Okay so the conversation on Saturday sort of went like this:
My younger brother: “That look’s ghetto”
My mom: “What does that mean”
My brother: “It’s redneck”
My mom: “What does ghetto mean, no it’s not”
Me: “Leave mom alone”
So I must interject here and tell you that what they were talking over was a shirt. And no my little bro usually doesn’t talk like that, he was just messing with my mom. You see, mom was raised in the 50’s when ladies were ladies, and kids spoke properly. My brother and I, while we try not to cuss, or actually talk like gangsters or rednecks, often add a few other weird words to our vocabulary.
Mom believes that when you speak, people should be able to understand you, and not have to ask for an explanation. Although if you take a look back to the fifties, some of their words are hard to dig too. Many generations have their own “language and words that they think are “cool”, and “hip”. These words connect a generation, and keep out outsiders, like the older generations.
Younger people see words as a way to communicate with their peers and friends, and express themselves. Older generations see them as that and something more. Words are a way of connecting to their past, through stories, songs, poems, and keeping up with the present, as well as awaiting the future. As you get older you feel it more and more, words mean something, and they will be a testament to who we are long after we’re gone.
But back to words that we use, some of which transcends generation. For example “cool” meant the same thing in the fifties as it does now, while “dope” meant something completely different then. You also must account for the differences within the home states, or even the home countries of the people with whom you are speaking. Ask for a “Coke” in Texas and you will be asked what kind (Dr. Pepper, Sprite, Root Beer, etc…), ask for one in Missouri, and you’ll get handed a Coke-A-Cola. Just a few examples of the differences between us.
So as far as words go, along with being a fun communications tool, they can often be used in these two types of ways. One, they can build up, instruct, remind, and encourage a person, or two, they can tear down, alienate, or flat destroy a person. Let’s try to remember that words are powerful, and to use them wisely.
Until next time friends,