When I first heard of the word or phrase “I have a beef with you” I thought that the person was referring to an actual piece of meat – little did I know that it meant – either an argument, a problem, or a situation, that was setting the stage for a fight. I was listening to the person speaking of this “beef” and could not make sense of it. It wasn’t until later, when the conversation had progressed, that “the beef” became much clear.
This made me think that first, I had to brush (a lot) in today’s slangs and second, that we are living in a different world, where language, culture and technology intermix with disregard of time or motive. It used to be that generations had a bit of time to learn to understand the new slang, and the new slang had a purpose or a motive. A new slang word appeared and it was used and abused, and you were forced to learn it, want it or not. Today, slang seems to appear out of the sudden and take you by surprise; there is no prelude to it, no big announcements of the generation using it, and no warning that it is here. It is as if language has taken a dangerous personality, and one that may appear in the most unexpected places. An example of this is when today, while watching the morning news, the newscast member reading the headlines used the word Beef. However, this time, I knew what it meant.