Monday, December 6, 2010


when most people meet me for the first time, i pull back from my average linguistics usage and talk pretty much like a normal human being.  probably a tad on the quiet side actually.  but the way i talk to my friends is totally different.  all throughout the past 10 years or so, there's been some sort of catchphrase or linguistic abnormality that i would employ on a regular basis.  in fact entire entries have been dedicated to decoding what i say, unfortunately, they have been met with harsh criticism and eye rolls from the people who probably have sticks up their asses and who think they mean srs bsns.

most of the things i use now (my repetoire is usually changing) however are not my own inventions, but an evolution of speech of what makes things easier to express in a rapid fire instant messaging type manner.  the focus of this post will be on the ever malleable term: gak.

it's been a while since i realized that this phrase needs to be clarified more than most of the other things i use, primarily because of its frequent usage.  mark chen once told me over the summer, "you know, i was beginning to think i pinned down the meaning of your word 'gak', but now i'm not so sure."  needless to say, i found this confusion hilarious.

to put it simply, gak is an all purpose word used to describe something that's off.  if something is gak, it means that it's not what you expected.  gak's derivation is debated to come from a variety of sources, even plugging it into urbandictionary won't give one a satisfactory take on it.  i suppose nickelodeon's substance of gak is an accurate way of picturing gak in a tangible form, it's like a substance that is used to soak a person in who has pretty much failed in some way.

anyhow some common expressions i use that incorporate gak (they may have explained before but this is in more detail):

WTGTD (what the gak that do):  a combination of the phrases "what the gak" and "what that do".

"what the gak" is essentially a tamer version of "what the fuck", because instead of fuck, we use the semi-harmless gak to convey the sense that something is amiss, but not to a "what the fuck" level of amissness.

"what that do" is a phrase that is essentially equivalent to "what the hell just happened just now" combined with a "are you serious?".  it's effect is more potent when you delay the amount of time between the words, like "what.  that.  do." 

so in summary, wtgtd is a combination of amissness with a touch of disbelief concerning it.

LIG (like it's gute, where gute = gak+cute):  this is just the next step in the evolution of the phrase: "like it's cute"

"like it's cute" describes some sort of occurrence where cute doesn't actually mean cute, but more like clever.  that guy was trying to be "cute" by doing something that he thought would be clever, when in fact it was probably just dumb.

by inserting gak into cute, to make gute, we just simply add the little flavor that says the thing we're describing not only was "cute", but a bit off in its "cuteness".

sometimes cute can actually mean cute, and the gak is just added for humorous effect.  like when i showed a picture of a bulldog recently in my tweet, LIG was an appropriate phrase to use.

and sometimes LIG doesn't even need a reason to be used at all.  normal things can have a LIG like quality to it, just because it may be slightly out of the ordinary for some small particular reason.

JAG (just another gak) - this is describing the average person.  the average person is JAG.  used when describing or contrasting oneself from the norm.

gakked in the eye - essentially getting screwed over in some way.  again, imagine getting gakked by the nickelodeon substance by failing some sort of task.

gakking around - the equivalent of any response you provide in an instant message conversation that essentially says you are doing nothing.  (which is impossible, since you're always doing something, so you're pretty much dodging their question because you're too lazy to answer them appropriately)

any word can be interchanged with gak, but usually you only want to change one word in a sentence or phrase otherwise it gets a bit too confusing and you usually want to use multiple syllable words so it's easier to quickly determine what's being gakified in the context of the sentence.  sometimes certain combinations work better than others.  For example, the word computer is better transformed into gakuter rather than comgakter or compugak, whereas an iPhone would be better expressed as an iGak.

some common gak rules:

- any syllable ending with a c/k sound is a more likely candidate into transforming for gak
- nouns are usually better candidates for gak
- gaks tend to gravitate towards less stressed syllables, though not necessarily

now these probably aren't all the usages of gak but i believe i've covered some of the main bases.  and i've been writing way too much on this now.

so i will now leave you with this humorous usage of gak:

on the fifth day of gakmus, my true gak gakked to me:
four calling gaks
three gak hens
two turtle gaks
and a gaktridge in a gak tree

notice that three gak hens i used gak for the adj instead of the noun.  that's because things that are french are usually gak, and for the sake of variety.  (the same usage of gak in each sentence would be too repetitive, things need to be changed up).


asunnyaffair said...

jag is new to me

ECho said...

LOL. what the gak. stop gakking around.

badbanana07 said...

i cannot stop gakking laughing; my sides seriously hurt and i'm having trouble catching my breath. well done, tech.
-the originator of Gak, Inc.