What Happened to My Language?


If you are of a ‘certain age’ like myself, you might have noticed that our language is changing, slowly but surely. Sometimes, when chatting with young people, I use words that they don’t understand. It’s not that they are uneducated or anything like that; its more that sometimes the words I’m using are not part of their vocabulary.

A couple of weeks ago my son had some friends over for his birthday. They were all sitting in the basement chatting and listening to music on someone’s Ipod. Yes, on that little tiny Ipod with the tinniest sound imaginable. It was on the coffee table and they were all huddled around it. Feeling sorry for them, I offered them my ghetto blaster and a connecting cord that would play the Ipod through it. It would give better sound, I told them, as well as more volume. After all, aren’t we all into volume?  They didn’t know what a ghetto blaster was. I mean, they were all at least 19 years old; are ghetto blasters so old that they were obsolete in their lifetime? (Maybe it’s me that is obsolete)  I brought out my ghetto blaster, connected it up and they listened to their music through my machine for the rest of the evening, amazed that such a dinosaur of a machine could produce good music.



And then the other day on Canada AM, they were talking about board games as being a fun way to spend an evening with family or friends. Jeff mentioned that the young people didn’t know what a board game was. Saywhatt? You know, you open a box and take out the board, unfold it, put out all the pieces and play according to the printed instructions, often written on the inside of the cover. Remember Monopoly, Sorry, Yahtzee, Clue and Snakes and Ladders? How about Balderdash, Risk, and Scrabble? I guess that in this day and age of technology, kids play alone on the computer, with cyber friends, not out of a box with friends and family they can see, and laugh with.


I remember a few years ago substitute teaching at an elementary school in Quebec. The children were excited about something or other and I had a hard time to get them working. So I said to them, “Why can’t you just obey?” The room became silent as I looked over their blank faces. One of them asked me what ‘obey’ was. So I explained that it meant ‘doing as you are told’. They had never heard of that word before.

Or was it not politically correct to use the word ‘obey’?

Do you know of any other terms that have become obsolete in your own lifetime?


Now the other day I was listening to the radio and they kept talking about a ‘Ted Talk’.  I’d really like to know what that is. I feel like I’ve been pwned.

12 thoughts on “What Happened to My Language?

  1. In Texas, we never used the term “ghetto blaster” – it was “jam box”! BTW, since you’ve been walking down memory lane, you should find a recent show about the 1980’s – The Decade that Made Us. Not sure where it might be found on Canadian TV, though.


  2. Ok, maybe my kids are strange but they do play board games from time to time. My oldest (15 y/o) isn’t a big fan but will play with the family so we can spend time together. My youngest loves them, he is 13. In fact he is constantly asking us to play Monolpoly. Love the game but it takes forever to play. Perhaps we should invest in more borad games, some that don’t take two days to play!


  3. Eileen MacDonald

    I agree manners and common are decency not keeping up. We desparately need to bring back manners. I think there would be less bullying, less crime, more famiy time and more work accomplished.


  4. Omg,TedTalk??????????????? Give me a good old 8 track and a deck of cards for Tarabish and I’m good for the night! lol!!
    I don’t dare mention 78 vinyl either and I”m not referring to my waist in a pair of vinyl pants !!!
    Enjoy the day !!


  5. TED talks are really great. You should watch Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk on a new way to think about creativity…. It’s amazing.


  6. In laymans terms ‘Ted talks’ are just a series of talks (on youtube) by important people filmed in front of an audience. here’s a good one – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0KYU2j0TM4
    I remember “ghetto blaster!” haven’t heard that in ages! I used to teach English to kids in Italy and had to explain what a “walkman” was!
    I think board games are great and more families with kids should play them. Tonight I had dinner at a restaurant with a friend and her 3 teenage daughters and all they did was text or play games at the table – so impolite, but this seems to be the norm! Sad.


    • Oh, ‘walkman’ is another one! Don’t you love those restaurants that supply board games for bored kids! Sadly, many of them would be too busy texting to use them.


      • Unfortunately common decency and manners are NOT keeping up. People have become so rude and self-important when it comes to technology and their phones. Adults should be paying more attention but they’re part of the problem.


    • Eileen MacDonald

      The youtube Ted talk mentionned above is amazing, everyone needs to listen to it. Thanks for suggesting it Cakes. The speaker makes many great points about introverts and how they are needed to cause change in the near future to our society.


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