Friday, January 23, 2009

"Grody to the Max" - The Evolution of Valspeak...

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.

The term "Valley Girl" and the Valley manner of speech was given a wider circulation with the release of a hit single by Frank Zappa entitled "Valley Girl," on which Moon Zappa, Frank's fourteen-year-old daughter, delivered a monologue of meaningless phrases in "valspeak" behind the music. This song, Frank Zappa's only Top 40 hit in the United States, popularized phrases such as "grody to the max". Some of the terms used by Moon were not actually Valley phrases, but were surfer terms instead (such as "tubular" and "gnarly"). But due to the song's popularity, some of the surfer phrases actually entered the speech of real Valley teens after this point. The Los Angeles surfing subculture, on the other hand, did not generally begin using the Valley terms, and in fact often despise users of the terms.

Valspeak is used heavily in the 1995 film Clueless and quite a lot in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, and Wayne's World. The character of Tiffany Blum-Deckler in MTV's Daria also uses Valspeak.

From the Wikipedia article for Valspeak - full article link found below:

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