From Skedaddle to Selfie: Words of the Generations

From Skedaddle to Selfie: Words of the Generations

From Skedaddle to Selfie: Words of the Generations

From Skedaddle to Selfie: Words of the Generations

Synopsis

From baby boomers with "groovy" and "yuppie," to Generation X with "whatever" and "like," each generation inevitably comes to use certain words that are particular to its unique time in history. Those words not only tell us a great deal about the people in those generations, but highlight their differences with other generations. In this entertaining compilation, Allan Metcalf, author of OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word, shows that each generation - those born within the same roughly 20-year time period - can be identified and characterized by its key words. Metcalf tells the story of the history and usage of these words, starting with the American Revolution and ending with the post-Millennial Homeland generation. With special attention to the differences in vocabulary among today's generations - the sometimes awkward Millennials, the grunge music of Generation X, hippies among the Boomers, and bobbysoxers among the Silents - From Skeddadle to Selfie compiles dozens of words we thought we knew, and tells the unheard stories of each and how they accompanied its generation through its time.

Excerpt

Generations generate interest these days . The deepest divisions in our society, it is argued, are not matters of gender or race or religion or region, but of membership in different generations, a matter of destiny depending simply on when each of us was born. We are told about the seemingly self-centered Millennials (born 1982–2004) populating our schools and entering the workplace, as they clash with their elders, the hardscrabble Generation Xers (born 1961–1981) and they in turn with their elders, the indulgent Boomers (born 1943–1960, by one reckoning). Not to mention the remnants of the compromising Silent Generation (born 1925–1942) and the heroic G.I. Generation (born 1901–1924). Or for that matter the incoming Homeland Generation (born 2005–), poised to make their linguistic mark soon as teenagers.

Where did this concern for generations come from? For guidance I turned to the book that started it all, Generations by William Strauss and Neil Howe, published in 1990, and their sequel, The Fourth Turning, published in 1997. There in generous detail they advance the theory that all of American history can be seen as a progression of an eighty-year cycle of clashing . . .

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