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Words a foreigner should know in US

  1. Aug 31, 2005 #1

    Clausius2

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    Come on, I know there must be a bunch of words which are typical of US and which are not found in dictionaries. If they are from Calofornia, the better. I want to know this bunch before travelling. Here there are some words which are not usually known by foreign people. Examples are:

    -pela: the old peseta, substituted by euro.
    -papel de giñar: toilet papel,
    -me estás jodiendo la pava: you're disturbing too much.
    -vaya tia maciza!: wow a hottie girl!
    -eso está a tomar por el culo: that's too far!
    -ni de coña: it's almost impossible.
    -Oye socio!: Hey guy!
    -Esto sabe a mierda!: This meal tastes too bad!
    -Que pasa tronco!: wasss up!

    They are very informal sentences, but they are used by many people here. They are not found in dictionaries.

    Let me know yours, specially if they are from California.

    Thanx.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2005
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  3. Aug 31, 2005 #2

    FredGarvin

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    Oh boy. Good luck with regional slang Clausius. It can be tough for Americans at times. Whatever happens, please promise me that you won't start speaking/posting in the Snoop Dog "fashizzle" (or whatever they call it) crap that has been going around for a long time.
     
  4. Aug 31, 2005 #3

    Clausius2

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    You know, I didn't understand a word of your last sentence. This is the kind of things I will be stuck on in my arrival.
     
  5. Aug 31, 2005 #4

    FredGarvin

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    Slang is VERY difficult for people to learn. A lot of times, you have to be "in the know" to understand what they are referring to.

    Here are some links on the Snoop Dog thing (I didn't realize it was so 1990's):

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Izzle
    http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~ikalmar/100/shiznit.htm

    Personally, I would take pride in speaking proper English. It's not done very much these days. I'd say concentrate on not getting lost on your way to school and learning your way around. Besides, you can use that whole "I don't understand because I am from Europe" angle. It works great with the chicks.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2005
  6. Aug 31, 2005 #5

    loseyourname

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    Just watch an episode of The OC on Fox, if you can get a broadcast overseas. Seriously, though, one of the best ways would probably be through watching American movies. Most of them take place either in Los Angeles or New York. You can also try listening to popular music from the area, as that's where most of the slang comes from anyway. If you go here, it gives you a bunch of links to streams of the popular show "Loveline." I'm not sure what else the streams broadcast when the show isn't on (it is on nightly from 10PM-12AM Pacific Time, by the way - GMT -8 hours), but the show itself is a great resource if you're looking to hear people speaking the regional dialect.

    All in all, your best bet is to just find a friend when you get here and have him give you the low down on the local lingo. Words like "sweet," "radical," and "dude" are still enormously pervasive throughout all of California. "Hella" is huge in northern California, but almost no one says it down in SoCal. I don't know to what extent hip-hop terminology like fashizzle madizzle and off the heezy and all that has made it down to San Diego. Just be content to know that most natives of California don't know what those guys are saying half the time.
     
  7. Aug 31, 2005 #6
    "Lousy immigants, don't even learn to speaks the language proper" - Moe from the Simpsons.

    PS
     
  8. Aug 31, 2005 #7

    loseyourname

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    Wasn't it eventually revealed that Moe wasn't even a US citizen, or is my memory playing tricks on me?

    On the plus side, Clausius, you'll understand most of what the very numerous Spanish speakers are saying, even though most of them speak Spanish like the gypsies from Snatch speak English. You'll be living like 20 miles of so from Mexico (oh yeah, "like" is another big slang word in California, although it's getting to be a little archaic in slang years).
     
  9. Aug 31, 2005 #8
    Oh Yeah....... I have a picture in my head of Moe getting deported on a boat with a fake moustache.

    He still made it back for the next episode though!!!
     
  10. Aug 31, 2005 #9

    loseyourname

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    Here's a short list:

    Pisser/Crapper/etc. - Toilet.
    Wetbacks - Mexican immigrants, usually illegal (reference to swimming across the Rio Grande). Note: Mexicans themselves will often refer to illegals as "moes," shortened from "mojado."
    Beaners - People of Mexican descent, but not necessarily immigrants (I warn you of these because people will think you're Mexican).
    Crackers - White people, especially white trash (which is itself a slang term which is to whites what n*gger is to blacks).
    Hicks/Rednecks/Hillbillies/etc. - Usually in reference to American southerners, especially rural folk, but can mean any kind of white trash.
    Scrubs - The lowest level of any group of persons (similar to 'grunts' in the Army - low-level infantrymen). It was originally used to refer to "strikebearers," or non-union workers that would take the jobs of the union workers when they went on strike. It is mostly prevalent in sports culture these days, and refers primarily to the guys that never get off the bench. It was also popularized by TLC in their song "No Scrubs," referring to men with no "game."
    Game - The ability to woo a woman.
    Birds - Women.
    Pigeons - Really nasty women that no one wants (in reference to the fact that a pigeon is the lowest form of bird).
    Skank/Hoe/Tramp - Any kind of dirty/nasty women as well, although it is generally specialized to sluts, which are women that are really "easy" (to get into bed, that is).
    Chink - Asian person of Chinese descent.
    Gook - Asian person of southeastern descent (especially Vietnam).
    Boner/Hard-on/Woody - An erection.
    Morning Wood - The erection that men often get in the morning.
    Minuteman - A man that doesn't last long in sex.
    Goth - People that usually dress in all black, wear pale makeup and dark eyeliner, listen to The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, etc.
    Emo - Dumb teenage kid that is sad all the time and listens to emo music (which is somewhat hard to define, but is characterized by despair over breaking up with women and constantly being sad).
    Greaser - People that like to dress in the 50's outlaw style a la the film musical Grease.
    Swingers - Can refer either to people that enjoy swing music/dancing or people that engage in wife-swapping and orgy parties, etc.
    Mallrats - People that hang out at malls for no particular reason.
    Boss/Cool/Sweet/Killer/Tight/etc. - An emphatic way of expressing approval for something. Each has a more specialized usage that you don't really need to know - you'll learn the nuances eventually.
    Down-low - Secretive, quiet. Note: This is not used as an adjective, but as an imperative (i.e. "Keep it on the down low").
    Tweaker - A person that uses speed (methamphetamine).
    Stoner - A person that uses weed/reefer/pot, all slang terms for marijuana.
    Alky - A person that drinks compulsively (shortened from "alcoholic").
    Lush - A person that drinks excessively, but only as a social drinker.
    Fairy/Queer - A homosexual male.
    Friend of Dorothy - Archaic and infrequently used, but also a reference to a homosexual male. Derived from Dorothy, the character played by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, as gay men stereotypically are fans of her music.
    Queen - The man who plays the role of a female in a male homosexual relationship.
    Butch - The man who plays the role of a man in a male homosexual relationship.
    (Note: These roles are not inflexible and do not represent general rules, but rather stereotypes.)
    Dyke - A homosexual female.
    Bull-dyke - A particularly manly homosexual female.
    The 818 and The 909 - The San Fernando Valley, and Riverside County, respectively, in referennce to the area codes in those regions. Those are the only two areas I can think of that are referred extensively by their area code. "The 909" in particular is often seen as a derogatory, as the inhabitants of Riverside County are the rednecks of California, looked down upon by the rest of the state. To a lesser extent, the inhabitants of Northern and Central California (especially the rural areas) are looked down upon by Southern Californians. The monikers SoCal, CenCal, and NorCal are used to refer to these regions in shorthand.
    Bling, Bling - Any piece of extravagant jewelry, or just riches in general. Note: "Bling, blingin'" is also used as a verb, to mean that a person is openly flaunting riches of some sort, or just living the high life and loving it.
    Robbing the Cradle - The practice of dating, and especially having sex with, something much younger than oneself.
    Jailbait - A girl under the age of 18 (the legal age of consent) that is extremely attractive and makes you want to commit statutory rape.
    187 - Murder, as in "187 on a muthaf*ckin' cop." From the LAPD code for a murder. 212, used less frequently as slang, refers to a robbery. 212 is also sometimes used to refer to Manhattan, as that is the area code there.
    Freaking - A kind of dance where the male humps the female rhythmically from behind. This term is also used to refer to men that come on to women very strongly (although this usage is becoming very rare) and to dry-humping in general.
    Grooving, Popping, Breaking - All various forms of urban dance.
    Kick-Back - In general, this simply means to relax, but high-school and college age kids in California use this term to refer to specific kind of party that is usually held during the day, that doesn't necessarily involve loud music or dancing. Often times, people just get together to drink and "shoot the sh*t" (which means to engage in small talk).
    Off the hook - An adjective meaning that something is very happening. "That party was off the hook. That girl is off the hook."
    Off the heezy - Also means off the hook.
    Off the hizzle - Also means off the hook.
    Off the hizzle fo shizzle - Off the hook for sure.
    Fo shizzle ma nizzle - For sure, my n*gga.
    ("Off the heezy fo sheezy" and "fo sheezy, ma neezy" are also used.)
    Kicks - Shoes.
    Ride - A car.
    Lid - A hat.
    Baller - Has several uses, the most prominent of which is a basketball player. It is also frequently used to refer to a man that gets a lot of women very easily.
    Uncle - "I quit" or "I give up."
    Ghetto fabulous - Something that is overblown and tacky in style, in a parody of inner-city black women that will wear very long nails or hair weaves or extravagant gold jewelry pieces that just look ridiculous.
    Gnarly/Tubular - Variants of "sweet," "radical," etc, that are used specifically in surfer culture. Both terms refer to wave characteristics (large waves are often tubular in shape and can result in rather gnarly accidents). Neither is widely used any more.
    Bush/Muff/Beaver - Specifically, female pubic hair, but more generally, female genitalia.

    Anyway, I'm sure I can come up with more later. One of the big advantages you'll have is that, since southern California is the center of the American film/television/musics industries, the slang from that region is used everywhere in the country.
     
  11. Aug 31, 2005 #10

    arildno

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    You need a bit of correction here:
    "Queen" is used to designate an effeminate (gay) male; butch occasionally used for a masculine (gay) male.

    However, you (as a straight person, that is) can by no means figure out who's the "top" and who's the "bottom" by this.
     
  12. Aug 31, 2005 #11
    Cali. Maybe listen to some old school dre and snoop dogg, maybe a bit of 2pac as well.

    btw, "Que Pasa" is something I hear, and say, in the US all the time :smile:

    Ohh yeah, and check out www.urbandictionary.com

    They have a ton of slang on there.
     
  13. Aug 31, 2005 #12

    loseyourname

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    I tried to note that these were simply clues as to the derivation of these terms, and they didn't necessarily reflect the actual roles of the men in the relationship.

    By the way, I almost always can tell (don't ask how I've verified my guesses, just trust me on this). I practically grew up in West Hollywood and, culturally speaking, I am in many ways more gay than straight. I'm certainly well-versed in the Los Angeles gay scene, and the scene in Hillcrest, La Jolla, and the other predominantly gay neighborhoods in San Diego isn't all that different. It could just be that gays around here are so comfortable with it that they practically advertise the role they like to play. Everything about the gay culture here is a bit exaggerated. I don't know what it's like elsewhere in the world.

    Again, please note that I'm not saying this is going to be an accurate reflection of every homosexual male in southern California, or even in the LA area. This is just what I know from my very extensive experience (which includes small levels of experimentation, if you must know).
     
  14. Aug 31, 2005 #13

    arildno

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    Ok, this was just a standard reaction from me.
    I guess I was the one being too hasty with making assumptions..
     
  15. Aug 31, 2005 #14

    Clausius2

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    That list is great, lyn!!!!

    I am going to study it by heart. Although I think I wouldn't dare to speak them, I will be warned if I hear them. Also I am going to give you the correspondence in spanish of some of them:

    Pisser/Crapper/etc. - Meadero, Retrete, Water.
    Scrubs - Matao (This guy is a scrub, Este tipo es un matao).
    Game - is this used as: He has a great game (He has flirted with too many women)?
    Birds - Pavas
    Pigeons - Trueno (like thunder). Esta tia es un trueno.
    Skank/Hoe/Tramp - Putón Verbenero.
    Chink -Chino
    Gook - Chino (you know, we don't think they are too much different).
    Boner/Hard-on/Woody - Empalme.
    Morning Wood - Empalme mañanero.
    minuteman- I have a friend we call him "The too fast".
    Goth - Gótico
    Emo - Cursi.
    Boss/Cool/Sweet/Killer/Tight/etc. - De puta madre/vale/cojonudo/venga va.
    Tweaker - Pastillero
    Stoner - Porrero
    Fairy/Queer - Maricón/Julai
    Dyke - Tortillera
    Bull-dyke - MariMacho
    Robbing the Cradle - Triunfar
    Jailbait - Pivón
    Off the heezy - Also means off the hook. I don't understand the meaning of off the hook. I didn't caught it.
    Bush/Muff/Beaver - Conejo

    By the way, Your links are excellent, Fred and Mattmns. Thanx.
     
  16. Aug 31, 2005 #15
    How about "Hey you f*ng foreigner - get the f* out of our country or we're going to beat the living s* out of you. America for Americans!".

    If someone says that to you - it's usually not an offer of friendship.
     
  17. Aug 31, 2005 #16
    I'd like to also add that I haven't heard quite a few of loseyourname's words or phrases, either ever or in a long, long time. And some of those terms like wetback, gook, or chink are very derogatory and close to the equivalent of "nigger" for black people, and should almost never be used unless one is looking for either social banishment or a physical beating.
     
  18. Aug 31, 2005 #17

    Clausius2

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    I hope you are not referring to me. I am going to US with an added value, because all the research I'll do will be for your sake and money. I should be received with a red carpet :biggrin: .
     
  19. Aug 31, 2005 #18

    cronxeh

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    Clausius, when you are going to a grocery story and the clerk is Asian: "yo whassup homeslice, let me have some of that pinoy butter, son!" Or if the clerk is Indian (Hindu): "hello my friend, I want some love cream, thank you come again" or the clerk is Black (rare, but happens): "yo gimme your butter!"

    Regardless, never, ever, use 'shizzle' or 'nizzle' or anything with 'izzle' in your sentence with white chicks if you plan on going beyond 2nd base. It doesnt work. No, it doesnt work, again.
     
  20. Aug 31, 2005 #19

    Lisa!

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    When are you going to US? Sep. 9th?
     
  21. Aug 31, 2005 #20

    Clausius2

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    I will take it into account, despites I really don't know what does it mean.

    Exactly.
     
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