When “hawt,” “man crush,” “duck face,” and “lolcat” are added to the Oxford English Dictionary, we should all probably worry. Guess what? It happened already.
Back in December, Oxford Dictionary announced that those words and many more popular terms for eating, gaming and taking pictures of one’s self as well as one term for a person who gives tickets, “sticker licker,” would be official dictionary terms. Call me cray (i.e. crazy), but no one says “sticker licker.”
How does the Deaf community handle these new slang terms?
Online publication Hopes & Fears sent a list of nine popular terms to American Sign Language (ASL) artist, actor, educator and ASL Slam coordinator Douglas Ridloff and one of his students Tully Stelzer, 12, in February. Stelzer also appears in an ASL version of Pharrell’s “Happy” (see below). Hopes & Fears recorded both Ridloff and Stelzer’s interpretations to terms such as “photobomb,” “five-second rule,” “food coma,” and “onesie.” Each had a slightly different interpretation, some more literal than others at times.
DOUG: […] What do you think of “onesie?”
TULLY: I never use that word. I think it’s a popular word now, I mean it’s popular in fashion, but I just did, “I put on one item.” That was my sign.
DOUG: I went to pajamas. Like you said, it’s sort of a new term for me, I guess I’m behind in fashion. I guess I’m going to have to catch up with my reading.
-Excerpt from interview with Hopes & Fears
Bill Vicars, president and owner of ASL education website, Lifeprint, told Hopes & Fears that there is no “official” ASL website. When I searched for “official ASL website,” for example, Google thought I ment “official ALS website.” With no government ASL site, private groups for the deaf and hard of hearing create their own sites such as Lifeprint and civil rights organization National Association of the Deaf.