I don’t mean lol or stfu, but the one-syllable versions of longer words. They’re really nothing new, just the newest form of what I think of as British schoolboy slang: think ‘fab’ and ‘brill.’
But some these new abbreves present some extra challenges for the novelist, to wit: How the aitch do you spell them?
A beautiful guy may be said to be ‘gorge’ – or is it ‘gorj’? The copy editor wanted ‘gorg,’ but that looked way wrong to me, and for my purposes, these things have to be decipherable by someone not totally hip to the truncated patois.
Those crazy kids over at Merriam-Webster did a thing recently on the shortened form of usual--
I’ll have the yoozh.
and came to no conclusion on the spelling (“yoozh” being my pick).
One of my characters (Tommy, who adores slang as much as I do) referred to a cordial break-up as being “totally mooch.” I’m not sure that’s quite right, and it probably should have ‘myooch’—but it seems to me your brain has to stop and work that one out, which kills any chance at comedy.
Here’s one I’ve wanted to use but haven’t, just because of this pesky issue of orthography—the first-syllable form of casual.
He leaned against the Maserati, looking elegant and cazh.
If you saw that, would you even have a clue? I’ve even heard a tennis announcer use it as a verb--
He cazhed the ball straight into the net.
But does that even look like English?
One way to get past the clarity problem is to make it redundant.
He was relaxed and cazh.
Maybe you’d get it that way.
Nonchalant and cazh.
Nonchalant—there’s a good one.
He looked completely nonsh, in deck shoes and a cream-colored cardigan—and nothing else.
I’ll leave you with that picture, before these spelling questions make us all totes cray.
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Chase Taylor Hackett, a budding novelist chock full of witty and insightful observations on writing. And other stuff.