Computerguy and I went out to lunch yesterday. He took me to a new-ish place he had discovered: Korean/Mexican Fusion Cuisine. The menu is full of Korean flavored meat, kimchi, tortillas, and refried beans. I had the Super Nachos with Korean barbecued beef (and refried beans, guacamole, aioli, and a few other flavors). CG had Spicy Pork Sandwiches on hawaiian rolls. I think his was better. I have to admit, if I have Korean flavored meat, I’d rather have it on rice. Give me carne asada on those nachos. But it was fun and interesting. My palate just didn’t know what to do with it,
I found myself describing to CG the “Spanish Jiaozi” (potstickers) we used to make in Taiwan. We put taco meat and cheese in a jiaozi wrapper and deep fried them. It’s kind of the opposite of what this restaurant offered.
Over lunch, we talked about words, always one of our favorite conversation topics. CG told me about an NPR story he had heard about the use of “yo” in Baltimore as a gender neutral pronoun. So instead of he/she, it’s yo. For years (like 500) informally people use the plural “they/them/their” for a singular gender neutral pronoun, but prescriptive grammarians get uptight about that. I have become less so. There’s also he/she or s/he, but it’s awkward. I tend to switch the whole sentence, pronoun and antecedent, to the plural to compensate. Anyway, it’s a useful word, but, as the story says, a pronoun being added to an established language would be surprising.
I followed his “yo” story up with the article I had been pointed to about another surprising addition to the language, a conjunction. Nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives get added to languages frequently. Function words like pronouns and conjunctions, not so much. This is the word–not the punctuation mark, mind you, but the word–“slash.” I tend to overuse the either/or slash in writing, but this, while it seems to stem from that, goes beyond it, connecting related phrases and clauses, not just words. Students are evidently actually writing the slash out as one might say it in conversation. One example from the essay: Does anyone care if my cousin comes and visits slash stays with us Friday night? I haven’t seen it yet, but now I’m looking.
Yep. That’s what Computerguy and I talk about over lunch at the Korean slash Mexican fusion cuisine place.