Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Getting the slang of it

There’s no better way for a newcomer in a community—or country—to begin to fit in than to master the local slang. This can be a difficult process under the best of circumstances, but the Internet makes it easier than in the old days, and these videos are good examples.

The video above is from Jordon Watson for his “How to DAD” YouTube Channel, and in it he present Kiwi slang in his usual laid-back, often very dry, humour. Nevertheless, what he says is all true, and some of that stuff took me years to fully "get". I think the humorous style makes the slang easier to absorb, even if his style night seem confusing because he acts so haphazard.

Related: “The difference between Australia and New Zealand”, the first of Jordon’s videos I shared.

The video below, “Old Gays Try New Gay Slang” is quite different—and for a few people some of the language may be inappropriate for work:

I’ve known older gay men just like these guys—and before I know it I’ll be in their age grouping. I know a lot of the slang terms, even though many of the young guys using them weren’t even born until I was already living in New Zealand. Moving on…

I agreed with the guy who said that young gay guys watch too much RuPaul, which is an older gay guy’s way of saying, “you kids get off my lawn!” However, I’d only think that, not say it out loud—yet.

Both these videos are meant as lighthearted and fun, but the truth within them is that slang varies from place to place as well as over time. To truly understand a place and time we need to understand the slang used, whether we use it or not.

But I do use slang, and videos like the one on top would have been VERY helpful when I first arrived in New Zealand. I’m not sure the other one will be very helpful to me, since I’m unlikely to need to understand the slang of young gay Americans. But, you just never know.

Tip o' the Hat to my fellow American Expat, Dawn, who shared these videos.

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