Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 - Whatever, Like, You Know ~ I'm Just Sayin'


New words enter the English language every year, most of which start out as abbreviations or some type of slang. I geek out over such lists and can't get enough - my English Major upbringing, sorry. Here are just a few that were added to the dictionary in 2012 by From Merriam-Webster:

Man Cave
Bucket List
Aha Moment

Obviously some of those have been around for years, which makes me wonder where the dictionary people hang out or what they watch on TV. "Bucket List" is definitely new - a list of things you want to do before you "kick the bucket" - but wasn't "Aha Moment" around during the Gilligan's Island and Bullwinkle days? I recall Tim the Tool Man Taylor on the show Home Improvement designed a "Man Cave" back in the 1990s, which is where I first heard it. The euphemism "F-Bomb" has been around as long as I've been online - about 10 years now. I'm sure I saw it first on Livejournal during some type of Harry Potter fandom war - "Listen, Troll, don't you come around here dropping your F-Bombs on me just because you're hatin' on poor Professor Snape."

But F-Bomb is obviously the description of what Ralphie does when he accidentally says "Oh Fudge" while changing a tire in "A Christmas Story."


Since the "F" word has been around in the English language since the days of Yore, it's pretty cool that we can still come up with polite ways to say it that won't get us banned from Twitter or even Blogger.

"Earworm" - beyond originally being something to do with the corn crop - must harken back to that episode of Rod Serling's Night Gallery from the 1970s in which a man gets a parasite called an "earwig" in his ear and realizes it is going to eat his brain; that idea was copied with great effect in the movie Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, when Ricardo Montalban as the evil Khan drops a couple of hideous alien creatures into the ear of poor Commander Chekov. Now when people say "earworm" they mean a song you can't get out of your head, like "Gangnam Style" or the Theme from Friends.

But still, those are useful, descriptive words, and fun times for the English Language.

Not so hot are the slang words we all use which probably won't make it into Webster's or the Oxford English Dictionary.

Over the past year, the phrase "I'm just Sayin'" has become a big joke at my house. During any election year I tend to get a little, shall we say, fired up about politics, but this year I became a total fanatic due to the high stakes for our country. Many times I've watched a family member's eyes glaze over as I told them the news of the day in detail, every gaffe from the Romney camp, every witty saying from whatever pundit, to the point they might raise a hand and say "Enough" or "Okay, Okay," which sometimes didn't phase me.

I became a little famous for adding one more thing, which the caveat addendum "I'm just sayin'" which after months of this, was met with groans from my poor victim conversational partner.

My husband has now became adept at tossing "I'm just sayin'" into almost any conversation as a touche flourish directed at me. He will absolutely love the latest Marist Poll which states that a percentage of Americans hate the phrase "I'm just sayin'" - although they hate other words and phrases even more.

Ya know? Like, you should read this (just sayin'):

Just using our demographic, Ages 45-59, it breaks down this way:

37% . . . Whatever
21% . . . Like
17% . . . You Know
10% . . . Just Sayin'
6% . . . Twitterverse
6% . . . Gotcha
3% . . . Unsure

What's so bad about "Twitterverse"? I sort of like it.
The "Unsure" category cracked me up. I predict that at least 80% of the "Unsure" folks probably use "whatever" or "just sayin'" in their everyday life. Maybe they are just unsure what the fuss is all about or why anyone would waste time polling people on the slang they use? (Just sayin')

Marist Poll Results
For the fourth consecutive year, Americans consider “whatever” to be the most annoying word or phrase in conversation. More than three in ten -- 32% -- have this view while “like” irritates 21% of residents nationally. 17% are most irked by “you know” while 10% would prefer to ban “just sayin’” from today’s lexicon. “Twitterverse” annoys 9% of adults while 5% are ticked off by “gotcha.” Five percent are unsure.

In last year’s survey, 38% thought “whatever” to be the most obnoxious word in casual conversation while 20% said “like” was the most irritating. 19% despised hearing “you know” while “just sayin’” was the most bothersome to 11% of Americans. “Seriously” made last year’s list with 7% reporting it was the most annoying word in conversation. Five percent, at that time, were unsure.

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