Thursday, November 13, 2014

What We Say: Trends in Popular Language


Popular language and slang intrigue me; I like to look at the deeper reasons why certain phrases or grammatical errors emerge and become widely adopted at different times. What is it in our slightly subliminal cultural consciousness that is seeking expression, growth, or healing? 

I’m jussayin. . .
Of late, there has been a progression from, “Ya know whaddah mean?” and “Ya know whaddam sayin?” to “I’m jussayin. . .”

The first two phrases seem to indicate a desire for recognition or validation for one’s point of view. Are we emerging more now as individuals seeking a greater sense of self-worth, or perhaps soul experience? Perhaps we want to feel more confident about our ability and right to have our own ideas.

Perhaps the phrases represent a desire to reach out to others for rapport or agreement—and rise out of a trend toward connecting. Connecting with others, especially via the internet and cell phones, is certainly a recent sign of a nascent awareness of how we belong to a rather familial collective consciousness.

Like the other two phrases, “I’m jussayin” is often tacked on at the end after someone has shared his or her ideas or opinions. It seems to me that this may be a step beyond the previous phrases, indicating a way to not only express oneself freely, but to be able to speak truth to power without getting flattened by unwanted repercussions. Like, “Here’s my forthright opinion; I’m not backing down from sharing it, but it’s ‘just’ my idea, not meant to be offensive, after all.” There’s a slight diplomacy involved, a little bit of humility, while at the same time the phrase serves to justify the personal statement(s).

Me, me, me. . .
The other recent development that has intrigued me (and also grated on me like fingernails on a chalkboard) is the tendency to begin sentences with the word “me.” It’s become common usage to place oneself first and say, “Me and Joe went to the ball game.” The older, more correct grammatical form is to place the other person first. “Lee and I are having lunch today.” Isn’t that considerate? Not so with, “Me first!” or “Me Tarzan, you Jane.” Thump on chest. 

It seems to me that this is another instance of people wanting to feel good about themselves, to have a greater sense of self and feeling of deservingness. It’s like saying, unconsciously, “I’m more important than you are.” Plus the fact that putting “me” first confuses everyone about the correct use of the pronouns I and me. “I” is the subject (the main actor) in a sentence, while “me” is the object (the receiver or received). “Me” is often preceded by a word like “to me,” “for me,” “from me.” Or, “I’d like you to come see me.”

Counterintuitive
Finally, I think it’s interesting that the word “counterintuitive” has suddenly gained great popularity as a “cool” word. As I’ve been writing about for years, we are now entering what I’ve termed “The Intuition Age,” and right-brained perception, intuition, and direct knowing are a sort of leading edge now in the study of knowledge and consciousness. The growing use of this word tells me that our society is giving intuition a nod, even though, in my mind, the word is being used to mean something it doesn’t.

Counterintuitive is used to mean, “It’s not what we think it should be.” Basically it’s the same as saying something is illogical. Most people have not left the left brain to feel into what is real or true at a core level in the right brain. To me, counterintuitive means to override your intuition, or your gut feel, to go against your deeply felt inner knowing  and instinct—not to go against what you and society believe or think. It’s counterintuitive to get on the plane after you dreamed the plane was going to crash. It’s counterintuitive to take a job that makes your body contract into a knot when you think of doing it. It’s counterintuitive to not call your friend after you’ve spontaneously thought about her three times in the last few days.

Language is such an important part of aligning our physical reality with our inner energetic-spiritual reality. The words you use serve to shape your reality; they act as a magnet that attracts an exactly parallel inner pattern of energy and consciousness. It pays to put some thought into what you say because “Your word is law” in your reality.

Copyright Penney Peirce 2014

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