I purchased Lonely Planet's "USA Phrasebook", which explains American English to other English speakers, while in New Zealand (because who really understands American English anyway?)
Random in LA
One of the biggest linguistic differences newcomers notice about LA is the use of the ubiquitous word 'random'. A versatile word, 'random' can be used in every part of speech in Southern California. Meaning varying degrees of unlikeliness, unexpectedness, randomness, it is easy to pick up and use. When there is nothing else to say, interject with 'Random' and it is almost always appropriate. You hear the phrase everywhere.
- as a noun, ' a random' is usually an unwelcome person or a bunch of strangers: 'We went out with a bunch of randoms.' or 'The bar was filled with a bunch of randoms from UCLA.' Used in a dismissive way.
- as an adjective it is used similarly: 'the guy from UCLA was so random.'; 'I totally went off on a random tangent when I was talking to her.'
- as a verb it is a little more restricted, usually only used when talking about oneself: 'I totally randomed the get-together' can either mean 'I trashed a party' or it can mean 'my presence made things awkward', i.e., 'I intruded in a group of good friends.'
- as an adverb it means unexpectedly or strangely : 'We randomly went out in Westwood tonight.'
- most often used as an exclamation: 'Random!' It can apply to anything out of the ordinary or odd. "Random! I can't believe you just said/did that!'