Hip to the lingo

At Mountain Sky Junior High in Phoenix, Principal Linda Marlar plans to teach teachers the difference between “dawg” and “dawging,” so they know what current slang is “aiight.” The Arizona Republic reports that Marlar is “hip to the lingo of today’s young teenagers.”

Marlar talks with teachers often about issues involving slang and what’s acceptable and what’s not, not only in classroom discussions but also in writing assignments.

“Wack” is not an acceptable word for “weird” or “inappropriate” in an essay, especially on the state’s annual exams. Compliment a student on her “slammin’ new kicks,” or shoes.

But Marlar cautions teachers not to overreact if kids use the word “pimp” as a verb, as in “pimp my backpack,” because they’re not referring to prostitution but accessorizing. The term was made popular by MTV’s Pimp My Ride.

She’s planning a training session on slang for teachers when school starts again Aug. 14.

“I school ’em; I learn them well,” Marlar said.

In jest, I hope.

Gadfly points out that using kids’ slang — “jocking the style” — is a fad that is no longer tight.

When I was in high school in the late ’60s, I wrote an essay parodying adults who try to keep up with teen-age slang. I used standard English which I’ve found very useful over the years. It is, as we used to say, my “bag.”

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  1. I suppose a teacher should know enough slang to be able to distinguish a compliment from a death threat. Beyond that, however, why should a teacher go to great lengths to be “cool”? Doesn’t that undercut a teacher’s authority?

  2. It’s a good idea to teach kids when to use slang and when not to (which is similar to the rules about when to use profanity and vulgarity and when not to), but I don’t see the slightest point in TEACHING slang or its proper usage.

    After all, the slang is going to change. In five years, whatever slang used to be cool will no longer be cool. Unless you’re trying to make a carreer out of slang, there doesn’t seem to be any point to going out of your way to learn it.

  3. I thought the whole point of teenage slang was that the adults didn’t know it. If some of them appeared to be close to understanding a slang term, it was time to change it.

  4. Wayne Martin says:

    > .. the whole point of teenage slang was that
    > the adults didn’t know it. If some of them
    > appeared to be close to understanding a
    > slang term, it was time to change it.

    Probably right. Kids have a lot of time to make up this stuff, and adults will never catch up. It might pay for teachers to know what the terms mean, but their job is to educate students to think, speak and write in English, not slang.

  5. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    I can respond to this article by referring anybody (especially teachers) to Michelle Malkin’s column “2 Lazy 2 Teach”. When will the ADULTS finally grow up?

  6. Robert Wright says:

    Looking into contemporary slang is a good way to gain a better understanding of the teenage mind.


    However, it can be depressing.

  7. Teaching slang to teachers is somewhat like teaching ebonics as a second language.

    Both reduce the proper use of English.

    The only reason I can see for teachers to learn this stuff is to know when to take points off of papers, and to correct the student, when proper English is not used.

    I have to agree with Rob – my children are grown up, and I never learned their slang, nor did I want to. But in school, they HAD to write proper English.