Can You Talk The Talk?
"The most overused word in Summit County is the word epic," says Jeremy Vail, a 28-year-old shop manager talking from his business phone at Recycle Ski and Sport, where he has earned the reputation as a descriptive talker because he talks like he's not from Summit County, Colorado. Is there a lingo that makes our world a distinct little entity all unto itself?
According to Barbara Hawkins, a professor of languages and education at Columbia University's Teachers College in New York, there is no set amount of time for the acquisition of a new language or lingo. She says that in academic circles, words like noodly, steezey and gnar-gnar are called "chunks," and the time it takes to incorporate such chunks into a vocabulary can range from a few months, to a few years to never at all. "Usually (chunks are) learned within a social context, and the goal is for interaction," says Professor Hawkins. "They give people an entry point into the society-'It's not inevitable that new arrivals will acquire new colloquialisms, but people who want to fit in with the local culture are more apt to take it on."
This article, written by Andrew Tolve, appeared in the January 26th, 2006 publication of the Summit Daily News.
Published Saturday, Jan. 28, 2006