Sunday, July 31, 2005

Double clicking the mouse

One of my favourite A2 coursework projects this year was an investigation into the use of sexual slang amongst young people at our own (free) state sixth form college and our local (very expensive) private school. The student's hypothesis was that there would be a lot of difference, with the private school students having a highly distinctive slang of their own.

The findings showed that there were indeed many differences, but these were more curious than expected. There was one word used by the private school students that was never used by the sixth form college students, "cheesing" used for flirting, but the rest of the items were mutually comprehensible. However, state students generally used a much wider range of slang than the privately educated students and it tended to be more humorous. The privately educated students tended to use more clinically factual terminology, and there were some distinctly 'elevated' slang items drawn from French and Shakespeare. But the slang term that had me choking on my cuppa at the sheer genius of the data was this one: in response to the prompt, What word or phrase would you use to describe the manual stimulation of the clitoris? one of the sixth form college respondents wrote "double clicking the mouse". I still weep with uncontrollable laughter every time I look at my computer...

However, I don't suppose that one has made it into the new book of sexual slang, Dirty Words: The Story of Sex Talk by Mark Morton. It's in the nature of slang that it changes as fast as you can pin it down, and besides, that double clicking may just have been one student's moment of linguistic brilliance with no wider currency. I'd love to know... Anyway, check out these two reviews of the book.

The first, in the Guardian, is a little sniffy about Morton's prose style but at least opens with some delicious examples (though 'delicious' may be a very bad choice of word there once you've read what felching is...) and gives a link to a website that might be useful and/or banned by your school/college web-police.

The second, in the Times, is written from a rather different point of view, that of Belle du Jour the bestselling blogger who claimed to be a high class prostitute. Not much use as a book review, but a quirky and interesting take on it nonetheless - erm, especially the idea that a talent for wordplay makes you irresistible. Did you need another reason to study English Language?!!....

L is for lalochezia

I love it when you talk dirty


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