Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Legice? Seriously? I Know Right.

A little while ago I posted a list of slang compiled from one of my classes and vowed that one day I would return to it for a little analysis provided by me, unqualified person extraordinaire. That day has come, and its time to address a few words or definitions that seem problematic:

BISCUIT -- deny one’s own accomplishments, be falsely modest. Allusion to the practice of old Southern women who make delicious biscuits from scratch and then apologize for them. X: “This is a terrible poem I wrote. It’s not my best work.” Y: “Stop biscuiting!”

DURB -- From Dick Durbin, Democratic Senator from Illinois. Fellatio.

I KNOW RIGHT -- I agree completely: X: “What were they doing cancelling the study group?” Y: “I know, right.” Popularized by the film Mean Girls.

LEGICE -- /ləĵaysə/ legitimate + scheisse (German ‘shit’) Positive, agreeable, excellent

SERIOUSLY -- expression of shock, surprise, or indignation: “He doesn’t call for two weeks. But he thinks he can call tonight and I’ll go over to study? Seriously? Seriously!” Popularized by television series Grey’s Anatomy.

The biggest problem about the formation of this list, in my opinion, was the mindset of a lot of contributors. While ostensibly people were documenting words they used or had heard, some of the words on the list are extremely marginal at best, or were just outright made-up for purposes of submission, as I happen to know a few of the words were. Which means that some of these words are probably just theoretical slang: someone could use newly coined term X, but no one actually has or does.

How can I tell if a word is actually being used? Well, I can always Google it. The problem being that if it is a word like BISCUIT, there will be lots of hits, just not in the sense I am looking for (even the form BISCUITING can’t be used because apparently it’s a woodworking term). So I check one of the most thorough locations for slang on the net: Urban Dictionary. Urban Dictionary is incredibly exhaustive, so I usually get skeptical if a word doesn’t show up. BISCUIT exists as a slang word with all sorts of definitions, but none even approaching the definition that was given on the list I have.

Does this mean it’s not a “real” slang word? Not necessarily. If it’s not a sort of experimental/theoretical slang word such as I described above, it could just be used solely by one small group. The folk story and complicated (for slang) allusion to old Southern women’s habits makes me think that this is probably a case of theoretical slang.

LEGICE seems to be a similar case. A half-foreign blend of the relatively common phrase “legitimate shit” or “legit shit” seems to be a very possible mutation. However, Google and Urban Dictionary turn up nothing in English, even with a variety of alternate spellings. This word, if actually used, is apparently rare. I am inclined to believe that this is one of those words that someone thought up to put on the list, though in my opinion it’s catchy enough to eventually gain some steam.

The other tricky thing about some of these entries is their supposed source or method of popularization. For example, Urban Dictionary verifies that DURB means fellatio and I found a few mentions in other sources, but I can find no connection or mention of its connection to the Senator from Illinois, Durbin. Because I didn’t find it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist or isn’t true (especially considering such successful senatorial eponyms as santorum), but if such a connection was real, my hunch is that it would be all over the Internet (Wonkette alone would have about ten posts on it, I would think). To me, the connection to the word DURB seems to be a folk etymology derived after the fact.

Likewise, it’s hard to say that SERIOUSLY and I KNOW RIGHT were actually popularized by Grey’s Anatomy and Mean Girls. I know that SERIOUSLY with the listed usage was in relatively wide use before Grey’s Anatomy and the claim that term was popularized by the show is pretty much impossible to prove or disprove as it might have been if the listing claimed that it originated on the show. Granted, it’s a hit with plenty of influence (I’m actually surprised that MCDREAMY wasn’t submitted) and the popularization claim could very well be true, but the idea that it is the cause of the wide usage of a particular term should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

It seems more likely that a group of friends first encountered the use from one of these sources and assumed that since that particular source was the source of the term’s local popularity it must be the source of its universal popularity. Again, this is all but impossible to prove or disprove.

Anyway, I promised a little bit of analysis and you got it, so I am considering my shit legice.
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Monday, May 29, 2006

“Dada kraut psych mindblowing conscience expanding sublime acid oriented arcana coelestia weirdness”

Well, so much for my favorite Google whacking string.*

Innocently, this all started with Geoffrey Pullum’s puzzlement over the syntactic nature of certain entrees and the in-depth report on music-discovering tools by Chris Dahlen. Then Eric Bakovic had to go introduce the two. The end result?

Ultrahypermegamonstaheavy over the top mammoth freakin mind exploding destroyer psychedelia from the deepest void of neverness and Geoff Pullum’s troubles with young people and parsing their damn Last.fm tags.

What’s my point? It’s a small one, but it boils down to this: The problem isn’t young people, it’s pretentious people who write about music.

You see, it isn’t just any sort of young person who describes music in terms like those above: It’s hipsters. Let’s not beat around the bush. The average young person, even the one’s interested in music don’t talk about songs with such ridiculous labels. It takes the gall of a twentysomething-but-don’t-call-me-a-twentysomething-creative-writing-workshopping-postmodernism-worshipping-art-school-dropout-but-ive-got-a-band-and-heres-my-zine-but-I-don’t-really-do-that-anymore-because-it’s-all-on-my-blog-self-righteous-tut-tutting-socialist-leaning-hipster to turn out the kind of ridiculous garbage described above.

This isn’t a new or unknown phenomenon. UNC has a Facebook Group that’s been around for some years called “Pre-post-modern-arkane-antidilluvian-anachronistic-semi-hardcore-quazi-screamo-joint-thinkcore-emo,” which parodies this tendency towards complex (ab?)use of attributive modifiers. I assume and pray that it is a parody at least.

How did it come to this? Overwrought music writing. Plain and simple. Hipsters, who have never gotten around to writing their Great American Novel (preferably stream of conscious), need an outlet for their unspeakable talent and so try to combine this with their cutting-edge knowledge of music to write music reviews for their local independent weekly or, more likely, their blog.

Unfortunately, bad music writing is part of an infinite feedback loop because the only thing hipsters like more than listening to music, is reading about music. They are the kids in the class who would never dare read Finnegan’s Wake, but eagerly devour all the companions and criticisms. The result is that hipster opinion and the bulk of music criticism exist in a giant echo chamber, where style is just as likely to be copied as substance (and which is really most important to the hipster oeuvre anyway?).

Perhaps at first millions were inspired by the masturbatory writing of Rolling Stone, but there is no question that the gold standard of the present day is Pitchforkmedia.com, a fact brilliantly skewered by David Cross in an article in which he parodies the Pitchfork review style. His article is clever, though undercut by the fact that his parody has a hard time measuring up to the absurdity of the actual reviews. After reading a a few samples, and appreciating the influence of Pitchfork for the young, hip, and musical, it’s not such a huge leap to see how the teeming masses (I meant the elite few) might be led into thinking that tons of attributive modifiers, literary references, gimmick formats, and arcane descriptors are not only one way to describe music, but are actually the standard conventions.

This is all a roundabout way of saying that if Geoffrey Pullum wants someone to blame, he should spare the kids and instead take it out on the guy who first described guitars as sounding “angular.”

(Google “Angular guitar”. The first hit? The Last.fm tag. The scary part? 50,000 other hits. (Fuck. Maybe this really is the standard. Someone needs to tell me what angular means in this context))

*I know that this term is not technically eligible for an "official" Google Whack, so let's assume that we are playing by the house rules.
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Friday, May 26, 2006

Pulp Octopus

Pulp fiction is great and the covers are the best part.

You agree, yes?

It’s Pulp Fiction week at Slate.com, and they have lots of interesting articles. What I like the best is that they commissioned artists to make pulp-style illustrations of some of the great works, and really they are fantastic.

What really caught my eye were the links to pulp fiction cover galleries: Here is a place with cool postcards based on covers and here is information and illustrations of Canadian covers. State University of New York at Buffalo has “The George Kelley Paperback and Pulp Fiction Collection.” If UNC had that, I think I would finally be content.

Oh, and here is a collection of covers that feature octopi and the women who love them.
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Monday, May 22, 2006

College Slang in the Spring of 2006

DUKEBAG -- Similar in sound and derogatoriness to DOUCHEBAG. Duke student who exemplifies the arrogance and overrated superiority of Duke University.
DURB -- From Dick Durbin, Democratic Senator from Illinois. Fellatio.
SNORGLE -- cuddle something, pushing the nose in and breathing deeply: “I want to just snorgle that puppy.”

Dr. Connie Eble taught a lecture on slang in one of my classes this past semester. Dr. Eble, author of Slang and Sociability: In-Group Language Among College Students , keeps up with the ephemeral nature of slang, by soliciting words and definitions, such as those above, from actual college students at UNC, such as myself. She asked members of my class to each submit ten words and definitions so that she could compile and record them. She was kind enough to send the compiled list to the class, and I now make it available to you. It's interesting, and though I haven't bothered to try to comment on or analyze it yet, it's a fascinating glossary on its own merits.



These words and phrases were submitted as examples of good, current campus slang by undergraduates enrolled in Professor Patrick O’Neill’s English 38 course in April 2006.

ATOM -- automatic teller machine (A.T.M.): “I have to stop by the atom to get some cash.”
ASSBANDIT -- lusty gay male. Said either as an insult or playfully: “You assbandit.”
ASSHAT -- someone who is ignorant, obnoxious, stupid, or just plain annoying: “My roommate’s boyfriend is such an asshat.”

BANANA -- an Asian who doesn’t have the same values as other Asians, i.e., yellow on the outside, white on the inside: “She won’t even speak Chinese, even though she knows it. She’s a banana.”
BARNEY BAG -- gigantic purse. From the children’s television program in which Barney pulled all sorts of things out of a magic bag. “When I travel, I carry a Barney bag.”
BEAST -- unusually strong, powerful, or impressive person: “Did you see that girl’s shoulders? She’s a beast.” Perform well, prevail over an adversary: “I busted that exam.” Humiliate, make fun of: “He beasted you.” Also PWN.
B.F.E. -- Bum Fuck Egypt. Far away: “I’m not dating that girl. She lives in B.F.E.”
BIA -- From bitch. Annoying or difficult person.
BILL -- one hundred dollar note: “This bullet-proof vest is only two bills.”
BISCUIT -- deny one’s own accomplishments, be falsely modest. Allusion to the practice of old Southern women who make delicious biscuits from scratch and then apologize for them. X: “This is a terrible poem I wrote. It’s not my best work.” Y: “Stop biscuiting!”
BLAST! -- euphemism for DAMN! or SHIT!
BLAST -- shoot with a gun: “That fool’s gonna get blasted.”
BLITZED -- drunk
BLOW -- fail at: “I completely blew that audition.”
BOOGIE -- /buži/ bourgeois
BOOTY CALL -- phone someone for sex, usually late at night and after drinking: “I got a booty call from Carter last night, but he was so drunk I could hardly understand him.”
BROKEBACK -- homosexual; stupid. From film Brokeback Mountain.
BUCKETS! -- expression of satisfaction after a good shot in basketball or after any good news.
BUNK -- bad, false
BURN -- third party evaluation that someone has been prevailed over: “Ooo..That’s a burn.”
BUSTA -- someone who needs to be punished or held accountable
BUTTSEX -- anal sex. Rarely used referentially.
B. W. -- Bench Warmer. Athlete who gets little or no playing time
CAN’T CALL IT -- have no idea what’s going on: X: “Hey, whatcha doin’ this weekend?” Y: “Can’t call it.”
CATCH U NEXT TUESDAY -- From c-u-n-t. Female. Derogatory. “I gotta go. The boss is being a real Catch U Next Tuesday.”
CHAPPED -- angry, extremely annoyed
CHICK -- female
CHAV -- working class boor. From British slang. “This club used to be nice, but now it’s full of chavs.”
CHIEF -- smoke marijuana
CLICK -- From clique. Group of friends that one hangs out with
CHILLAX -- chill + relax. Clam down, relax
CLOWN -- make jokes about: “You’re lucky I didn’t see it because I would have clowned you for wearing that outfit.”
CLUSTERFUCK -- unorganized group of people: “Waiting in line for the keg was such a clusterfuck. People were pushing every which way.”
COLD -- hurtful: “That remark was cold.”
CONCUSSION -- inflict a head injury: “If you keep that up , I’ll concussion you.”
CRADLE ROBBER -- older person who pursues romance or sex with someone considerably younger
CROTCH ROCKET -- motorbike
CRUCIAL -- cool, awesome, excellent: “You made an A on your Econ test? Crucial!”

DANGLES -- testicles
DANK -- of high quality, particularly in reference to marijuana: “This is dank weed.” “That outfit is totally dank.” “Dude, this Chex-Mix is so dank—I’m gonna eat the whole bag.”
DIARRHEAD -- exhausted, i.e., pooped: “I’m so diarrhead I could just pass out right here on the floor.”
DIME -- something or someone perfect, i.e., ten out of ten
DIVID -- From D.V.D. Movie on D.V.D. “I’m gonna wait for it to come out on divid.”
DODGE -- deliberately not answer a phone call
DODGER -- someone who deliberately does not answer nor return phone calls: “Jake must be playing for the dodgers.”
DROP -- spend money, usually a lot: “I just dropped $850 for a plane ticket to Rome.”
DROP THE F BOMB -- say the word fuck, particularly in inappropriate contexts: “Can you believe that girl dropped the F bomb on Oprah?”
DROP THE L BOMB -- tell someone you love him or her, especially before it is expected: “Sandy dropped the L bomb on her boyfriends, and he hasn’t called her in five days.”
DRUNK DIAL -- make phone calls while drunk: “I can’t believe you let me drunk dial my ex-boyfriend last night.”
DUKEBAG -- Similar in sound and derogatoriness to DOUCHEBAG. Duke student who exemplifies the arrogance and overrated superiority of Duke University.
DUMAS -- /dumas/ dumb ass
DUNZO -- incapable of winning, living, or surviving: “I’m beating you so bad—you’re dunzo.”
DURB -- From Dick Durbin, Democratic Senator from Illinois. Fellatio.

EFF -- euphemism for fuck: “ I really effed that exam up.” “Holy effing crap!”
EP -- episode: “My sister and I had a West Wing marathon yesterday. We watched, like, six eps in a row.”

FACEBOOK -- search for and/or request the friendship of a student on facebook.com: “I facebooked that cute guy in my Psychology class.” “He facebooked me and found out I was from Kernersville.”
FACEBOOK FRIEND -- list someone as a friend on facebook.com: “I barely know him, but I facebook friended him anyway.”
FACEBOOK STALKER -- someone who contacts people constantly through facebook.com: “John sends me facebook messages all the time. He is such a facebook stalker.”
FAGGORT -- exaggerated alternate pronunciation of faggot.
FAKE ‘N BAKE -- artificially tanned, with dyed hair and too much makeup. Usually applied to females. “It’s the middle of the winter, and she’s orange—way too much fake ‘n bake for me.”
FAT JUICE -- coca-cola or any other high calorie, non-nutritious soft drink
FIEND -- go through withdrawal from something one is addicted to: “Sherwin sounds upset. Maybe he is just fiending. Somebody give him a cigarette.”
FIVE HEAD -- excessively large forehead: “Look at the five head on that girl.”
FIVES. NO UNCLE RAY RAY! -- phrase called out to reserve a seat one is vacating for five minutes. If FIVES alone is called, someone else can claim the seat by calling UNCLE RAY RAY. “James, you can’t sit there. Tina called Fives No Uncle Ray Ray before she went to the bathroom.”
FISH -- have sex: X: “Where are Brice and Abigail?” Y: “Off fishing.”
FLOOZY -- female who is sexually provocative in dress, speech, or actions
FLOWER -- for females to emerge in revealing clothing when warm weather begins in spring
F.N.G. -- Fucking New Guys: “All right, everyone behave! Let’s not scare the F.N.G.’s.”
FOB -- Fresh Off the Boat. For ethnic minorities to seem strangely old-fashioned because they have not assimilated to American ways
FOOD -- eat: “You hungry? Let’s food.”
FOR SERIOUS -- expression of doubt or surprise, asking for confirmation: X: “I stayed up until six this morning.” Y: “For serious?”
FRATASTIC -- fraternity + fantastic. Exhibiting stereotypical traits of fraternity members; overly preppy, conceited, dapper
FRATTY -- typical of a fraternity member in dress and behavior: “Dan’s outfit today was so fratty. He was wearing a light purple Lacoste polo, khaki shorts, croakies, and boat shoes. It was adorable.”
FREAK OUT -- react with strong emotion: “When I told her I kissed her boyfriend, she freaked out.”
FRELL -- euphemism for fuck: “Frell it!” “That freller!” “He frelled us over.”
FRIEND -- list someone as a friend on an online website, such as Friendster, MySpace, or Facebook: “This random guy has been friending my friends. Who is he?”
FUCK ALL -- absolutely nothing: “We just lazed around and did fuck all instead of our homework.”

GANAS -- from Spanish. Desire, interest: “I just don’t have the ganas to go to class.”
GANK -- steal; “Who ganked my cashews?”
GASIAN -- gay + Asian. Someone of Asian heritage who is gay
GECK -- from gecko. Annoying person: “He hums all the time. He’s such a geck.”
GEL HEAD -- unstylish person who is not a member of a fraternity or sorority. Used by the Greek community.
GERI -- from geriatric. Old person: “This geri in front of me drives too slow.”
GET WITH -- have sex with: “I’m trying to get with her.”
GITFIDDLE -- guitar
GLOMP -- hug tightly in an affectionate but not sexual way
GOLDFISH -- someone who does not have a good memory
GOOGLE -- research someone or something on www.google.com
GRILL -- teeth decorated with jewels and metal
GROK -- /grak/ understand completely: “I wish I could grok my PoliSci class.” From Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land.
G.W.3 -- Granville West 3rd Floor. Residence hall that enjoys a reputation for underage drinking and late night rowdiness

HACE -- hack, cause difficulty to: “My account was haced!”
HATERATION -- meanness: “Hey, I said I was sorry. What’s with the hateration?”
HAWNGRY -- /h ŋgri/ (pronounced with the open o of bought rather than the ə of but) extremely hungry
HELLA -- very: “That party was hella cool.” “That ice cream was hella good.”
HIGGLE -- giggle. Typographical error for giggle that attained popularity in internet conversations.
HIT UP -- contact: “Hit me up later.”
HOLLA -- goodby: X: “I gotta go.” Y: “OK. Holla.” Contact: “I gotta go, but I’ll holla at you later.”
HOOK UP -- kiss or engage in any other kind of sexual activity, usually with someone one has recently met or does not have a romantic relationship with: “I hooked up with that boy from He’s Not last night—I must have had way too many blue cups.”
HOSE -- treat in an unkind or unfair manner: “They hose me every weekend. I always get scheduled to work Friday through Sunday.”
HOT -- great, awesome: “That’s a hot shirt.”

I KNOW RIGHT -- I agree completely: X: “What were they doing cancelling the study group?” Y: “I know, right.” Popularized by the film Mean Girls.
ITE -- /ayt/ goodby: X: Later, man. Y: Ite!
I.T.M.F.A. -- Impeach the mother fucker, already: “What did Bush say? I.T.M.F.A.!”

JAP -- Jewish American Princess. Spoiled and self-centered Jewish-American girl: “Stop acting like a Jap.”
JODY -- guy your girl is hooking up with while she is studying abroad or you are in the army
JOIN THE NAKED CLUB -- engage in exhibitionist activities
JONES -- crave: “I’m jonesing for some rocky road frozen yogurt.”

KANOODLE -- waste time: “Quit kanoodling over there and do something.” Also WAGGLE.

THE LANES -- bowling alley
LEECH -- person who won’t leave you alone
LEET -- from elite, typed in internet conversations l-3-3-t or 1-3-3-7. Cool, awesome, great: “That movie was effing leet!”
LEGICE -- /ləĵaysə/ legitimate + scheisse (German ‘shit’) Positive, agreeable, excellent

MALFUNCTION -- problem, difficulty: “What’s your malfunction?”
MANKY -- unappetizing, disgusting: “That bread seems a bit manky—I’m not eating it.” From British slang.
MILK -- profit all you can from a situation: “Lilly is milking her mom for a new pair of sneakers.”
MILLER TIME -- the final minutes of a clearly victorious Tar Heel basketball game during which the bench players enter the game. After player Wes Miller’s role in the 2005 national championship season.
MONEY -- excellent, proficient: “You should have seen this shot. It was so money.” In good standing: “I sent her flowers, so I should be money.”
MOOBS -- male + boobs. Unattractive breasts on a male.
M.S.D. -- marijuana smoking device

NARC -- police informer
NARSTY -- exceedingly disagreeable. Altered pronunciation of nasty.
NATCH -- From naturally. Of course: “He was his usual self, natch.”
NIGHTMARE -- unpleasant
NOOB/NOOBIE -- beginner: “We pwned that noob easily.” Loser, jerk. Often used on the internet and variously spelled n-u-b and n-0-0-b.
NUTJOB -- crazy person: “I hope I don’t get a nutjob for a roommate next year.”

OOSH! -- It’s cold! “Oosh! I should have brought a jacket.”
OWN -- dominate over, show superiority over, embarrass someone: “I owned my roommate in basketball 11-2.”
OFF THE HOOK -- appealingly bizarre: “My roommate is off the hook.” Attractive, appealing: “Those shoes are off the hook.”
PANSY -- someone under the control of another, usually a girlfriend or boyfriend
PAPER -- work on a written assignment: “I’m papering right now, but I’ll call you later.”
PARENTAL UNIT -- parents: “There’s a malfunction in the parental unit.”
PAWS -- hands: “He’s got his paws all over Hansbury.”
PEACE OUT -- leave: “I’m peacing out, guys.” Goodby: “I’m leaving. Peace out.”
PEEN -- penis. Also COCK, DICK, JUNK, WANG.
PEEPS -- From people. Group of friends: “These are my peeps.”
PIMP UP -- improve something: “I’m gonna pimp up my car and put a stereo in it.”
PLAY SOMEONE’S FACE -- playfully insult or embarrass someone
PROBS -- From probably. “This exam is going to be a beast—I’m probs gonna fail it.”
P’S -- parents: “My P’s are going to be away this weekend—it’s time for a party.”
P.T.F.O. -- Peace the Fuck Out. Leave immediately: “This party sucks. We need to P.T.F.O.”
PWN -- /on/ dominate over, beat, conquer: “They totally pwned us in capture the flag” “I pwned that exam.” Now deliberately used in writing. Arose from a mistyping of own in internet conversation.

RANDOM -- unpredictable: “She told you she likes ice cream during the lecture? That’s random.” Stranger: “I can’t believe you brought home a random last night without warning your roommates.”
RAPE -- perform well, do something thoroughly: “I raped that test.”
REAL -- very
RENTS -- parents: “My rents say I have to home by twelve.” Also RENTALS.
RIDONKULOUS -- very ridiculous
RING -- call on the phone

SCANDALOUS -- controversial
SCHNOOGLE -- affectionate embrace, a snuggle and a giggle. From Harry Potter fandom.
SCRILLA -- money, usually paper money
SERIOUSLY -- expression of shock, surprise, or indignation: “He doesn’t call for two weeks. But he thinks he can call tonight and I’ll go over to study? Seriously? Seriously!” Popularized by television series Grey’s Anatomy.
SEXILE -- sex + exile. Displace someone from his or her living area so that a roommate can have sex: “My roommate’s boyfriend just got here, so I’m sexiled all weekend.”
SHACK -- spend the night following a hookup: X: “Where did you end up last night?” Y: “Oh, I shacked with Rob.”
SHACK SHIRT -- item appropriated to wear home after spending the night shacking in order to avoid the appearance of the walk of shame
SHAME -- humiliate someone who has passed out drunk by drawing on his or her face or leaving some other sign: “Check out the drawings on his face. He totally got shamed last night.”
SHASTA! -- euphemism for Shit!
SHINY -- good, awesome: “Ooo, synchronizers! Shiny!” From the television program Firefly.
SICK -- impressive, original, awesome
SKALLYWAG -- promiscuous female who uses and abuses men
SKEET! -- expression of happiness or surprise: X: “I got us great seats for the concert.” Y: “Skeet!”
SKETCHY/SKETCH -- out of the ordinary, creepy, suspicious, potentially dangerous: “That old man checking you out is really sketch.”
SKURR -- from the initial /skr-/ cluster of screw. Foreplay not leading to intercourse.
SNAP! -- expression of affirmation or negation, depending on the context
SNARKY/SNARK -- witty, more clever and less abrasive than sarcasm: “During B-movies, I am the Queen of Snark.”
SNORGLE -- cuddle something, pushing the nose in and breathing deeply: “I want to just snorgle that puppy.”
SOROSTITUTE -- sorority + prostitute promiscuous female
SQUEE! -- hooray! “There’s no test today! Squee!” From Harry Potter fandom.
SSSS GOIN’ ON -- greeting: X: “Dude! Ssss goin’on?” Y: “Not much. Ssss goin’on with you?”
STAR -- extremely attractive person, the epitome of attractiveness: “The new girl’s cute, but she ain’t no star.”
STICKY RICE -- Asian who associates only with other Asians in forming romantic relationships: “Don’t bother with him. He’s sticky rice.”
STFU -- /stufu/ Shut The Fuck Up. Internet use.
STONER -- habitual user of marijuana
STRAIGHT -- acceptable, reliable: “He’ll get my money back. He’s straight.”
STUMP -- person who is not very bright or curious and accomplishes little in life: “All the stumps do is drink beer and work low-paying jobs.”

TANKED -- drunk
THAT GUY -- male whose behavior is objectionable in some way
TOOL -- foolish, stupid, or insincere person: “Did you see Tom Cruise on Oprah? What a tool.” Also DOUCHEBAG, TOOLBOX.
TORE UP -- excited, enthusiastic: “I’m tore up about Bob Dylan coming to Raleigh.”
TRANQUILO -- /trankIlo/ (mixture of Spanish and English pronunciation) smooth, calm, laid back
TRILL -- exciting, worthwhile, excellent: “That new Missy Elliot album is so fuckin’ trill!”
TRY -- plan: “Are you trying to study for the English test tonight?”

UBER -- exceptionally cool, awesome, sweet: “That movie was uber leet.”
USHER -- sing smoothly and velvety. From the singer Usher.

VEG OUT -- relax in a non-productive way

WAGGLE -- waste time. Also KANOODLE.
WALK OF SHAME -- walk home the morning after shacking up wearing clothing from the evening before: “It was a total walk of shame this morning. I had to walk through campus in that miniskirt and tank top past people going to class.”
WEAR SADFACE -- look mildly unhappy
WEIRD OUT -- disturb: “That picture of cow brains really weirded me out.”
WHALE -- beat someone up
WHIP -- car
WHIPPED -- controlled by one’s boyfriend or girlfriend
WICKED -- extremely: “We had a wicked good time last night.”
W00T! -- exclamation of triumph: “I got promoted! W00T!” Written W-zero-zero-T.
WORD -- yes: X: “Yo, Dude. You want any of this guacamole?” Y: “Word!” I agree: X: “French fries are delicious.” Y: “Word.”

YOTA -- Toyota: “I know him. He drives a little blue Yota.”

Frequency of submission
6 sketchy/sketch
4 dank
4 facebook
3 fratastic
3 hella
3 own/pwn
3 word

Connie Eble

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hapax Legomenon

I like words. I, especially, like rare words. They tend to be chewy, tasty, and all around delicious. Recently, I’ve been having a fun time playing with the most delectable of uncommon lexicographical treats: the hapax legomenon.

The literal Greek translation is something like “said only once” and refers to a word that only occurs once in a written corpus. It’s popular among biblical scholars, corpus linguists, and other word nerds doing things like debating authorship and all that jazz.

Of course, every author is bound to have a hapax legomenon or two within a body of work, so that’s not really all that interesting. Sometimes, though, even author limited hapax legomena are interesting. For example,apparently some of Leviticus’s dietary restrictions involve a number of hapax legomena in the description of which birds are non-kosher, making the exact list of which birds are acceptable to eat somewhat ambiguous.

Hebrew notwithstanding, here are some English examples of language wide hapax legomenon, mostly ganked from Wikipedia like the shameless sonovabitch I am.

“nortelrye,” meaning education, is from Chaucer.

“flother,” meaning “snowflake,” is from “written English pre-1900 found in a manuscript from around 1275.” (Wikipedia gankage)

“scamels” meaning, um, well maybe a bird, is found in Shakespeare. People aren’t entirely sure what this is, and it is a fun thing to debate.

“honorificabilitudinitatibus,” meaning “the state of being able to achieve honors,” is not a hapax legomenon of English, but rather of the Shakespeare corpus. The term is a clear Latin borrowing, and is actually attested a number of other times in the lexicon (Shakespeare wasn’t the first); a fact which continues to astound me, considering the absurdity of the word. But you know what they say: the word word word, the word is absurd.
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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Literary Conspiracies

This came out a long time ago, but you should read it. It’s intriguing and delightful. The short synopsis about this is a theory about J.D. Salinger and Vladmir Nabokov. I guess Salinger’s seclusion has led to many sorts of conspiracy theories. One of my favorites is that fellow recluse, Thomas Pynchon, is actually just a pseudonym for Salinger. This was published in Soho Weekly News (Thomas Pynchon’s reply: “Not bad. Keep trying.”). The Village Voice, however, is the vehicle of this new finding: Salinger is the secret ghost-writer of Lolita.

This is fascinating. Make sure you pay particular reference to the title, introduction, and the date at the end. Also, in case that doesn’t help: Pierre Menard.
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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Google Does Everything Better: Even Trends.

My preoccupation with the various websites and means of tracking trends on ye olde Internet is well-known and documented. Whenever a new site or method for tracking Internet trends is created or discovered, I am usually all over it.

Well I missed this one, and everyone else has apparently been writing about it. However, this is so fucking cool that I will still fawn all over that shit.

Because let’s face it, the only thing better then trendspotting is Google, and now Google does trendspotting.

Wha wha wha wha?

Hells yes.

Google Trends is the best thing since sliced bread. What’s it do? It tracks trends in searching (culled from samples) and gives a breakdown by such awesome categories as city, region, or language. Not only does it track trends, but it tracks them with a graph over the course of several years, with a separate minigraph that tracks media mentions. This is so cool. Here are some random dumb things I have found.

Chuck Norris is big in Poland. I always check Chuck Norris on trend spotters because it is typically a good example. Sure enough Google Trends shows the rise of Chuck Norris very nicely and shows the relevant news stories. The cool stuff comes when you look at the Cities and Regions tabs. When you do, you will see that Chuck Norris is apparently inexplicably sought after throughout many cities in Poland. Weird.

Knowing this, there is one thing that I knew I must check: Is David Hasselhoff big in Germany? Well, no. But he’s big in Norway, Ireland, and Sweden? What the fuck? He’s not big in Germany but is sought after throughout the rest of Europe as well as Australia and New Zealand. This is strange.

Oh, everyone else has mentioned this, but it’s still cool: Check out “sex.” Now look at the regions where it is popular. That’s right, it’s a virtual who’s who of repression: Pakistan, Egypt, Viet Nam, Iran occupy the top four spots. Neat-o, huh? Who would have thought that in nations that suppress information about sexuality people are still eager to find out about it anyway.

Oh also, that’s another cool thing you can do with Google Trends: check out the relative status of various kinks. So, for example, take ass fisting. It’s apparently very popular amongst the denizens of Zurich. A look at languages and regions reveals that it actually most popular amongst the Greek-speaking populations of the world. Yes, that’s right.

Ass fisting is popular in Greece. Which seems fair considering how important Greece is to ass fisting.
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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Thoughts on the Campaign for Concept as A Verb

Slate ran an article about Ray Del Salvio’s campaign to get the word “concept,” as a verb into the dictionary. “Concept” is apparently widely used in the advertising industry, but it is not included with that meaning in the dictionary. Ray Del Salvio has set about trying to correct this injustice and the article, by OED editor and Slate language columnist, Jesse Sheidlower, does a good job of explaining Ray’s campaign and putting it into the larger context of how words get into a dictionary and what might actually be the best way to get a word in the dictionary.

However, the article fails to address one very important question.


There is nothing magical or special about a word being in the dictionary. Lots of words aren’t in many dictionaries and that doesn’t mean they are less real or legitimate. It seems silly for someone to complain about professional jargon (that apparently isn’t even that widely used) not being in the dictionary.

Professional jargon is restricted slang, the in-language of a particular occupation and in any given profession there is a lot of it. Sometimes this jargon becomes widely used and significant, but most of the time it is only of interest to the people that are in that profession. Jargon is ever-expanding and continually changing. Hacker and tech culture has done a lovely job of documenting the subset of their terminology in the Jargon File, which is a massive compendium of mostly very restricted and uncommon vocabulary. What percentage of these terms are in any widely used dictionary? Not many, but that’s not the point.

There is lots of jargon in the world that is widely used in professions without being in the dictionary. Not being in the dictionary doesn’t inhibit you from using the word, a point Ray Del Salvio is surely aware of. He seems fairly confident that it’s a word, so why bother with the validation of a dictionary?
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Update on All Sorts of Things

I assure you that there are all sorts of things in the works, but right now please be content for updates and information about all sorts of stuff that I have previously mentioned, or that you should be reading anyway.


On the hot professor front, one faculty member makes a very practical suggestion for making for the improvement of higher education: Systematic Hottification.

On the Middle English front, Mr. Chaucer is more than happy to answer your questions on his blog. In particular, check out the third of the questions.

In the category of things you should be reading already, I point you to McSweeneys. The quarterly is of course excellent, but the website is simply the best humor website on the Internet. I always start my day with McSweeneys for the smart or smartly idiotic articles. My current favorite of their articles is "Feedback of James Joyce's Submission of Ulysses to His Creative Writing Workshop". It touches perfectly on the embarassment and indignity of peer-review. Plus it's Joyce.
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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

John Galbraith

In the back of my head I always vaguely knew who John Galbraith was; you know, the economics guy, who did the thing. Well he died last month, and I missed it. However, insidehighered.com, my new favorite reading material since their article about hot professors, has included a nice little bio piece that talks about some of the lesser known, and brilliantly hilarious things that he did.

Ayn Rand and libertarians despised him, so if you want to annoy Kris Wampler, isn’t it your duty to read as much about him as possible, and enjoy it immensely?

The write up is here.

Galbraith proves one thing that I strongly believe: liberals and academics are at their best when they embrace satire. It helps them avoid their admittedly well-deserved image of being pretentious and boring. Galbraith does a good job of getting his points across in a concise, witty way. Take for example, some of my favorite of his quotes that are attributed (and I must confess, probably unverified) at Wikipedia.

"Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite."

"The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable."

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."

"It is a well known and very important fact that America's founding fathers did not like taxation without representation. It is a lesser known and equally important fact that they did not much like taxation with representation."

"Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable."

"It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled sea of thought."
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Monday, May 08, 2006

The Indiana Jones Effect

Exams are winding down, and I should be posting more regularly very soon. Until then, an interesting article on professor rating websites.

RateMyProfessors.com is a popular website where students, as the name suggests, rate their professors on a variety of criteria. It's not all that popular at UNC, mainly because PickAProf.com also includes statistics on the types of grades a teacher gives. However, the site is used by thousands of students as well as faculty across the U.S.

This sort of massive conglomeration of statistics begs analysis and, fortunately, James Felton was on the ball. He looked at the stats and made an astonishing discovery.

Students like hot and easy professors.

Ok, so maybe that's not a huge surprise. However, it is interesting to me that professors are (slightly) more likely to get higher ratings if they are hot, rather than easy. Also, of interest, is low correlation between hotness and easiness. Apparently you just have to be one or the other.

I had no idea that being physically attractive was so important to students. I am however comforted, that "Languages" as a discipline averages both the hottest, and the highest quality.
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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Woldstow haue me shyfte thyne voweles?

I haven’t posted anything in a while because of the phenomenon that we like to call “exams.” This is a bit counterintuitive considering that I found that I tend to post more when I have more to do, but, God forbid, I think I may involuntarily being productive. That being said, I have some fun for you. What kind of fun?

I'm glad you asked.

Chaucerian pick-up lines.

These beauties are from the excellent site, Geoffrey Chaucer Hath A Blog. You may have already seen this once (I know BoingBoing posted on it awhile back), but I encourage regular readership to this fine example of why all blogs don’t necessarily suck.

My favorites (besides the vowel shift one, of course) are “Yf thou were a latyn tretise ich wolde putte thee in the vernacular,” and “The preeste telleth me that we aren more than VII degrees of consanguinitee. Game on!”
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