We wear words on our sleeves
Nice, like, we definitely do, bro. Words are fashion.
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 00:10
The words we speak are chosen like the clothes that we wear. Our speech is a statement of who we are, yet certain phrases can fall in and out of fashion like legwarmers and rattails. We shop around for these words when we talk to other people, and we wear them for a long time because they’re free word bling. We then fill our minds like closets with words, trying them out in front of other people.
Words can show many things about a person, from his/her age and social status, to level of dumbness or smartlyness. People purposely go out of their way to identify themselves with words, whether it be slang or really big words that make people look smarter than they really are.
Our lexicon changes with each interaction from person to person. We don’t use the same words around our parents as we do our friends, and we may use a particular vocabulary to impress certain people or to display dominance. Siblings certainly use words of dominance around each other, constantly trying to be the superior person. Even talking to a professor, a fellow student, or a significant other all involve using other words, maybe even a different emphasis on the word, as well as changing the pitch or volume of one’s voice.
Hip hop musicians use a lot of slang words—”beeyotch” and “homey”— while rock and metal musicians use more aggressive words like “killer” and “intense.” Snoop Lion, aka Snoop Dogg, even created his own form of communication, “Snoop speak,” that surpassed hip-hop slang, full of unique sounds and a curiously interesting use of the suffix “-izzle.”
For example, in the first vice-presidential debate Joe Biden used the word “malarkey” as a retort to Paul Ryan. By using this word along with tone and volume, Biden implied that what the representative of Wisconsin said was just utterly ridiculous, since “malarkey” is a word that holds comedic value like “shenanigans” or “kerfuffle.” Biden didn’t use it just once, but twice, to express the same sentiment: “With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey.” And then later in the debate, Biden also said, “We Irish call it malarkey.”
Ryan Lochte, the American Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer, has trademarked the word “jeah” to put on T-shirts and on anything that can make him a quick buck. He is literally putting it on clothes, turning a verbal fashion statement into a physical one.
Words like “sweet,” “bro,” “like,” “nice,” and “definitely” are just a few words one would definitely hear more than once in each conversation conversed here on campus—they are “in,” if you will. Whatever words we end up using, we should remember that these words are like pieces of clothing. Whether we like it or not, every time that we pick a word we are choosing which voice we want to speak with, and our words are saying a lot more than what they are literally trying to communicate.