Here in Southern California, we’re all practically one big clique of friends. We understand each other in ways East-Coasters can only dream. And do you know why? Because we have our own lingo and colloquialisms that are as “gnarly” as they are ergonomic. By truncating unnecessarily long words to mostly monosyllables, we make fewer facial expressions, and therefore maintain our immaculate and wrinkle-free skin. Crows feet are for losers.


If you’re not from So Cal, then you might be gnashing your teeth at the fact that, yes, we like to use “like,” “totally,” “hella,” “hecka” (for the pure-minded), “fresh,” “ballin,” “rad,” “poppin,” “psyched,” “trippin,” “sketchy,” “butt hurt” (figurative, not literal), “yolkin it” (a wry way of intimating steroid use without outrightly saying it) and the all-time classic “dude,” among many other words/phrases, in daily discourse.


For the uninitiated, “dude” spawned from surf culture, and “like” originated in the San Fernando Valley before becoming a worldwide phenomenon. The latter was originally inspired by our love of similes, but has since been used as a stopgap during conversational dead time to disguise dead brain cells. For that reason, or in spite of it, we are a joyous bunch, and have a multitude of words to underscore how “stoked” we really feel. Of course, there are those who “bogart” the fun for the rest of us, but not for long, because they are unceremoniously banished to Northern California.


Even worse are the ones who try to ride our “bodacious” bandwagon, only to be quickly exposed as posers. We unanimously pity the charlatans who don’t even bother to Google our lexicon, and instead use words not socially-proofed nor peer-reviewed, such as “Cali,” “The ‘Bu” and “The O.C.” It may be hard to believe, but we Southern-Californians actually sound out all of “California” “Malibu” and “Orange County.” And seriously, what’s up with “The” prefacing the last two? Go ahead and add “The” before the name of your city and realize how absurd it sounds!





Imaan Jalali