Monday, December 2, 2013

Selfie, Hottie, and Twerking: My 8th Grade English Teacher Would Faint

By Kimberly Johnson

Who would’ve thunk it? A Disney alum would spark controversy and add a newfangled word into the American lexicon. Yeah, I’m talking about Twerking. It’s a verb. According to Oxford online dictionary it’s “dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.” It’s a noun. According to my Google search, there are 195 videos on the subject. London’s Daily Mail announced last week the winner of the first Twerking championship.

Mrs. Taylor, my 8th grade English teacher , would take a nosedive in front of the chalkboard if she knew words like selfie and hottie entered the hallowed pages of the Oxford Dictionary. She was a taskmaster. Here’s a lady who insisted on diagraming sentences. BTW, selfie is the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionary. 

Who am I to be judge, jury and executioner on which words meet some unwritten seal of approval? All I know is that these seemingly fad words are a good thing. They bridge the generational gap. A guy from the MTV Generation may embrace reading/writing and become the next John Steinbeck. What I find interesting is that these trendy terms are seductive enough to sneak into my vocabulary bank. While watching E! News, I blurted out actor Gerard Butler is such a hottie. (Sorry about that.) Here are some listed in my pocket phrasebook.

Hottie: an attractive guy or girl  
Selfie: self- portrait snapped on a smartphone
Bazinga: A catch phrase to accompany a prank, similar to “You’ve been punk’d”.
Swagger: To walk around being overly self-assured 
Gangnam Style: Similar to swagger
Friend me/Like me/Tweet me: To leave a message

Who would’ve thunk it? Miley Cyrus and Mrs. Taylor – in the same story. Whether it is a verb or a noun, trendsetting words are a part of the American vocabulary and maybe we should embrace a word or two.


Jodie Cain Smith said...

"Bazinga!" is brilliant and should be used as often as possible. "Hottie" irritates me to my very core and gives me late nineties' flashbacks of Paris Hilton. One day, I will accomplish mad swagger. And for more on twerking, go to my blog at and read Aging Disgracefully: Too Old to Twerk! Thanks for the post, Kimberly! Yes, my 8th Grade English teacher, Mrs. Barth, would faint as well.

Kasie Whitener said...

Love this and all blogs that address the changes in language. Check out this link about hashtags and their impact on the English language.

Thanks for the good read!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments. English teachers are welcomed to add comments.