“KILL YOURSELF”

January 15, 2009

Slanguage

I’m usually fascinated by the new slang my younger family members teach me. Language has always been fascinating to me. I been speaking French since I was 12 and I’ve been speaking Spanish for about 2 yrs now. I also try to learn how to say “Where is the bathroom” in as many languages as I possibly can. I love watching the American Language grow (yes, I realize we speak English not American, I’m one of those people who cringe when i hear people say that they don’t or do want to learn how to speak Mexican, come on!). I say the American Language because currently I’m not following the progression/metamorphosis of other English speaking nations. Perhaps i should say United States Language… but i digress, and I’m sure y’all get what I’m trying to say.
I’ve recently heard things like “goon” which i think may have come from Lil Wayne (A Milli- “ok so you’re a goon, but whats a goon to a goblin”). Goon means a lame/weak/uninfluencial person. Another useful term I’ve learned is “juicin” that means having sex. “Kick rocks” that means “Forget you”.
However, I’ve recently heard lots of people here in Memphis, TN (where I’m visiting my inlaws for Thanksgiving 08) say “kill yourself”, even (especially) to their friends. “Kill yourself” in this sense is like telling someone “you should be embarrassed”. It’s often seen as a very funny things to say. Even though I’ve chuckled at the hearing of this a time or two (which I guess I should “kill myself” for), I think this is a detrimental phrase that we should quickly put into retirement.
Yes. Its illogical to think that someone would actually go and hurt himself/herself if a friend, enemy, or frienemy actually told them to “kill yourself”. But think about the psychological implication. Which is “You should be so ashamed of what you said, what you wore, what you thought, that you should feel ashamed enuff to hurt– Even if only on the inside. Or to feel like you best not do that again.”
Also, think of the children who may over hear this. A 4 year old that hears their parent, or sibling say kill yourself to someone, may not be about to differentiate between this silly catch phrase and the literal meaning.
I think language is a very influential part of our society and in our growth as individual people. Responsible people should encourage the retirement of vernacular phrases like “kill yourself” and “go play in traffic” (which means the same thing and is actual seen as a euphemism for “kill yourself”).
How important is language to society? Does it matter either way if we say hurtful or helpful things to people of all ages?

(Please be advised that this blog entry will be edited often, so please be on the lookout for updated versions.)

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