Is “Sha!” the New “Duh?” I ask because slang erupts from the mouths of the young and lately I have been seeing and hearing this expression — Sha! — appearing in some blogs as well as being heard on the street. Sha! — is not a word, I only learned how to spell it by watching it appear on blogs — and it appears to be an emotional utterance, or more formally: “A Response Cry” as studied by the great sociologist Erving Goffman:
Utterances are housed not in paragraphs, but in turns at talk-occasions implying a temporary taking of the floor, as well as an alternation of takers. Turns themselves are naturally coupled into two-party interchanges. Interchanges are linked in runs marked off by some sort of topicality.One or more of these topical runs make up the body of a conversation. This interactionist view assumes that every utterance is a statement establishing the next speaker’s words as a reply, or a reply to what the prior speaker has just established, or a mixture of both. Utterances, then, do not stand by themselves-indeed, they often make no sense when so heard-but are constructed and timed to support the close social collaboration of speech turn-taking.
In nature the spoken word is only found in verbal interplay, being integrally designed for such collective habitats. However, this paper considers some roguish utterances that appear to violate this interdependence, entering the stream of behavior at peculiar and unnatural places, producing communicative effects but no dialog. The paper begins with a special class of spoken sentences and ends with a special class of vocalizations-the first failing to qualify as communication, the second failing not to.
Here’s what I’ve discovered about Sha!’s common utterances when I hear it used on the street: “Are you dating my Boo?” “Uh, Sha!” The “Sha!-er’s” head is usually cocked to one side when uttering the cry.
I’ve also heard it used this way, too: “I never liked you!” “Sha! huh!” On blogs — usually written by pre-teens and older people who know better — “Sha!” loses some of its urgent street cred when it becomes an internal thought outwardly expressed: “I think I’ll make lasagna tonight for my family, Sha!” “Sha!, I had a chai latte today.”
“I umm, did the car done today, Sha!, and like, lost the tire, in the ditch, on the way into the lake… Sha!” Sometimes it is a paragraph unto itself creating little or no meaning: “Sha!” What is the meaning and the purpose and the etymology of “Sha!” and is it too late to repel its inclusion in the next edition of the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary?
Is there more new slang percolating in the mouths of our youth? If so, what do those words or response cries mean in context?