Huffpost Teen

Teen Slang: Young Women Drive Widespread Changes In Language

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

When Beyonce said that girls "run the world," she may not have been referring to the way young women influence language, but she would've been right if she had. New research shows that teen girls have a whole lot of power when it comes to setting linguistic standards. According to many linguists, young women are the x factor when it comes to widespread changes in the way we speak.

According to a recent New York Times article, young females have influenced changes in inflection and diction in modern-day language. Specifically, they are responsible for uptalk, which involves ending declarative sentences as if they were questions. And, doing the girls of Clueless proud, young women have also helped replace pause words such as "um" and "uh" with "like."

Although pop culture may associate these trends with valley girls, several experts on the subject say that young women utilize them in much more sophisticated ways than it would appear at first glance. Nassima Abdelli-Beruh, a speech scientist at Long Island University, authored a study on "vocal fry," which is a deep dip in tone at the end of a sentence. "They use this as a tool to convey something," she said in a press release. "You quickly realize that for them, it is as a cue."

Though no one is quite sure why women are at the forefront of language change, researchers have uncovered some reasons for their use of certain linguistic techniques. Professor Beruh asserts that females use vocal fry to set themselves apart from other people, as well as to indicate that they are finished speaking.

The youth have spoken, and now, society must adapt to keep up with the younger generations' new interests and ways of communicating. Many companies are now using marketing strategies to try to speak to millennials more effectively, in the hopes of captivating them with their products. A recently released study titled "What Millennials are Just Sayin'," found that millennial lingo reveals this generation's desire to be seen as smart, funny, original and dramatic. According to the study, optimism has replaced the rebellion of the the rock 'n' roll era, and today's teens connect with their peers primarily by demonstrating wit.

The study claims that also teens mimic the heightened sense of drama from reality tv shows such as The Jersey Shore by using terms like "FML," "drama," and "epic." Words from instant messaging and texting, such as "LOL," "OMG," and "TTYL," also enter into their everyday conversations. And with teens expressing themselves online by constantly updating their Facebook statuses and tweeting, offline teenage language has also become extremely fast-paced, quick-witted and aligned with current events.

What are your favorite slang words? Do you use texting words like "OMG" in everyday conversation? Tell us in the comments below or tweet @HuffPostTeen!

all-also-on-huffpost

Suggest a correction