Mapping the United Swears of America

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Source: Mapping the United Swears of America


Movie Poster: ‘The Cool World’, 1963

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The Cool World by Shirley Clarke featuring The Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, 1963


[VIDEO] OH YES THEY DID: Louis C.K. & Leslie Jones’s SNL Sketch ‘This Is How I Talk’

After getting caught imitating his boss (Leslie Jones), a new employee (Louis C.K.) must play off the impression as his real talking voice in order to not get fired.

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 writes: In the Department Of So-How-Was-The-Play-Mrs. Lincoln?, Louis C.K.’s dive into the empty pool monologue was followed on last night’s season finale of Saturday Night Live with a sketch that had the star going almost one-on-one with screen-shot-2015-05-17-at-8-09-31-amLeslie Jones in a street-slanguage slam, as Louis tried to hold on to his job at a  Sprint store after being busted while imitating Jones as his mouthy, negatory boss.

“Is that how you think I talk? Is that yo little impression of me?”

— Leslie Jones, busting Louis C.K., who then maintains the ruse

Convincing her that’s the way he really talks, the bit (with nice assists from Jay Pharaoh, Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant) followed them over five years as he maintains the ruse. Read the rest of this entry »


Swag Be Like, Old School: Slang for the Ages

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Kory Stamper writes: Everyone knows that slang is informal speech, usually invented by reckless young people, who are ruining proper English. These obnoxious upstart words are vapid and worthless, say the guardians of good usage, and lexicographers like me should be preserving language that has a lineage, well-bred words with wholesome backgrounds, rather than recording the modish vulgarities of street shakesargot.

[Check out McGraw-Hill’s Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions at Amazon.com]

In fact, much of today’s slang has older and more venerable roots than most people realize.

Take “swag.” As a noun (“Check out my swag, yo / I walk like a ballplayer” — Jay Z), a verb (“I smash this verse / and I swag and surf” — Lil Wayne), an adjective (“I got ya slippin’ on my swag juice” — Eminem), and even as an interjection (“Say hello to falsetto in three, two, swag” — Justin Bieber), swag refers to a sense of confidence and style. It’s slangy enough that few dictionaries have entered it yet. Read the rest of this entry »