Hooray! Your Teen is Bilingual!

While chauffeuring and eavesdropping on my teens chatting with their friends, I'm reminded eerily of being in a country where I don't speak much of the language. Teens have moved from using slang to speaking what's actually considered a dialect, which means they're developing the cerebral flexibility that comes with acquiring a second language.

The Urban Dictionary loosely tracks the fast-changing vocabulary of teen talk this side of the Atlantic, and the Independent reports that, thanks to (1) this ability of adolescents to move fluidly between cultures and (2) the power of music in youth culture, English-speaking teens in the U.K. are also becoming bilingual. The good news (at least for their future in the job market) is that most of them can switch back to "standard" English when need be.

While "Multicultural London English" (MLE) may have more of a Jamaican patois flavor compared to American teen-speak, I was interested by the cross-Atlantic overlap in vocabulary. Yes, I know it's ridiculous for over-the-hillers to wield teen jargon, but we should at least understand some of what they say. Gauge how many of these London street terms (with synonyms) you know, and then test your teen, or even your pre-teen:
  1. Air, Dissed, Deadout, Dead.
  2. Bait, Waste, Clown.
  3. Ballin', Flossing.
  4. Bare, Nuff, Over.
  5. Blud, Bredrin, Bruv, Cuz, Fam, Man Dem.
  6. Boyed, Chiefed, Hotted, Had Up.
  7. Brapp! Zoop! Zoop!
  8. Breading, On His Balls.
  9. Bubblin'.
  10. Bustin', Rocking, Pushing.
  11. Choong, Buff, Fly.
  12. Chops, Bling, Ice, Chaps.
  13. Clown, Joker, Wasteman.
  14. Cotch, Chill.
  15. Creps, Kicks, Boogers, Sneaks.
  16. Cussin', Burying, Burnin', Ripping.
  17. Endz, Hood, Ghetto, Road.
  18. Far.
  19. Flow, Delivery.
  20. Freestyle, Bars, Spitting.
  21. Garms, Threads.
  22. Grimy, Fierce.
  23. Grind, Struggle, Hustle.
  24. Hype, Blowing up.
  25. Jokes.
  26. Long.
  27. Reach it, Touch it.
  28. Regs.
  29. Repping, Shouts.
  30. Shiffed, Nabbed, Pulled up.
  31. Swag, Wack, Waste.
  1. Air, Dissed, Deadout, Dead: Something that's rubbish. Also used to describe being ignored. "You got air."
  2. Bait, Waste, Clown: Obvious, stupid. "You're so bait man."
  3. Ballin', Flossing: Making or having lots of money. "What you ballin' now?"
  4. Bare, Nuff, Over: Lots, many; high in quantity and quality. "I got bare jokes, man."
  5. Blud, Bredrin, Bruv, Cuz, Fam, Man Dem: Friend. "What's happenin' blud?"
  6. Boyed, Chiefed, Hotted, Had Up: Being insulted, publicly put-down or humiliated. "You got boyed!"
  7. Brapp! Zoop! Zoop!: Exclamation of approval, usually accompanied by "throwing" gun-shaped hands in the air to mimic some Jamaican badman's habit of firing gunshots in the air to show the DJ their approval. "Brapp! Brapp! That bar was heavy!"
  8. Breading, On His Balls: Sucking up to someone. "Why you breading?"
  9. Bubblin': Feeling the vibe
  10. Bustin', Rocking, Pushing: Wearing something. "My man's bustin' his trousers low."
  11. Choong, Buff, Fly: Attractive. "That girl is choooong, blud."
  12. Chops, Bling, Ice, Chaps: Jewelry. "I can't find my chops!"
  13. Clown, Joker, Wasteman: Idiot. "Shut up, clown.
  14. Cotch, Chill: To kick back and relax at home alone or with close friends, to do as little as possible. "I'm cotchin' in my crib for time."
  15. Creps, Kicks, Boogers, Sneaks: Athletic shoes. "Yo, fresh creps, blud."
  16. Cussin', Burying, Burnin', Ripping: Insulting. "Why you cussin' for?"
  17. Endz, Hood, Ghetto, Road: Local area, estate or neighbourhood. "Grime is big on the endz."
  18. Far: Shortened way of saying something is too far away or too much of a hassle to get to. Requires extra emphasis. "Deptford is far, blud."
  19. Flow, Delivery: Describes the speech pattern, speed and style used when someone raps. "His flow is tight, G."
  20. Freestyle, Bars, Spitting: Rapping without any pre-written lyrics. Nowadays used to describe lyrics that aren't in song format, not necessarily unprepared. "Drop a freestyle, man."
  21. Garms, Threads: Clothes. "Yeah, nice garms, blud."
  22. Grimy, Fierce: Positive term for something or someone that appears raw and tough, but not necessarily related to grime music. "This beat is over grimy."
  23. Grind, Struggle, Hustle: Working hard to make ends meet. "I've been grinding for time man."
  24. Hype, Blowing up: A good artist with a big fan base who is getting lots of interest. Also used to describe someone who is either excited or excitable. "This MC is hype!"
  25. Jokes: Used as an adjective to mean ridiculous or rubbish. "That show is jokes, man."
  26. Long: Overly complicated, boring, difficult or time-consuming. Requires particular emphasis. "Homework? Nah, that's long, man."
  27. Reach it, Touch it: Going to a place. "Yeah, I'm gonna reach it."
  28. Regs: Often, frequently, short for regular. "I juice on the regs."
  29. Repping, Shouts: An MC will represent or big up their area or crew to show they have not forgotten where they have come from. "I'm repping my endz, blud."
  30. Shiffed, Nabbed, Pulled up: Caught by the Police, arrested. "I got shiffed outside the KFC."
  31. Swag, Wack, Waste: Not very good, rubbish. "That's swag."


1-10: Swag.
10-20: Bubbling.
20-31. Fierce.

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