Definitions

bag some rays

Valspeak

Valspeak is a common name for a now partially universal American sociolect, originally of Southern Californians, in particular valley girls. This stereotype originated in the 1970s, but was at its peak in the 1980s and lost popularity in the late 1990s and 2000s. Though for a brief period a national fad, many phrases and elements of Valspeak, along with surfer slang and skateboarding slang, are stable elements of the California English dialect lexicon, and in some cases wider American English (such as the widespread use of "like" as conversational filler). Elements of valspeak can now be found virtually everywhere English is spoken, particularly among young native English speakers.

The term "Valley Girl" and the Valley manner of speech was given a wider circulation with the release of a hit single by Frank Zappa entitled "Valley Girl," on which Moon Zappa, Frank's fourteen-year-old daughter, delivered a monologue of meaningless phrases in "valspeak" behind the music. This song, Frank Zappa's only Top 40 hit in the United States, popularized phrases such as "grody to the max". Some of the terms used by Moon were not actually Valley phrases, but were surfer terms instead (such as "tubular" and "gnarly"). But due to the song's popularity, some of the surfer phrases actually entered the speech of real Valley teens after this point. The Los Angeles surfing subculture, on the other hand, did not generally begin using the Valley terms, and in fact often despise users of the terms.

Valspeak is used heavily in the 1995 film Clueless and quite a lot in Wayne's World. The character of Tiffany Blum-Deckler in MTV's Daria also uses Valspeak.

Intonation

  • Excessive use of high rising terminal. Statements have rising intonation, causing normal declarative language to appear to the listener as interrogative. Also known as "uptalking" or the "moronic interrogative."

Emphasizing phrases

"totally", "so totally", "Totes"

  • Meaning: "very" or "really"
  • Usage: Can be used anywhere in a sentence, even in syntactically awkward positions (e.g. before verbs)
  • Examples: "I totally paused!", "He so totally said that to her!"

"like"

  • Meaning: Indicates that an approximation follows, rather than a precise description or verbatim quote. "I was like 'Oh my God!' " means "I said something like 'Oh my God!' or otherwise indicated my suprise." Preparing listeners for less precision facilitates Valspeak's traditionally high speed.
  • Usage: Quotative particle.
    • Example: "She was like 'oh my gawd you have to see this', but I was like, 'shut up! you're kidding!'"
  • Usage: Filled pause or hedge.
    • Example: "Her new hat is like, a greeny-brown color."

"why"

  • Usage: Added for emphasis, but has no particular meaning.
  • Example: "Oh, why, that came out of nowhere!"

"duh!"

  • Meaning: "Everybody knows that!", "Obviously!", etc.
  • Usage: Usually said with heavy emphasis, often while rolling your eyes. Commonly begins a sentence or phrase, or is its own sentence.
  • Example: "Haven't I heard that before?" "Duh, it's like a famous quote!"

"As if!"

  • Meaning: "You are wrong", "It's not going to happen", "You wish", etc.
  • Usage: Used in its own sentence, usually to contradict the previous sentence or demonstrate skepticism: "As if (I would ever do that!)".
  • Example: "You expect me to wear that? As if!"

"What-ever!"

  • Meaning: "I don't believe you", "I don't care", etc.
  • Usage: Used as a complete sentence to dismiss a topic, often during situations where the person delivering the phrase understands that the argument is lost or pointless. Special emphasis is placed on "Ever". It is used as an often weak comeback to other's insults.
  • Example: "You're, like, so totally out of nail polish? What-EVER!"

"Worst (something) ever!"

  • Meaning: Short for "This is the worst (something) I have ever seen!"
  • Usage: Usually said with significant pauses between each word.
  • Example: "Worst. Movie. Ever (sometimes written as "evar")!"

"so", "like", "OK", "you know", "or something"

  • Usage: Usually used as fillers with no particular meaning.
  • Example: "So OK, I was totally like, you know, 'I have no idea' or something!"

"I know right?!"

  • An interrobang of agreement.
  • Example: Person1: "Ugh, those UGGs are so 2005" / Person2: "I know right?"

(Also see Vocabulary below.)

Other characteristics

The dialect can often be distinguished by its intonation, and by its pharyngealisation of certain consonant sounds, particularly the "L" and rhotic "R" sounds occurring in the coda. Pharyngealisation is rare in the English language and its presence here is possibly unique within American English, though it is detectable in similar circumstances in some variants of Irish English and Scottish English.

Vocabulary

Word Definition
Airhead An intellectual lightweight
Awesome Very good (e.g. "That movie was totally awesome!")
Barf To vomit
Baldwin Handsome boy or man (from the Baldwin brothers)
Barf bag Jerk
Bummer An expression of disappointment; an unpleasant or disappointing experience
Barney The Flintstones character Barney Rubble) Ironically[[WP:EDITORIAL>[editorial opinion]]], the term for an attractive man is 'Baldwin' referencing the Baldwin Brothers, one of whom, Stephen Baldwin, played Barney Rubble in a movie production of the Flintstones. In other contexts, the term "Barney" is used to refer to police officers; in that case, it derives from Barney Fife.
Betty Beautiful girl or woman (stated on the Whatever! DVD edition that the term 'betty' comes from The Flintstones character Betty Rubble, however, according to the magazine The Betty Pages, the term was used by US soldiers during the Korean War))
Bitchin' Cool (aesthetic)
Bro Brother, meaning friend or dude
Buggin' Freaking out (usu. mildly)
Bum Another word for "to borrow" (e.g. "Can I bum a cigarette?")
Ding Dong Originally slang for a penis
Dude General term for a male, but may also be used in a derogatory manner, or to get someone's attention
Dweeb Nerd and Loser
Cake(r) A term meaning full of shit (e.g You're so frickin full of shit) or talking utter rubbish (shit)(e.g Why are you talking cake?).
Classic Great
Fiesta Party
Fer sure! Certainly
Fetch Fetch isn't happening.
For real Expression of absolute certainty
Frick A word to substitute fuck or to mean really (very) (e.g it was like frickin amazing)
Gag me (with a spoon) That's disgusting (from a method of inducing vomiting)
Gnarly Good, Great
Grody Disgusting (e.g. grody to the max) (from "grotesque")
Gross Disgusting
I know, right? Affirmative
I'm like... (When talking about yourself) emphasis placed on the "li" in "like."
I'm so sure! (spoken sarcastically) I don't believe you.
Joanie Unhip girl (from the Joanie Cunningham character on Happy Days)
Later Goodbye
Later days or Later dates Goodbye (Usually said by Tino at the end of each episode of Disney's The Weekenders)
Loadie Stoned boy or girl
Mondo Large or extremely (i.e. a "mondo mess") (from Latin "mundus" or Romance derivatives meaning world or universe)
Monet Someone (or thing) that looks good from afar, but up close it's a total mess. (e.g., "That hag is a full-on Monet!")
Postal To go insane/freak out/bug (as in "going postal".)
Psych!/Psyke!/Sike! Just kidding. Also, "psyched" means "enthusiastic" ("I'm so psyched about the going to the game!")
Rad Very cool (from "radical")
Rays Sunlight. (e.g., "I'm going to the beach to catch some rays.") See UVs.
[I know] Right?/Right on Used as bland filler when there is lack of interest or content for a response or to express agreement with indifference or cockiness. (e.g. "I went to the beach today because it was so hot, and it seemed like everybody was there!" "I know, right?"; "Hey bro I found 20 bucks under the seat of my car!" "Right on!")
Scarf To eat, usually very quickly (e.g., "I totally scarfed that burger!")
Sketchy Weird/suspicious (e.g., "that guy looks sketchy"; "I dunno, you were acting kind of sketchy about [x]."
Spaz A hyperactive nerd/geek/klutz/a confused person. (e.g., "That guy is a total spaz!") (from spastic)
Sweet! Used to express excitement, satisfaction, camaraderie, happiness for another person/thing/event. (e.g., Dude I like totally dicked a Betty today! Sweet!) Strong emphasis and elongation of the Es Sweet.
To the max More of the preceding adjective (e.g. grody to the max). "Max" being short for maximum.
Tripendicular/Trippindicular Awesome; literally “a triangle with three perpendicular sides”, a geometric impossibility in Euclidian/plane geometry (it is possible in spherical geometry), therefore synonymous with "unbelievable”; the stressing of the first syllable is by association with “trip”, referring to the experience felt while under the effects of hallucinogenic drugs.
Tubular Very cool (from the feeling of surfing "the tube", or an area of a wave where it forms a complete, closed tube).
UVs Ultraviolet radiation, the property in natural sunlight that causes skin to tan. (e.g. I'm heading down to the beach to get some UVs.)
to Veg (out) To rest, with an emphasis on little or any mental activity, (from "vegetate"). Pronounced "vedge".
Way Used as an adverb for emphasis. (e.g. "That was way cool"); also meaning "yes" (e.g. in response to the exclamation of disbelief "No way!", the response "Way!")

References

See also

External links

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