jl ?^^??:Slang;.in evolution- :' -? ? -::3:i:
} The history' of slang has it that its ?i origin cair not. be: traced. '.Some say ] it originated within '.French peddler ?1 groups. , Oih&rs^say it js' much; older. [l The word jag, which originally meant I to carry an ? umbrella and then 'a load , of any. kind, 'is .'known to go back to the fifteenth-ce'rifury; Bedlam was the ? , name of an English insane1 asylum just as Sing -Sing is .the.. name of an - American prisoji. The noise and chat ter of the inmates became so obnox
ious that any riqtous demonstration , came to known, 'as a perfect bedlam. Slang goes in cycles; it evolves in ' to a many-branched tree; and it shifts ?; its social may. But.it doesn't much : enlarge its range of. 'meanings, which . seems to say ,that it is poor in ideas. 1 'Turn to aljrtost any decade and I you'll find some.. picturesque, .slang j name for, well, let's call it . 'sweet i heart.' The New York tough called i Ws girl 'me steady,' 'me rag.' The dandy of the better classes said, 'my j flame.' Well to-day there's not so ; much difference 'after all.. What do ; we have? 'My sweetie,' 'my Jane,' ; and oh, yes, I must admit 'my diimb ? flora.' Versatility, you see. What i dl(1 I say? I can think of a lot of ?! others! ? 'Then take the thought or emotion ? of hearty indorsement or unqualified : approval. Every age, it seems, has : had some kind of a slang expression 1 f°r that. Way back, in indorsing a j y°ung lady — and that is usually what is indorsed with the aid of something , lot in the dictionary — the expression S ?a'i 'she's there.' Chimmie Fadden, \ jn Bowery usage, would have put it, j she's the best ever,' and that would j nave been superlative praise. Since i | then we've, had 'she's all to the mus s's wrd, 'she's the real /roods,' she's 1 ^rr ? : — —. ? '—. ? — — — —
the real cheege,' -'she's a peach,' .a pipin,' and so on., But .lately, what have we Bad? An avalanche' from' the zoo! '.?,???. ! . . ? .' -...: .. :.... I refer to the era of the mosquito's eyebrows, the 'bee's knees,' the monkey's instep,' the 'caterpillar's kimono,' and all the rest of that school of expression which leads, us up and down from what I believe orig- inally started as the 'cat's pyjamas,' Versatility again! Sixty-two differ- ent ways of saying the same thing. Versatility but not especially origin- ality on the part of the younger gene- ration. 'We've always had sttme ' .pic turesque term in use which applies ^o a man. Take -lady killer,' 'ni'atiriee idol,' 'sheik' We hear almost' noth-. ing of the matinee idol any nVorp tod.' yet, at one ' tifne that1 descriptive was part of the vocalbulary -?f ' every young girl. The 'sheik', h' as.-. taken his ? place. It means ' virtually:: the same thing. Only the 'sheik' is the hero that came out of the a movies., while the matinee idol was;: an.. in-' stitution of the stage.; . y. , . ?? 'The terms 'dude,' 'dandy/ 'Beau Brummelli' ? 'Johnny,' 'caRe-patery! 'lounge lizard,' 'collegiate,' j- are, '.of course, not interchangeable, ibut .they are all somewhat of ithesante ilfcan'o prove that at all times we have'desig-: natedthe foibles and characteristics of young men with ? special titles.' A reason why slang is so rriuch more prevalent to-day is- becausie classes mingle so much more. Tnere are no hard-and-fast lines 'between; classes any more. We are learning to speak each other's language. And when one set takes up certain,. slang expressions, the other set: is- soon1- apt: to be trading it around. .'?:/*''. »?''?,'.'? .', '