It’s hella cool to be from California, brah! Sorry, you probably didn’t catch that. I was just saying that being from California is great. That’s because California comes with its own lingo. We have our own language that will distinguish the tourists from the home-grown. From surfer lingo to valley girl speak, California speak is a real thing. If you want to fit in with the locals, look no further than this article. Here are 10 phrases only people from California say!
1. “And then I was like…”
“Like” became a word adopted by the “valley girls” of California. It is part of Valley speak and has been used as a discourse marker since the ‘80’s. It was solidified in the culture through movies like “Clueless” and “Legally Blonde”, whose title characters are caricatures for the valley girl. Chances are if you hear someone use “like” in a sentence more than once, they’re probably from California.
2. “That was bomb!”
The word “bomb” in the Californian vernacular is used to mean cool or awesome. Most Californians use it in reference to food. For instance, you can hear someone say that “That burrito was bomb!” In this sense, “bomb” is meant to mean delicious or tasty. When you say something like, “That roller coaster was bomb!”, it is meant to mean that it was awesome. Californians are so intricate with their language that even our lingo has multiple meanings!
3. “Don’t get butthurt!”
No one likes a sore loser! When Californians want to describe someone who is sensitive or gets upset or angry over small things, we say they are butthurt. For example, if you are playing video games and you beat your friend who then gets mad because they lost, you can say that they got butthurt for losing at the game. See, simple!
4. “What are you tryna do?”
Originally meant to be a contraction for “trying to”, tryna has turned into a phrase meaning “would you like to?”. For instance, when used in a sentence, you can ask someone, “Tryna go to the mall?” This translates to “Would you like to go to the mall?” The phrase begins as if you were already in the middle of the action, so it is a word more often used in questions than in statements. Tryna understand how this works?
5. “I’m so stoked!”
This phrase has its origins in surfer culture. It’s meant to express their joy for something they are excited about. It is not a simple “cool” or “awesome.” No, this is meant to express exhilaration beyond belief. You would be stoked for a trip to Europe or Disneyland or even at the chance to meet your idol!
No list of California lingo is complete without the iconic “hella.” This phrase originated in the Bay Area and is meant to mean “a lot”, “very” or “really”. You can describe something as being “hella beautiful” or “hella expensive.” It adds a distinct swagger to your speech. People won’t doubt you’re from California after hearing you use this phrase.
7. “Post up! I’ll be right there!”
To “post up” means to stand around by leaning on something. It’s origins come from people you used to lean against posts so it looked like you were holding up the post, hence “post up.” Nowadays, it is used to tell people to wait around or when you are hanging out. For example, you can “post up at the mall” or ask someone to “post up,outside.”
8. “Let’s bail!”
This is a good one to know in case you are invited out somewhere you regret going. To bail is to leave a place. It can have a negative connotation like when you want to “bail” on a lame party. It could also be used in casual conversation like “I’m tired. I think I’m going to bail.” You’ll be talking like a local in no time!
9. “He got called out!”
When someone “calls you out,” they are pointing out something you did wrong. This term is often used to refer to bad behavior, but it can also be used to point out a simple mistake. For instance, “The math teacher called out his mistake on the math problem in front of the class.” I hope you never get called out for bad behavior.
10. “Can I bum a dollar?”
To “bum” is to borrow or have something. You often hear people ask to “bum a quarter” or to “bum a cigarette”. The person is asking to borrow a quarter and to have a cigarette. This slang thing gets easier as you learn to decipher the meaning behind the words!