off when they want to.


What They're Saying

A sampling of current kids' slang with a parents'-level translation:

BOUNCE--to leave

BUTTER--smooth (obvious, not chunky style--ed.)

DA BOMB--the best


FRONTERS--people who never do what they say they will


GIRLY GIRL--female friend

HOOPTY--messed-up ride

JIGGY--very nice

KID--a person


MY BAD--my mistake (In Peter Vecsey's NBA basketball column in the NY Post

last Friday, Philadelphia coach Larry Brown was quoted as saying his 76ers

would lead the league in "my bads"--ed.)


NO DOUBT/NO DIGGITY--that's true

OH, SNAP--oh, no

PHAT--very nice

PLAYER--a flirt, someone who has more than one romance at a time

PLAYER HATER ("PLAYAHATA")--someone who is jealous


SHORTY--good-looking girl


SON/DUN--form of address (applies to anyone)

TYPE HOT--really cool


WHAT'S THE DEALIO?--What's going on?

YOU BE ILLIN'/HUGGIN'--You are crazy.


Daniel Long, Associate Professor NEW tel +81-6-723-8297

Japanese Language Research Center NEW fax +81-6-723-8302

Osaka Shoin Women's College dlong[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

4-2-26 Hishiyanishi

Higashi-Osaka-shi, Osaka Japan 577