English, German, Spanish, Arabic and a little Greek. Those are the languages that I speak. I dabble a bit in French, meaning I’ve picked up enough to help my son maintain a B average in French class three years running now. But I apparently have lost the ability to speak TEENESE.
I used to be a teen. At one time, I spoke TEENESE fluently. Maybe it’s a new dialect that my kids speak. They totally do not understand me. When I was a teen, “Go to bed now,” meant walk down the hall, pee, brush my teeth, get my pajamas on, piss off my sister by stepping on her pillow or hiding her jeans that she wanted to wear the next morning, and then getting in my bed and actually going to sleep. Of course, that was 27 years ago.
Language is a constantly evolving thing. New words are born every day and occasionally some old words, while never really dying, will lie dormant for years at a time. At least in English, this is true. My kids speak Arabic and English. I assume they speak TEENESE in both English and Arabic dialects. And while I do speak to my kids in Arabic, I’m the native American so I primarily boss them around in English while my husband, the native Egyptian, bosses them around primarily in Arabic. My husband and I got together and compared notes earlier this week and made some shocking discoveries:
“Go to bed” whether spoken in Arabic or in English to our 16 year old son or 12 year old daughter means “go open up the fridge.” To our 13 year old and 11 year old sons, it means giggle and wrestle around the room with no shirts on, causing the entire bedroom to take on that pubescent tube sock/ball sweat odor.
“Go to sleep” to all of the kids, in either language, translates loosely to “make a sandwich.”
“Stop talking” translates to “start fighting.” And “SHUT THE HELL UP BEFORE I POUND YOU” has multiple meanings: 1- roll over and accidentally pull the curtain rod off the wall on your own head, 2- make the peace sign at your brother and say, ‘Peace out, Dog’ in a Randy Jackson voice and promptly get slapped in the face by the same brother with a dirty handkerchief, 3- giggle so hard that you fart and make your brothers laugh barrel laughs at two in the morning until mother comes in and takes away your privileges for computer for 2 weeks straight.
I’m in the process of compiling our findings into an English-Arabic TEENESE dictionary. I’m hoping that I can get it published before the next generational dialect comes out rendering mine the “new Latin.”