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Slang Gone Wild: California Town Creates It’s Own Language

Selin Kilic November 21, 2016 November 21st, 2016

Ah language – you complicated masterpieces of discussion. It’s awesome really, and helps us differentiate where people are from based on their particular accents or slang. And who knows where certain slangs originated from? But I love the idea that someone can say something that can spread throughout a town – much like this one: Boonville.

This town in California basically is the town equivalent of high school besties that made up their own language to describe people and it went viral. So how is it this WHOLE town adopted the jargon? It’s easy – pair an isolated farming and ranching community with a residence of only 700 and you have the language of ‘Boontling’ (as they call it).

Keeping the tradition alive, many of the terms actually derive from former or current resident’s names. For example, syrup is called “Bill Nunn,” after a townsfolk who put syrup on just about everything. Wine is called “Frati” after the local vineyard owner, telephones are called “Joe” after the first man in town to own one, and the list goes on (including names for prostitutes and tattle-tales).

Outside of the name-game, Boontling actually borrows from Scottish Gaelic, Irish, Pomoan, and Spanish roots or combinations of a few. For example, a rabbit is a “beeljeck,” combining Belgian hare and jackrabbit. There’s also ton’s of fun sayings like “rout the kimmie in the boat,” means to get a woman pregnant…somehow.

While this sounds fun, it’s definitely not a language that will show up on Rosetta stone (mostly because it’s a form of slang more than a language) but I don’t see why we can’t help the town keep it alive! Check out some more info on Boonville and it’s Boontling speaking tribe on Wikipedia.

Source: A.V. Club