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On Mainstream Tradition’s Embrace of Queer Language


Selecting the phrase of the yr should be like selecting your favourite mayonnaise for anybody who does not actually work in writing or fields centered round language. For these of us who do work in these fields, it is a snapshot of the present cultural second, a window into what was essential to us in a yr. For 2022, the American Dialect Society has chosen the suffix “-ussy” because the phrase of the yr.

“-ussy” as in:

In fact-ussy comes from pussy, however we weren’t actually ussifying something till the phrase bussy stepped onto the scene. That is when individuals, primarily queer individuals, began saying issues like “Ethel put her complete Cainussy into Ptolemaea!!!”

(Are you able to inform I am a brand new Ethel Cain fan?!)

What this demonstrates to me is the ability queer individuals have to maneuver the tradition. Like we acquired Beyonce saying “cunty” on an album. That is energy.

The official press launch for the choice reads:

“For extra on the -ussy phenomenon, see the Vulture article by Bethy Squires, ‘We Requested Linguists Why Individuals Are Including -Ussy to Each Phrase’: ‘Riffing off ‘bussy’ (a portmanteau of ‘boy’ and ‘pussy’) , now every part is a cat or a cavity. A calzone is a pizzussy. A wine bottle has a winussy.’ See additionally Michael Dow’s scholarly paper, ‘A corpus examine of phonological components in novel English blends.’”

It is humorous, I believe when most individuals consider linguists, they consider very critical and stodgy males, however this additionally demonstrates that the sphere is extremely depending on popular culture and what in any other case younger and funky individuals are speaking about.

There are such a lot of nice examples of -ussy in motion, however after all, Twitter is now flooded with individuals speaking about this resolution, making it virtually unattainable to search out them. I searched the Vulture article referenced for some good ones however was shocked by the creator’s assertion that this phenomenon is annoying.

Quite the opposite, I discover it fairly pleasant! There is not a lot about language popularized by queer those that I discover annoying. As a common rule, we type of transfer the needle on what’s sizzling and what is not, what’s enjoyable and what is not. LGBTQ individuals developing with methods to explain how their favourite middle-aged actress or fresh-faced pop singer is shitting on the competitors is endlessly humorous to me.

I really like language, I really like watching memes type, ussification comes alongside one other well-liked meme of gays saying issues like:

“Keyshia Cole had one likelihood, the lights had been off, hire was due” after which posting a clip from a tune launched in 2008.

I’ll maintain hammering house how humorous I believe that is, however there’s additionally a facet I fear about.

We have seen with AAVE that language by and from a selected group can simply be co-opted by the tradition at giant. One factor I at all times take into consideration is how “fuck round and discover out” was Black vernacular for a very long time and now there are 1,000,000 examples of white individuals utilizing it with out that information. A lot AAVE will get swallowed and recategorized as “Gen Z language” and I fear the identical may occur with queer vernacular, or extra precisely, already has.

When straight individuals do use language popularized by LGBTQ individuals, it’s usually in a mocking tone. However even that spirit of degradation can flip into sincerity actual fast.

Take into consideration how sayings like “yass queen” and “slay” have been taken over by straight white girls and embroidered on pillows and tote luggage. These phrases began in Black queer tradition and once more, acquired swallowed up by the world at giant. Like I stated, beginning as a joke after which changing into honest, girl-bossy platitudes.

Whiteness comes for every part you like finally, and ruins it. Possibly straight individuals are already utilizing -ussy behind my again just like the sneaky little imps they’re. I simply need shit to remain queer, to remain ours.

Mainly, I fear that individuals will neglect the place shit comes from, y’know?

Frankly, I do not suppose most straight individuals have the wit to make-ussy humorous and campy the way in which now we have. So possibly I’ve nothing to fret about. For now, I am laughing my ass off at how individuals are using-ussy today, really laughing like a schoolgirl over it. Hopefully, it by no means ends!

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