College Speak’ an entire language

Megan Schiferl

Megan Schiferl

Dear Misters Merriam & Webster,

Upon working to expand my growing vocabulary, I have run across the proverbial ice patch in the sidewalk. I do not claim to have a prolific vocabulary but merely a low-grade and mediocre one. The problem arises in everyday conversations, where my unsuspecting audience will find themselves barraged with words of which they haven’t the slightest idea of the meaning.

I only have myself to blame, because I make these words up. You would not believe the confusion that ensues following the use of the word “janky.” Such as, “Your janky-ass car smells like a burrito.”

Yes, janky: an adjective meaning funky or off. Is that so hard to understand? Apparently, sirs, it is.

I have also been known to be “confustered,” which is a state of being confused and flustered all at once. This normally happens in the presence of the opposite sex. In my head, these words should be just as applicable as the other made-up words in mainstream society, such as “Brangelina” (really?).

On that same note, I have discovered that with a little persistence, it is not difficult to have new words picked up by others. In fact, the easiest way to make sure you are universally understood is to twist your social circles’ vocabulary to match your own. A perfect example for me is my mother’s nickname, Mommabear.

Mommabear is especially catchy. The amazing part is how the idea of “mommabear” has morphed into a whole family of bears: papabear, sisterbear, brotherbear ? you get the idea.

I do work to make sure that my words are understood if taken within the proper context. For example, the phrase, “Dude, you were totally shnockered last night,” has never been called into question. Although this verb is open for interpretation, it has always been interpreted correctly.

Another signature phrase that must be taken contextually, due to its versatility, would be “take a digger.” Anything can take a digger. For example, during the equestrian events I tend to frequent, girls will often take a digger. Or, possibly, appliances can also utilize this concept. My friend’s phone managed to take a digger, straight into the toilet, actually. She was not impressed with my constant use of this phrase while retelling the story many times.

Not only can these words enhance everyday conversations, they also do wonders to captivate an audience as said audience struggles to follow the gist of the conversation.

While watching my friends’ blank stares, I got to wondering, “How great would it be if there was a whole College Speak?” Yes, similar to how Americans are lost in the language of the British, could not mainstream America also be foreigners in College-land?

This is why, Misters Merriam and Webster, I propose a College Speak dictionary. This novelty would be all the rage in homes across America. Perspective college students would be just as eager to purchase this Holy Grail of college life as they were to attend their first “Let’s-get-together-and-play-

1,000-rounds-of-Bop-It!” social event.

And parents, just think of the parental units that would jump on the chance to finally be able to delve into the psyche of their precious college student. They could finally understand what “yeah, we met some creepers at that shin-dig” means.

So, in conclusion, I look forward to the College Speak dictionary I anticipate you will be publishing in the not-so-distant future. I will be expecting royalties.


A Concerned CitizenMegan M. Schiferl