Part of Nitehawk’s Back to School BRUNCH series
Saturday (September 1) and Sunday (September 2) at 12:15pm
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The 1980s were a while ago so we don’t blame you if your fluency in “Valspeak” has lapsed. To brush up on your valley girl language skills, here’s a general history and definition of Valspeak according to Language Dossier…

Valspeak is a common name for an American sociolect, originally of Southern Californians, in particular valley girls. This stereotype originated in the 1970s, but was at its peak in the 1980s and lost popularity in the late 1990s and 2000s. Though for a brief period a national fad, many phrases and elements of Valspeak, along with surfer slang and skateboarding slang, are stable elements of the California English dialect lexicon, and in some cases wider American English (such as the widespread use of “like” as conversational filler). Elements of valspeak can now be found virtually everywhere English is spoken, particularly among young native English speakers.
Qualifiers such as “like”, “way”, “as if!”, “totally” and “duh” were interjected in the middle of phrases and sentences as emphasizers. Examples:

  • As if – lit. “as if” except it does not use a subject; expresses disbelief.
  • Bitchin’ – adj. slang for excellent; first-rate. Though a derivative of “bitch”, bitchin’ is not considered profane.
  • Whatever! – short for “whatever you say”; sarcastic comeback.
  • Barf me out! – “So disgusting it makes me want to vomit.”
  • Fer shur – lit. “For sure”
  • Betch – lit. “Bitch”
  • Totally – “I agree” or “completely.”
  • Grody to the max! – “As gross as he/she/it can be.”
  • Like, oh my God – can be used many ways; expresses shock (OMG for short).
  • I’m suuure! or I’m so sure – “I’m absolutely positive,” but usually used sarcastically.
  • Tre – A synonym for “very” (derived from French “très”)
  • Trippendicular! – It can mean either “awesome” or a drug high.
  • Betty – An attractive woman.
  • So – Very; used too often and said with too much emphasis. “He’s so not cute!”
  • Baldwin – An attractive man.
  • Seriously – Frequent interjection of approval.
  • Gag me with a spoon! – expression of disgust.
  • Zlint – “excellent”, derived from the phonetic spelling of the classifieds abbreviation “Xlnt”

As regards intonation, the excessive use of high rising terminal is common in valspeak. Statements have rising intonation, causing normal declarative language to appear to the listener as interrogative. This is also known as “uptalking”.

Note: this is just a snip so by all means, learn everything by clicking here.

Then watch this sort of mind-blowing “live” performance of Moon Unit Zappa “singing” the song she co-wrote with her father FRANK ZAPPA (!) “Valley Girl” in 1982. Yeah.