There's a funny and quite interesting article in the NY Observer about the phenomenon of girls in the northeast, and especially in New York, who speak a certain way. “The Affect,” the paper dubs it.
To give you a flavor:
“I laaaaahv a diiiiivey baaaaaahr,” said a girl with a voice that could crack the ice in her vodka tonic. It was her third drink. She was sitting with a friend at Duke’s (the “divey bar”) on 19th Street off Park Avenue South, wearing a periwinkle scarf around her neck and zebra-print shoes on her feet. She was in her late 20’s, had thick, dark eyebrows and straight, shiny brown hair worn in a long ponytail. She looked like a million other girls in New York: attractive but not pretty, stringy but not skinny, smart but not all that intelligent.
“People’re li-yike, ‘Oh my Gaaaaahd. You luh-iiiiive abu-huuuuv Fawer-teeeeenth Shtreeeeet?’”
“They may sound something like the whining sorority girls you steered clear of in college. But they just may also be the latest innovators of the English language. They can turn any item on a menu into an ancient Greek’s ritual lament (Stooooohhhleee owwrindge and taaaahnick!). They can separate emphasis from meaning, transforming the most straight-faced declarations into squeaky questions (“I haiiiiight haaaahr soooh maaaahch?”). They speak in sprawling, hyperbolic anecdotes, packed with pronouns—“he’s like” and “I’m like” and “she goes” and “he goes” and “I was all” and “he was all,” and so on.”
The Observer writer captures the phenomenon quite accurately, so go read it for the whole wonderful flavor.
It really is quite stunning how often I meet women who are, presumably, educated, went to good colleges, have good jobs -- and they speak like 8th grade Valley girls.
The piece also points out how the English language has and continues to evolve over the years, including the great Vowel Shift from approximately the 15th to 17th centuries, in which the way people pronouced words actually changed.
It also cites linguists who say that women tend to be the language innovators, as they are often the gatekeeps of the language, scolding their children if they pronounce words incorrectly.
That's actually sort of scary if the language is in the hands (mouths?) of some of the girls I meet out and about this town. Like, you know?
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
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- Can you hear me now?
- Jesus H. Christ
- Join the club
- It's the most wonderful time of the year
- Scalia is such un succhiatore
- They must be heathens
- The terrorists have won
- I loved Crazy Cat on the Cartoon Network
- Well, I must be a goddamn general by now
- I think I need a damn Tampon now
- What am I, Google?
- Ohh mah gaaahhd, like, I know gurrls like thaaat
- Is this the seventh sign of the apocalypse?
- Everything will be good now
- Now, if I can only find a place where they fry bre...
- Lara Logan on fire
- That sounds familiar
- That didn't last long
- Oy gevalt
- I'd be screaming like a little girl
- The sharks were better actors
- Another Bush foreign policy success story
- What - is he in the Rolling Stones?
- He's probably going to be the next Secretary of Labor
- Sanity in South Dakota?
- Pass that buck
- She didn't say anything about black and white cookies
- Greed in the record industry? Shocking!
- Maybe he was just afraid of getting shot in the face?
- What's black and white and yummy all over?
- Seriously, can they get any scummier?
- Steaks and traitors and Scotch – oh my
- In-sane (adj.)
- It's about time
- Ladies, start your engines...of envy
- Can we at least call it a George Horse?
- Tall and tan and young and lovely....
- I hope they were wearing their protective vests
- I hear the call of the loon
- Reading is fundamental
- Corky or Lucy? You make the call
- There better be a goddamn revolution in November
- Good for her
- She wanted a salmon roll...in the hay
- SFX indeed
- His name will suddenly be very appropriate
- What's a little E. coli among friends
- March 14 - what a glorious day
- Is Erica Kane going to be named Secretary of State...
- Another glamorous night in the Big Apple
- The mind absolutely boggles
- Who are these heathens?
- His poll numbers are so bad he had to return to th...
- A bob job vs. a war? Not even close for Sen. Bill ...
- Now THAT'S my type
- Who knew so many people liked carrot juice?
- “That coat check girl has a name.”
- He's actually a small time piker in the usual scal...
- Where are the goddamn angry women?
- I survived!
- Bada bing
- George who?
- Someone didn't get the talking points
- What's wrong with this picture?
- Well, let me transfer my bank account info over to...
- It's a small world after all
- That little filly needs tamed -- and I'm just the ...
- They're just mad Bruce Willis hasn't been nominate...
- Piano Man
- Saturday rejuvenation tip # 26
- Speaking of God, it's about God damn time
- I really want to be an astronaut! No, wait, a fire...
- Now he tells us
- Dance, puppet, dance
- It's one of the seven deadly sins, you know
- Move over Georgina Bloomberg
- What's up with this seeing a celebrity thing?
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