Post #66 – Favorite slang

I have a rather embarrassing confession.

Despite being a graduated English major, I’m not entirely sure how many of the words I use on a daily basis qualify as slang.

I know, it is horrifying.  I’m pretty sure horrifying isn’t slang.  But perhaps my use of the word “pretty” to mean “fairly certain” is slang?  Hold on… I’ll look up the definition of slang.

Slang, according to the dictionary on my Macbook, is a “type of language that consists of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal, are more common in speech than writing, and are typically restricted to a particular context or group of people”.

Ok, so my use of “pretty” may or may not be slang.  I wrote it, but only because I am using an informal tone in this blog.  I would never use it like that in any academic writing.  Is it slang?  I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

Let’s move on to legitimate slang words that I love to use.

  • I will probably always use “pop” instead of “soda” or “soda pop”.  I’m from the Midwest, where we call it “pop”.
  • I also use variations of the phrase “to be open” quite often.
  • I commonly greet people (usually while texting) with “what’s up?”.
  • I’ll say that I’m “pumped” when I mean “excited”.
  • “Crazy” and “pretty” can both mean “very” to me.

Ok, I’m sure there are many, many more slang words I use on a daily basis, but I’m blanking on them at the moment.  Like I said earlier, it’s embarrassing since I’m an English major.  Oh well, life goes on.

What slang do you use on a daily basis?

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Eat, Pray, Love

This memoir has garnered mixed reviews lately, with most people – especially women – either loving or hating it.  I must admit that I fall into the loving it category, though I can realize that this story is probably more accessible to a more introverted personality than to an extroverted personality.  Since I am definitely an introvert, I love her tale and the thoughts it provokes.

I found that this book is one to be savored.  I first read it over the course of an entire summer, an impossibly long time for me since I love to read novels in a day.  Elizabeth Gilbert’s prose captured my thoughts and imagination and really made me think.  Her use of words and images invited the reader into her thoughts and her world.  Gilbert’s language was accessible, imaginative yet understandable.  I loved that she told her story in a series of short stories, giving the novel structure while highlighting only the important moments in her life.  This structure eliminated long transitional passages, something I appreciated.  Gilbert wrote an engaging and well-written novel that is a pleasant read.

While some critics complain that Gilbert ran away, I think that she did what she had to do to pursue happiness.  I can relate, which is perhaps why I love this novel so much.  The way that she approaches her life, her thoughts themselves, mimic my own though I do not have the same opportunities that she does.  While Gilbert lived a life abroad for a year to learn about herself, this is not always possible.  However, I don’t think that this fact should negate the book’s overall thoughts and lessons learned.  People should give this book a fair read before passing judgment.  Let it sit and soak into the mind.  While rereading it quickly, I was more turned off to it.  It was too much, too deep to enjoy on a surface level.  I think that the movie encountered the same problem – too much, too quickly.  Give this book some time, absorb it slowly – it’s worth the effort.  Eat, Pray, Love is a spectacular read when given the chance.

 

The importance of being flexible

At the moment, I am in the middle of a six-month teaching English as a second language stint in China.  While it has certainly been an interesting experience, living in China does have its moments, especially when speaking English with the Chinese.

The Chinese method of teaching involves a lot of wrote memorization.  This means that for every subject, including English, students memorize a set of responses for given questions.   While this may work for science and math, it leads to stiff formal English that doesn’t sound natural at all.

For example, this is a standard (by which I mean literally everyone who speaks English says it) greeting in China.

“Hello, how are you?”

“I’m fine, thanks.  And you?”

While this is by no means incorrect, it is certainly formal.  Native speakers of English have many different ways of saying hello, many ways of asking how are you, and many ways of responding to that question.  “Hi”, “Wazzup!”, “What’s up”, “Yo”, and “Good morning!” are just a few examples of the phrases native speakers use with ease.  It is quite strange to hear this formal exchange constantly – from my students, from people on the street, from my colleagues.  It’s everywhere!  There is no flexibility and change.

Aside from the fact that this exchange is very formal, it is memorized.  It is the only way that the Chinese know how to say hello.  They literally freeze and can’t speak when faced with any variation of the phrases they have memorized.  And this is what frustrates me the most.  Language is very fluid and flexible.  Words have many connotations beyond their denotation.  Slang enters and exits any language quite quickly and constantly changes.  Students of any language must be willing to be flexible and learn as they go.  Learning a language requires speaking and trying and even making mistakes so that native speakers can correct the mistakes.  Wrote memorization doesn’t actually help anyone speak and interact with native speakers.  It may help when reading texts, but it doesn’t help spoken communication.

So to sum it up, it is important to be flexible when speaking a language.  Flexibility is key, especially when two people don’t know the language at the same level.  Sometimes you must describe something when you forget a word.  Sometimes you must describe something in order to explain it to someone who doesn’t know that word.  Slang influences and changes everyday communication.  The reasons are nearly endless… but be flexible!  Don’t just memorize a language to get a good grade on an exam.  Engage with it!  Interact with it!  Explore its nuances and intricacies!  Oh the joy of flexibility – it brings a language to life, and a rich life at that!

Revamp

After much consideration, I have decided how to revamp this blog!  I will be posting three times a week – on my Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Mondays, I will post a book review.  This will just be my thoughts and impressions about whatever I happen to be reading!

On Wednesdays I will write about the English language and/or writing.  This part is a little un-thought-through still, so please be patient while I sort it all out!

Fridays will be a free day for me to write about whatever I want.  Books, writing, photography, culture, travel, music, movies, you name it!  If you have anything you would like me to talk about, feel free to leave a suggestion!

This format should both give this blog some much-needed structure and give me an outlet for all things non-China related.  I’m pretty pumped!  Let me know what you think!  Oh and this will officially start no later than Wednesday.  I have just finished a book, but I’m not sure if I’ll have the time to write a review tonight.  Maybe I’ll be able to post it by tomorrow.

On “V”

It is the 5th of November, also known as Guy Fawkes Night because of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605.  “Remember, remember the 5th of November, the gunpowder treason and plot.  I can think of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.”  This is the opening of V for Vendetta, a superb movie that I highly enjoy.  Since I  am also a English major and language nerd, I utterly delight in the V monologue near the beginning of the film.  I hope you enjoy it too!

Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villian by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition.  The only verdict is vengence; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.  Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.” – V for Vendetta

P.S. I recommend http://m-w.com Also, these are great words to study for tests like the GRE… just saying 😉

On Rough Drafts

I am a senior in college studying English Literature, which means that my major consists of reading, extreme analysis, and then writing about it.  I don’t take too many tests, but I do write quite a few papers.  And, like a typical English major, I usually procrastinate on writing my papers until late the night before they are due.  Or even the days before they are due.  At my worst moments, hours before I am to hand in a paper analyzing some text through a theoretical lens, printing it off just in time to head to class.  The blessing and curse of the situation is that I can get away with it.  I have never had to put more effort into a paper, so I don’t.  My work is quality and earns me decent grades.  Why fix something that works?

Recently, I had a week away from my ‘normal’ life because I didn’t get to see my best friend.  Needless to say, I was quite bored.  And for the first time ever, I decided to give the concept of the rough draft a try.  I had the time; the concept seriously intrigued me.  I was fascinated by the idea.  So, I outlined a paper over a week and a half before it was due.  A detailed outline, complete with page numbers for quotes supporting my argument.  Then I left it alone.  Now old habits die hard, so yesterday morning, I returned to my outline and decided to freewrite a rough draft – to let my thoughts and words just spew all over the page without any organization whatsoever.  I had planned to return to my rough draft last night to write the final draft in typical late night before English major fashion.  However, I found myself exhausted and slightly sick, so I decided sleep was in order and procrastinated on my final draft until this morning at 7 am – 4.5 hours before it was due.  It was very much less stressful to complete my final draft because I had put so much work into it already.  And I found that my thoughts were much more clearly organized.  Spewing words yesterday helped me identify themes, as well as pointless detail that I could eliminate – essential given the fact that I had a strict page limit and list of topics I was to cover within the narrow 4-5 page limit.  I actually finished the paper, within the narrow confines of the page limit, approximately an hour and a half before it was due without stressing out about it at all.  I have decided that the rough draft is a very beneficial idea; I regret being so doggedly stubborn in my insistence to avoid it in the past.  My work could potentially be better – something I would greatly delight in.  My curiosity has led to quite the discovery and further intrigue.  How will my work in the future improve if I choose to write rough drafts?  I suppose only time will tell…

On blogs

Well.  This is a blog.  One of many blogs to which I contribute.  This is the blog that I post to most frequently, and I use it for my random thoughts and anecdotes about life.  However, I also have a few other blogs… what can I say?  I love to write.

http://akaleidoscopeofimaginings.wordpress.com is my latest blog – at least until later this week when I begin another blog.  A Kaleidoscope of Imaginings is where I post my attempts at creative writing.  Short stories and poems.  I will post as frequently as I write, which I love to do depending on my schedule.

http://blogs.bgsu.edu/rblesch is my Spanish blog.  In this blog, I will respond to articles and debates for my Spanish class, Conversational Spanish I.  I will also occasionally post on whatever  thoughts or such that I have on life that happen to be in Spanish.  It will be excellent practice for me.  And I will take no offense if you don’t read it because you don’t speak Spanish.

http://rachelblesch.wordpress.com is my blog for general thoughts and observations on life that are not necessarily specific to my life.  Unfortunately, I have not dedicated the time to posting recently; however, it does contain some excellent thoughts from a while ago.  I hope to post on life, including the search for who one is as well as grad schools and the post-graduation life identity crisis and search.

http://rachelblesch.blogspot.com is my first blog.  I decided that I preferred the WordPress.org layout and design better than Blogger.  So I switched.  There are a few posts.  Worth checking out once.

http://iamjohnbuck.com/blists is a blog dedicated to lists – the lists of many different contributors with a variety of interests and perspectives.    I love the concept; it is an art form of sorts.

I will also be working on one more blog – for work.  This week, I begin working for the Student Enrollment Communications Center, or SECC.  In addition to calling both current and prospective BGSU students, I will be writing a blog called “What I Wish I Knew Freshman Year.”  It will be a look at my life freshman year and my perspective on it now.  I’m super pumped about it!  I’ll post about it once I get it up and running.

While on the topic of blogs, I have been thinking alot about blogging.  Why I blog.  What I love about it.  How it has become a burning desire.  How it definitely has improved my writing.  How I simply must post regularly to build a solid foundation of readers.  How it might play into my life in the future.  Etc.  So many thoughts.  I’ll sort them all out later.  And then post about it.  🙂