OK, Gen X, Y, Zers, you got your slang, we got ours

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

By Shaun TumpaneLaguna Woods Globe columnist

It’s been said that the United States and England are two nations divided by a common language. It is sometimes attributed to Oscar Wilde and other times to George Bernard Shaw.

I find the attribution fascinating and hysterical as both Oscar and George were Irishmen. American vs. English. French fries are chips. Potato chips are crisps. Pants are trousers, underwear are pants. A sweater is a jumper. A wallet is a purse. A cookie is a biscuit. Getting drunk is getting pissed.

Yet this is not the greatest divide.

The greatest chasm in the lexicon of English is purely American. More specifically, it’s boomers vs. Gen Xers, Gen Yers and Gen Zers.

With the emergence of texting as THE fundamental means of communicating, supplanting phone calls and letters (snail mail, email or carrier pigeon), the rampant use of abbreviations has run amok within the wrinkleless.

Sure, us old codgers will use BTW in lieu of “by the way,” BRB instead of spelling out “be right back,” and even the occasional WTF? in place of “what in the world,” or words to that effect.

But kids these days – and by kids I mean anyone of legal age who doesn’t know what a boomer without eczema means by “scratch.” I remember when my brother once said to my mother, born in 1919, “I’m cool.” Her response? “Put on a sweater.”

These days, if you’re over 60 and you want to emphatically agree with something, you might say, “Absolutely,” or if you used to be a surfer, “Fur Sure!”

The post-boomer version is “Right?!” I think it’s the question mark that irks me the most. Are these Gen X, Y, Zers asking a question?

Before my muddled septuagenarian brain decoded “Right?” I’d answer the supposed question. For instance, I remark, “Man, was it hot out there today!” My sweet daughter-in-law responds, “Right?” To which, I reply, “Well, I thought it was hot.”

The use of “Right?” (why not simply say “Indeed”) permeates all sectors of our society, infecting even those of us who know that “orientated” and “irregardless,” while found in some dictionaries, aren’t real words, just as “very definitely” is redumbnant and wrong.

I recently asked a young man why he was flying to Dallas to see the eclipse. He said, “For the plot, Dude.” Translation? “For the experience.” Not wanting to appear a square, I didn’t ask what he meant. I looked it up later.

And here’s a few for y’all to look up, “Margot Robbie’s living rent free in my mind.” I just hope “I ate” this edition of Edge. I appreciate those of you who thought last month’s column was “bussin’.” Later homies, I gotta book.

Shaun Tumpane is a Laguna Woods Village resident.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.