In summary

California’s outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom have lexicons all their own—and for the uninitiated, it can be downright confusing. Here’s a working guide.

With Gov. Jerry Brown on his way out, soon to be replaced by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, California’s political landscape is shifting. So, too, is its political lexicon.

While Brown was known for sprinkling (or occasionally dousing) his speeches with Latin bon mots and scholarly references sure to send reporters rushing to Google, Newsom brings his own unique way of speaking to the governor’s mansion, one that draws equally from Silicon Valley newspeak and the most quotable bits of Jerry Garcia and Kendrick Lamar.

For their fans, the two Democratic leaders’ distinct approaches to the English language speak to their intelligence and thoughtfulness. But for the uninitiated, it can be downright confusing. We’re here to help.

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Ben Christopher

Ben covers California politics and elections. Prior to that, he was a contributing writer for CalMatters reporting on the state's economy and budget. Based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, he has written...