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Fuel for Thought

Slanguage

By Greg Huggins
Posted Oct 30th 2019 11:34AM

It is no wonder some many people have trouble learning a new language. All languages evolve over time and contain many dialects, but the American English language seems to evolve quicker than others. The dialects from all over the country combined with the slang terms within each dialect can really make it difficult to be fluent when it is not your native tongue. I am only fluent in one language, American English, yet even some of the dialects, slang terms and euphemisms can still leave me wondering. Then there are the terms for certain industries and organizations, like trucking, military, medical, finance, legal and so on.

Where else but in the trucking industry will you see or hear about the DOT (dee-oh-tee) and it is not said or read as the dot (dät)?

DEF is another one, especially since you will usually hear it as DEF fluid, when in fact, DEF stands for Diesel Exhaust Fluid. So adding fluid to the word DEF would actually be Diesel Exhaust Fluid fluid. Why shorten a word or call something by its acronym only to add one of the words back to it?

I don’t hear it too often, but when I do, I am taken aback for a second or two to process what I just heard. When I hear APU (ah-poo) instead of APU (ay-pee-you), I know I am usually hearing this from someone in the trucking industry or looking to get into this industry.

Bear, cop and DOT are frequently interchanged to mean the same thing - a law enforcement officer.

Antifreeze is another general term that gets used a lot by drivers. Who needs antifreeze in the summer? The term is kind of funny to think about, since the proper name is coolant. Sure, it does both. It will help prevent boil over in the summer (coolant) and not freeze in very low winter temperatures (antifreeze or not freeze), but it still doesn’t sound right when you hear someone say antifreeze in July. 

Many of the trucking terms used today can be traced back to the days when most every truck driver used a CB (Citizens Band radio). While there are not as many drivers using a CB today as there used to be, many of the terms used have held their place in our industry.

“Take the next ‘get off’ ramp, go north on the ‘little road’ over to the next ‘get on ramp’. Watch your ‘donkey’ when you go ‘round that curve, there’s a ‘bear’ hiding behind the bushes in the ‘comedian’. There’s a ‘pickle park’ just after you get back on ‘the big road’, you might want to get yer logs straight there, the ‘coops’ are open just up the road and they are ‘checking ground pressure’, ‘hammer down’ if they turn ya loose”

“10-4”

We have a lot of drivers in the trucking industry and not all speak the same language or use the same slang. But we can all communicate with one another if we try to understand each other and are open to learning new words and phrases. 


See you down the road,

Greg

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