Vani Desabhotla

United States

Hey || Namaste || Bonjour || Ciao

Message to Readers

I hope I don't bore you with this....I wrote is as more of an article. I would love to hear feedback on how to make it more interesting!! :)

Slang Around the World

March 16, 2016

PROMPT: Local Tongue

    So...I've lived in quite a few places around the world. I was born in Singapore, lived in Houston, moved to Lagos, Nigeria, then to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and back to Houston. And, I'm Indian. And...some of the phrases I've heard have become part of my vocabulary, without me even knowing it. It's really funny, when I say something like "long-long" or "same-to-same" and get a look of bewilderment. I LOVE languages and culture and the whole I'm sorry to all of those people that I've bored with my talk of it!
Anyway, so these are just a few examples of slang that I've heard around the world:

  • Lah: It's used at the end of almost every single sentence... No lah....Cannot lah. The best explanation I have is that its kind of like using the words "bro" or "mate" at the end of a sentence.
  • Can also can, cannot also can: This is probably a terrible translation, but it's the best I've got. So this phrase is something along the lines of 'we can do what is possible, and what is not...we will try'.
Houston, Texas
  • Y'all: It's just so Texan. It's the short form of you all, and can be used in any shape or form. For example "How are y'all doing today?" is typical down here :)
  • Bless your heart: Older people will say this one more often than younger ones. If it's said to you...honey you're probably doing something wrong. This is used in conversation when someone does something idiotic and you want to let them know without being extremely rude. For example:
    • Child: "Mrs. Smith! I heard that Africa is a great country!"
    • Mrs. Smith: "Bless your heart, but Africa is a continent sweetie."
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea:
  • Long-long: Its a synonym for crazy. When I first moved to Papua New Guinea (this is a really embarrassing story...don't judge), someone said that to me, and I was really confused, so, like the genius I was back then, I assumed that it meant that they were complimenting my height (I'm not even that tall, mind you). So I said thanks, and one of my friends quickly took me aside and explained it to my...boy was I embarrassed.  
  • Wantok: It's a term that's kind of like "desi" If you're from India. It's literal meaning is "one talk", meaning that you speak the same language. It usually is used to mean a close friend or something of that sort.


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