Mind His Language: The Ever Changing Lingua Franca

Posted on January 18, 2010 in Society

Sahiba Singh:

“Like, my total Melvin roomie dissed me and tha’s after he mooched my munchies from the R2D2” would make little or no sense to a common man but it means everything to a college student. After all it’s their “lingo” and “language” which is for them and by them.

Ok, the English translation to the above sentence is, “My complete nerd roommate disrespected me after taking snacks from the dorm fridge.”

Their lingo may complicate English for us but it simplifies conversations for the college student.

Experts maintain that campus vocabulary is an assertion of identity, a form of rebellion. “Lingo is specific to words used in a certain context,” says psychiatrist Samir Parikh, MD. Adds linguist Anita Talwar of DU, “It’s funny how language, which took centuries to evolve, finds itself saturated with words which have nothing to do with the dictionary. But then, Gen X has never believed in playing by the book.” So, ‘let’s go Dutch’ has lost its buzz. Now, if you want to make things clear about who pays, just say T2M2: Tu Tera, Mein Mera !

Today’s students are pressed for time; this compulsion has led to the invention of their own set of semantics. In such a scenario, short is sweet. “The campus is where we unleash our creativity. The use of flash-forward lingo brings a feeling of independence. Plus, it’s young and trendy,” says Priya Bhatia, a final-year student at LSR. The times, they are changing. What was once popular, is no longer so. “Being different is the name of the game. We speak our own language,” asserts Ashish Gupta of SRCC.

“Outsiders can’t comprehend what we say. And we don’t consider it important to share the meaning of each word with our parents. We let it pass as a generation gap. Why do we need to give away our secret codes when they don’t understand us anyway?” reasons Sanjana Rai, economics student at JMC. “Sometimes it’s very difficult to understand what my son and his friends are talking about; it’s all Greek to me”, laughs Neeta, a professor and mother of two teenagers.

“If you want to be part of the cool gang, you have to catch up with the latest lingo on the campus,” says Rita of Miranda House. Else, you’ll be called BHK – Beeta Hua Kal!

So, what does kewl mean? Kewl means words like ‘wazza’, which was born as ‘what’s up?’ but has been used and misused since.

The respondent will always say ‘not much’ – no matter what has happened. Another popular member from the W-family is ‘whatever!’, which is used most frequently when you run out of ideas. Ditto for ‘as if’. But two words common to all campuses are ‘dude’ and ‘stuff’. Male or female, everyone is a ‘dude’. Your pop is a dude, your girl is a dude, even your chaiwalla is a dude. ‘Stuff’ isn’t descriptive at all. So, it’s ‘I’m doing some stuff’, ‘I’m in the middle of some stuff’ and so on. There are also terms for the unkewl lot. If you’re always spotted doing errands for your girlfriend, JKG ( Joru Ka Gulam) is what they’ll call you. She, in turn, will be titled AKN ( Aaj Ki Nari) – a woman who knows how to get her man, and keep him. ”

“And when nothing works out, we try four-letter words,” says Ashish. Words like F-this, F-that, F-!!!

Lingos have been evolving from generations and they are also unique to their city. The local language plays an important role. “Whether you call them Gol Gappas or Pani Puris or Phuchka but they are still the mouth watering water balls. The local language adds a interesting flavour to our lingos”, points out Asha Seth , a 2nd year Commerce student.

The inspiration can be from anywhere. A funny incident, a book or a latest bollywood movie. Sms and internet language have also made their presence felt. Lol , g2g, OMG, ttyl and brb are regulars in our everyday conversations.
Some popular lingos used by today’s college students in various cities are:
kewl dewd : Dude is to be pronounced as dewd not dood. The dewd is the Rapchik (superb) guy who Bajaos (enjoys) all the time

Pipudo : Cell phone
Boring teacher: Chaatu.com (Delhi); Drag (Pune)
Irritating Guy: 404 Error (Delhi); Jhinga (Ahmedabad)
Hot guy: Dude (Delhi, Bangalore); Yum , Stud , Raapchandus Hero (Pune)
Chilling out: Chillax (Delhi, Bangalore); Chill Madi (Pune)
Bombaat : Superb
Mango people: common people (inspired from Love Aaj Kal)
And the season’s favourite
All izz well: everything is alright (from the movie 3 Idiots)

The writer is a correspondent at Youth Ki Awaaz.

Youth Ki Awaaz

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Akshat Rathi

Really nice article. Keep up the good work. All this talk about lingo made me remember lingo from my undergrad times. ‘Scotch’ is what we used in high school for a smart guy. ‘Item’ for a weird guy/girl. ‘Jhand’ for a stupid guy and of course the versions of hindi swears which sound totally ridiculous.

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