This recipe for canning salsa* will forever live in my heart for its use of the word, “squozen.”
“Squozen” is a family word. As in my aunt announcing to me or my brothers or cousins, “You must be squozen.” A term of endearment and affection.
My family has also been known to “shniggle,” to drive each other crazy by “gussifying” (“please stop gussifying!”), and to discuss “buppos” in public.
Nephews and brothers must be liberally “goosed” by an authority figure, and references to anthropopagi are regularly made in conversation. “Do not sit at the table like one of the anthropopagi, the men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders,” my father liked to intone, as we sat at the dinner table.
One of many reasons to be glad to be part of the clan.
Ours is of course not the only family to have family-specific terminology for things. I do think, however, that being a bilingual family has added a special flavor to our adaptations on language. Anyone can snuggle, after all, but not everyone abuses German in English by shniggling.
As a group, we have been caught punning nearly constantly, and having our way with various sayings. “Like water off a duck’s foot!” has become standard, as has “open foot, insert mouth…” The dog is a “hairy beast” while minds are terrible things to lose. (All true, by the way)
Sometimes I use family terminology in a non-family environment. Occasionally, hearers will look confused. Other times, they congratulate me on my language creativity. I smile and accept their admiration, not bothering to set them straight.
The family dog is now multi-lingual, being fluent in Dog, as well as proficient with English, German, and family-speak (though sometimes he pretends he doesn’t know what we are talking about). He is particularly attentive when we illustrate points with food, or with small kittens. So far, he has not attempted to eat the kittens.
What are some fun words your family or friends use or have invented?
*yes, I did indeed make that salsa. Many tomatoes were squozen, and the result was delicious!