Back in the late 2005 during my small stint at V2Solutions in Mumbai, I learned words like “nigga”, “I’ma”, and even phrases like “you is a bad nigga”. I was working as a lyrics editor for a clandestine project for Gracenote, a supplier to Apple Inc in California. It was incumbent on us to learn more words and phrases predominately used in the lyrics of West Coast Rap and East Coast Rap. That was the first when my trainer, James, introduced me to an online user-driven repository of American slangs, called Urban Dictionary.
It is interesting to learn and observe how the global language has evolved and become acceptable within certain sections of our society, outside the official recognition of the universities. Thanks to the Internet, language, indeed, is no longer confined only to a bunch of conventional usages or any official acknowledgement anymore. It is what people speak to communicate in their day to day life.
The advent of the Internet, and more importantly, the social networking sites (read Facebook), have made colloquial phrases and campus jargons far more popular that we would have ever thought back in the 90’s.
Let’s take an example of our very own home capital city. Visit any local Facebook community pages, and you’re likely to come across an abundance of comments quintessentially crafted with colloquial youth lingo i.e words and phrases straight out of city’s engineering college campuses. If you’re still wondering what these words and phrases are, you’re neither in touch with the evolving Odia language nor active on those popular local Facebook community pages.
Check these out: Kassa, Rola, Chokha, Bobal, Alga Prakar, Poka, Bampha, Nangha.
All of these words have officially dominated the Facebook community pages across the city and in fact, predominately used by the young population of Bhubaneswar.
So what’s the deal with this evolving language of the youth?
We spoke to some students of city’s engineering colleges about the origin of the phrases, and why they have become insanely popular across the college scene in the city. They concede that many believe it’s cool to use our very own language as the perfect substitute for English words like awesome, excellent, superb or killer. When you are bored of using similar English adjectives, you can find their desi substitutes emotionally more appealing and expressive.
Some believe these words were first invented in the streets of Cuttack ((Bouna Bazara Tepana Gali), and then went on to become the cult parlance among young students of engineering colleges across the twin cities. It’s possible more and more of such words (and their derivatives) are gradually entering the desi lingua franca and making it to the daily speech of our young mass.
Is this evolution of Odia language good, bad or ugly? We leave it up to our beloved readers to decide.
There are scores of Facebook communities that cry out for the preservation of Odia language, assuming the native language is dying in the face of advancement in modern technology and social evolution that inspire many to embrace the global language wholeheartedly.
With the emergence and dramatic proliferation of Odia colloquial words and phrases, I simply choose to stop worrying about the extinction of our language anymore.
By the way, the next time someone tells you, “Sanga, Kasa Heichi”, tell them to add some sugar.