Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Cha'ville?

I was poised to give up my attempt to write about language on Tuesdays, when NPR came with a full-frontal assault:


Verity Jennings, a recent graduate of Leeds Metropolitan University in Britain [wrote a thesis that] analyzed the popularity of the term "chavs" in hundreds of newspaper stories. While the origins of the word are murky, Jennings says "chavs" has come to refer to British young people characterized by gold jewelry and sportswear, often in a negative light. But she says references to "chavs" may also create a new sense of belonging.

From what I can gather, the closest approximation on this side of the pond is the prevailing use of "ghetto" as an adjective. And not only because Jennings mentioned Christina Aguilera as an iteration of "chav" here in the U.S.

To be fair, I'm not advocating the use of "ghetto." It's a trouble-ridden term that I generally try to avoid. But "chavs" seems like a great word. Use it liberally.

5 Comments:

Blogger t(h)om said...

does chav rhyme with bag? please provide an appropriate pronunciation key and an example sentance.

31/5/06 9:32 AM  
Blogger Stanley said...

Sorry, t(h)om. I guess you're unable (or too busy) to listen to the NPR link. It rhymes with "have."

Ex. #1: Have you seen Nigel? He's got a lot of bling. What a chav.

Ex. #2: And those shoes?! Sooo chav.

31/5/06 12:27 PM  
Blogger bikkhouschka said...

back in the day when i was doing theatre work, we used the name 'ghetto theatre' to refer to what we did because we used minimal costuming and minimal sets, we were on our own teenage broken budgets....i use the term ghetto when things are rigged-up(is that one or two g's??), for example...is that offensive? i feel that since my family was poor throughout my childhood, on a dirt road....and since i am poor now, i have a right to use that term fairly. but maybe not....

1/6/06 9:11 PM  
Blogger Stanley said...

postructurize it: I think we're talking about two different uses of "ghetto." Yours refers to something that's of inferior quality, or is put-together willy-nilly. It could be negative, but it's not necessarily. I'm using it to mean thuggish, bling-tastic, but in a somewhat negative way, but people self-identify with this form of "ghetto," too. Does that make sense?

2/6/06 12:07 AM  
Blogger bikkhouschka said...

blingtastically comprehensive.

2/6/06 1:08 PM  

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