How to Talk to Americans These Days

How to Talk to Americans These Days

In case you've been under a rock or stranded on an island with no bandwidth, first off - oh how I envy you! Second, there has been a bit of an election recently, the press coverage of which went on (and on) for about two decades. Throughout that time, there were words and phrases used that caught the attention of the huddled masses (ie. Americans) and are now part of the lexicon.

For anyone needing to communicate with said Americans, here's a breakdown of those words and phrases, together with the meanings lurking beneath:

Bigly - The Donald's fave word. Actually, what he seems to be saying most of the time is "Big League", but it sometimes sounds like "bigly" which is far funnier and grounds for immense mickey-taking. Have a listen and see what you think. He's been saying it for decades but according to Dr. Susan Lin, (quoted in the article), the reason for the rise of "bigly" is due to "some combination of a lot of people not knowing the phrase 'big league,' then also the fact that it's an unusual place to use that phrase in a sentence," she said. "So people are parsing it as an adverb, which would be 'bigly.'" So, if someone says "bigly", they're probably going to be a Democrat who definitely didn't vote for Donald.

Deplorable(s) - In a private fund-raiser, Hillary Clinton said "You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic -- you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people -- now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now some of those folks -- they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America." Immediately, it seemed like all of Trump's supporters were desperate to be in that basket, and they wore the moniker like a badge of honour. So now, "deplorable" and the plural noun "deplorables" are used on both sides of the political spectrum, to mean either something to be proud of, or its real meaning.

Nasty - In the third and last Presidential candidates' debate, Trump interrupted Clinton to call her a "nasty woman". Just as the Deplorables jumped all over that word, so Clinton supporters donned t-shirts claiming to be various forms of "nasty". If you hear a woman (it's usually women) saying she's nasty, she's probably telling you which way she voted and what she thinks of Trump.

Pantsuit - For some reason, men wear suits but Hillary Clinton, according to the press, wears "pantsuits". (Remember that "pants" in the USA are trousers, not underwear. Eeuuww - erase that one!) As many women before her have experienced, Clinton's appearance has always been commented on and her choice of sensible, usually cheery trouser and jacket combos caused much derision among those wishing to put her down. However, there is now a formidable movement called Pantsuit Nation, which started out as a small Facebook group and is now an organization with over three million members.

Post-truth - named by Oxford Dictionaries as 2016's word of the year on both sides of the Pond, it is defined as "relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief." In other words, politicians who say anything to rile up their supporters, never mind what the real facts are. Sound familiar?

Walk back - This is political speak for "Oops, I opened my mouth before engaging brain" or "Oops, I didn't think that very controversial statement was going to get me this much pushback". Trump, in particular, walked back several of his campaign comments, usually after being on Twitter alone in his room at 3am.

3am - speaking of....., there's a whole conversation to be had around "3am". It originated in a 2008 campaign ad by Clinton in which she questioned her opponent Obama's readiness to make crucial decisions in the middle of the night. "3am" has since been used by Trump to suggest that Clinton likes her naps and wouldn't be awake to take a call at that hour. Clinton supporters also revived the ad with a hilarious re-make suggesting that Trump would be on Twitter and would also miss the call.