Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

English’s strangest speech trends

Zachary Phillips


The English language is full of bizarre trends that are better off forgotten.

Whether it was an ecstatic “Booya!” after scoring a soccer goal, or ending an argument with the ever-sassy “Talk to the hand,” English speakers have had their fair share of dark days in regards to speech trends.

Some would argue that those days of shame are long passed. Make no mistake, the English speaker’s days of trial have only just begun.

As undeniable proof, here are some of the English language’s more current quirks currently taking college campuses by storm.


First rearing its ugly head around 2009, the hashtag has since broken free of its technological shackles and stowed away inside the mouths of today’s youths.

Someone saying “hashtag sorry-not-sorry” when they are feeling flagrantly unapologetic.

A “hashtag looking good” when they are really feeling themselves and don’t care who knows.

Some say the verbal hashtag is pointless and trite. I say it’s a disillusioned generation’s attempt to create a sense of solidarity through spoken shared experiences.

Spoken Punctuation

“‘House of Cards’ question mark?” my roommate asked as we both pondered how to responsibly manage our free-time.

“Conversation over. Period,” I said, because securing the final word with “blackout no whiteout” is just plain childish.

Oddly enough, the speaker tends to maintain the inflection that signifies the spoken punctuation. There’s a fine line between unmistakable clarity and redundancy, and the spoken punctuation mark walks that line like a pro.

Odd Abbreviations

The latest craze in quirky speech trends is to butcher normal words into tongue twisting abbreviations.

Some people have an innate understanding for such abbreviations. I myself have had about as much success as Adolf Hitler on a conference call with a Comanche Code Talker.

My favorite abbreviation that I’ve encountered thus far happened just yesterday as I was getting a haircut. The stylist told me that my hair was looking “gnar-gnar-binks.” In addition to being gnarly, my hair resembled a half-man half-sea monkey creature from the “Star Wars” universe.

Zachary Phillips can be reached at [email protected] or @ZachSPhillips on Twitter.

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