We asked a granny to explain youth slang
Bridget got most of the answers right
Bridget Smith is my grandmother and she’s terribly old-fashioned. She’s the most well spoken person I know and she knows absolutely nothing about the ridiculous words the “youth of today” are using.
Since it’s The Year of the Grandparent, I embarked on a venture to work out just how stupid some of the slang that we use is, by asking Granny Bizzle herself.
“You told me this one at Christmas, it means trendy in my jargon. It refers to what is on-trend, you know, trend-ee.”
She pronounces this “trendeh”. I explained it can also be used as a greeting: “So… safe Granny”. This baffles her: “Safe? I am safe, yes. Would I say yes? What would be my response?”
“A shortened way of telling someone an event is casual dress.”
Jackpot – our Bridget even admitted to using this word herself. At Christmas I told her some people would consider her silk bomber jacket “edgy”, so she asked “can you get down edgy, too?”,
Like “trendeh”, she pronounces this “ehjeh”. “To be fair you wouldn’t know the word trendy would you?” she said, to which I told her that people would use it, just in a more ironic sense. She lowered her brow and said, “teasing, I see”.
“Granny your t-shirt is banging”. She looked a bit disgruntled, and replied: “Well, I would take you to mean it needs washing.”
I explained to her that it would actually mean that it’s really cool, and she said “oh, well thank you” looking quite pleased. What I didn’t explain to her is the other, more sexual use of the word banging.
“Hmmmm, very very?”
I say”I’m ‘mad’ hungry” and she looks confused and says she’d “ne(h)ver ordinarily use that”.
This one “just means absolutely nothing” to her.
When I say it means someone is doing something really well, she asks, “does it mean someone is getting to grips with something or that they have already got to grips with it?”. I tell her it’s the same as “nailing it” and strangely, she says “well, if you’d have said ‘nailing it’ I would have understood you.”
“That, to me, would simply mean it happened. It went off well.”
She pronounces off, “or”. Telling her that you would use it to say that an event was amazing confuses her, as she asks whether “off” replaces “amazing.”
“I don’t know anything about yards, except for the American way of saying outside.”
She points to the garden, puts on strong American accent and says, “my yarrrrrd”.
I tell her that if I said “come to my yard” it would mean “come to my house.” I consider playing her “Free Yard” by Aggro before deciding it would be a bit awkward.
“Well how on earth do you spell that? It must be when one has had too many drinks.”
“Oh, had too many drinks. The polite way of putting it, I would imagine.”
“That means absolutely nothing to me. Spenny… spenny… Expensive!”
She looks very pleased to have worked this one out.
“Absolutely not a clue.”
She looks a bit disgusted at this one, as if she has smelt something bad. I tell her that it means “to chill out”. I write it down and she says, “gosh, I’m going to have to find the time to memorise all of this.”
“I don’t know, darling.”
She’s finding the whole situation a bit long at this point. I explain that it means something is boring, taking too much time. “Oh boohring, simple as that. Make sure you get ‘long’ down.”
“Crooden? Being impolite? Permission?”
I put it into context: “I’ve got my crewdem” I explain that it’s basically a crew. Your “people.” But she doesn’t really get it.
“And it is nothing to do with television or media or tennis?” Frowning, she says, “Well, I have to make a stab at it. Super! What we would call ‘super’.”
“This one is a trick isn’t it? This is similar to the way we used to use the word wicked in a positive manner!”
There’s no fooling this one.
Bridgey might be stuck in her ways in every other aspect of life, but I’ve never met someone so eager to brush up on their language skills. In fact, the next time I saw my Granny, she opened the door, said “safe, Bella Boo” and asked me if the party “went off.”