Speech Communities//”YOLO”//Connor

Hello everybody! This is an excerpt from my speech community essay for ENG 150 where my word/phrase I analyzed was YOLO (You Only Live Once). We discussed the origins of the word and how it is used throughout our speech community and then what affect that usage has had in your own personal life.

Whenever I personally see or hear the word YOLO, I immediately picture a high school or college student about to do something totally ridiculous, and they are often times drunk. Therefore, I associate the word YOLO with exactly what I envision, stupid kids doing stupid things. Because of this negative association, I hear the word most often being used in a sarcastic tone within my language community, taunting the dimwittedness of our fellow classmates. This is a sign that my close friends and I place ourselves in a higher standard of language by mocking the lesser speech of the community that is metaphorically beneath us. In the situation used previously with the egging of the principal’s house,  upon finding out that the delinquents reasoned their behavior by the word YOLO, my friends and I would likely have continued using YOLO in every possible scenario possible. Such scenarios would include but are not limited to: “Hey dude, come to the bathroom with me before class.” “Well we only have like a minute left.” “So? YOLO!” or, “Hey, did you do the homework last night?” “Nah, it probz won’t count that much towards our final grade, YOLO.” or, “Hey man your shoe’s untied.” “YOLO.” These situations are instances where we feel comfortable enough with our intelligence that we can poke fun at those who make poor life choices. We know better and therefore can tease them. The word itself represents our appreciation for intelligence and common sense. “… Our language habits are at the core of how we imagine the world.” (Postman, 4) This quote applies directly to the usage of the word YOLO.

The habit of using YOLO in our language to justify the irrational decisions gives way to how young people commonly misunderstand the image of the world. They feel they are free to make any decision they want because it is their own life and they only have one; this is quite false however because everything is connected, so whatever you do in your small community will affect the greater community, positively or negatively.

Also, here is a link to a pretty funny video that shows an exaggerated yet accurate way YOLO is used.

WARNING: Some explicit language is used, and certain situations depicted are very dangerous and should not be attempted.

-Connor F.

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