I find it hard to talk to my teenage daughter these days as most of the time I fail to understand her language. Take for an instance; I knew the word "army" refers to the military force. Later, I came to know from her that the word attributes to the fans of a Korean band BTS. In addition, it has to be written in all uppercases.
She always watches YouTube and laughs hysterically at videos that I do not get.
The other day when she wrote in her Instagram that she is a "belieber" I corrected her saying it is "v" instead of "b". She laughed and enlightened me that what she wrote was right as it means that she is a fan of Justin Bieber.
I tried really hard and adopted few of her terms just to keep in touch with her. However, the situation is worsening during lockdown. It feels like she and her friends have invented an entire new language within this period.
A week ago she came to me running and said, "Ma do you know Sara is such a covidiot that she wants to hang out in a restaurant during lockdown." Considering the context I could sense it was something related to "idiot" but I was not sure.
Looking at my expression she became a little disappointed.
"Covidiot is someone who looks for reasons to defy lockdown or acts in a way they should not during this period. The act is idiotic during Covid-19 pandemic. The word is an amalgamation of Covid-19 and idiot," saying this she paused for a bit and said
"But how would you know? You are always so busy droomscrolling". Then she ran to her room again.
I kept my expressions relevant though I did not get what droomscrolling is. Later on I googled the word and came to know that it refers to the act of getting addicted to coronavirus news which can be really depressing.
Last night she came to me and said, "Tomorrow is Munia's birthday. I will need your phone for an hour at 12 am."
"What will you do with my phone at midnight?"
"We are in lockdown. We cannot arrange a surprise party. So we decided to have a covideo party."
I assumed it was some kind of conference call during covid-19 pandemic and gave her my phone.
I heard that besides causing rampage on the economy and environment, pandemics leave a grave impact on people's behavior and language. But I never thought I will get to experience such change myself.
Gradually, I realized that it was not my daughter only, I am also using new phrases and words like quarantine or lockdown which are new. There are words like face mask and ventilator that are coming with new connotations to me.
Ventilator is no more just an outlet to let light into my room, or a space where birds make their nest. It is now a lifesaving machine that helps a corona patient breath.
These thoughts turned my philosophical mood on. I called my sisters and talked about how my daughter and I are using language differently now.
Shortly after the conversations, my daughter came out of her room screaming, "Ma what did you say to aunty about me saying covidiot to my friend? You are such a super spreader (also a covid language). I would like to maintain physical distance with you for a while!"
I can totally sense the trouble. Looks like only chocolate cake can flatten the curve of danger now!