Monday, July 30, 2007

Family Slang

I was thinking the other day about the unique phrases and words which families develop, they are like the in-jokes that form between friends only more so; they are often passed around the extended family, handed down through generations. Most interestingly, because they are treated as normal by the older generation, the younger generations of a family often take a long time to even realise that they aren't common parlance. A cousin of mine, for example used one of these phrases amongst some friends and was embarrassed and surprised to find that none of them had ever heard them before. The words and phrases I've written out below are a just a few notable examples of the vocabulary that I'm pretty sure is unique to my family

Pelly Bags- A bag, usually a supermarket carrier bag, which is filled with clutter and jammed into a cupboard prior to a party – these bags are usually packed haphazardly and with little attention paid to the contents – many a valuble item has been Pelly bagged, forgotten, and declared lost, only to turn up in a cupboard years later. Named after a family friend who died some years ago, whose surname was Pelly, and who described the hours leading up to the beginning of a party as being spent “running around sobbing and stuffing rubbish into plastic bags”

The Headstaggers – A disease which affects small furry animals, such as gerbils, hamsters, Guinea pigs etc. It is characterised by odd stiffness of movement and is a sure potent of the imminent death of the aforementioned furry creature.

The Strunts – Similar to the headstaggers but more generally applicable. Similarly fatal but can, however, occur in milder forms A touch of the strunts.

Fitchy-Foo – To feel 'fitchy-foo' is to be bored and restless. Also occasionally chanted to indicate boredom in a social setting. From a long dead, and very strange, distant relative who used to wander around the house mumbling 'fitchy-foo, fitchyfitchy-foo' ad infinitum when he couldn't think of anything to do.

I might add further examples when I can think of them, but these serve to illustrate my point well enough. What I'm curious to know is whether or not other people's families form similar personalized vocabulary.