So when I’m a little bored and restless with myself, I wander into the Urbandictionary. It’s a nifty place to find they new hippest sayings (not that I’m trying to be hip…) defined by the people saying them (I’d hope that’s the case, but I’m sure there are many poseurs posting as well). Anyway, I came across something new (for me) as I was snooping around: for cereal. Yep. That’s it. Not sure about its origin, but it’s interesting, nonetheless, to see how youngsters are processing language these days.
This whole business with for cereal is quite transparent when you erase any relation to the breakfast food.
When someone says, Yo man, I just got $500 from my parents for nothin’! The response expected would be, for real? Now look at those two responses. Any similarities? Of course. All they’re doing is adding the prefix ce-. Now, there does not appear to be any meaning associated to it only have the effect of representing the word as the breakfast food (for champions…). This is all fine and dandy, but what still strikes me is that the definition on the Urbandictionary is:
A statement used that questions the validity of a statement. Similar to the phrase “are you for real?”.
So basically what the person who wrote that entry is trying to say is that it means for real?. Another question I have is whether semantics is becoming something that the younger generation is (completely) unconcerned about? One example is the one noted above. What could cereal and real have in common other than a consonant and a vowel preceding the word? Are kids more after the “sounds” of the language than “meaning”? this could be because they seem to make up meanings for the things they make up? Suddenly, cereal has more “weight” than just saying real in the context, for (ce)real?. Or maybe they’re just trying to be cute. Whatever it is they’re doing, it’s obvious that this new generation (what are they called now, “MTV Generation” or something like that?) is always trying to do things differently. And going along with the MTV idea, they are the ones promoting that kind of thought. Which is good and interesting to see what they do with language.Now
Now, the other route you can go with this is, (are) you serious?. The seri- and cere- produce the same sound. Of course, the latter must be said with -real and not a stand-alone cere-; a combination of are you serious and for real. The thought could be that if we expand the meaning by adding another similar phrase to this one word (either one may be chosen first), then we’ll have something that can mean more than when we only use one; we’re going to amplify the meaning. So it could also be that semantics is not out, only amplified if this is the case. It’s like with double modals…what’s the thought process behind that? Whatever it is, it seems comparable.