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Teen Speak - The Good, the Bad and the Infinite!

By Edited Jan 29, 2014 5 10

Teen Speak – The Good, the Bad and the Infinite.
Teen Speak is the language frequently found across Facebook, Twitter, MSN, Bebo and many more social networking sites. It often baffles parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and any othermember of the family! As a teenager, one rapidly approaching fourteen, I have often thought about the subject, and wondered if it was really as bad, or good, as different opinions make out. This article looks at various perspectives on Teen Speak, as well as some other interesting points that don't often come up...


Starting with the bad, to get the worst over with, Teen Speak can be very confusing to those who don't understand it, or have even missed out on some of the latest terms. Like any other language, Teen Speak is always evolving and changing, albeit a lot quicker than more traditional languages. It is a language predominantly made up of abbreviations, and as soon as one person makes up a new word, it can and will be quickly spread around to school, town or even country. Also, like any other language, different areas speak and type Teen Speak in slightly different ways, making it confusing to understand what someone is saying. Many words can also mean something else, adding to the confusion, and sometimes it can be unclear what words mean. For example, if you tell a joke to your friendly (or not) teenager, and they reply lol with a completely straight face, it can be frustrating for those who do not understand. (I know that lol is a fairly common word now, first example to pop into my head!)

The joys of slang!(77927)
Another problem that causes division between parent and teenager is that parents have spent years, since the moment the teenager was born, teaching him or her how to talk, enhancing their vocabulary everyday with conversations. After spending so long trying to teach a teen how to speak, it can be infuriating hearing the English language twisted and bent. Also, it makes us teenagers sound very uneducated and badly brought up, which in most cases isn't true.

However, Teen Speak isn't all bad. In fact, it has some very good points, for example the fact it is a quick and easy way to communicate. When you are talking to multiple people at once, it is good to have a shortened way to speak, so people don't feel ignored. For example, it is a lot quicker to type: "Meet u at town tomoz, c u l8r" , than it is to type. "I will meet you at town tomorrow, see you soon". Also, when you suddenly need to go out, it is a lot easier to type : "Gotta go out, cya!" than it is to type "I have got to go out now, speak soon".

The many nuances of Teen Speak also can help us accurately tell whether someone is upset, happy, or making a joke. If someone is talking with full punctuation and correct spelling, it is often an indication that person is upset. If they are using smiley faces, it usually means they are happy. Over cyber space, sarcasm or jokes can easily be lost, so different ways of typing and smiley faces can be added to emphasise different parts of the sentence. It is a little like applying make-up or icing a cake: you start with the basic sentence you want to say, and then add different decoration to make it say what you want, how you want!

In this day and age, many people know and regularly use Teen Speak in day to day goings on. I have an aunt who regularly rofl's, a Nan who might not lol, but certainly cqtm (chuckles quietly to myself)! I have friends in other countries who, when I use more formal English, might not understand the terminology, but when I speak in the universal language of slang understand exactly what I mean. Go to anywhere in the world, and you will find many people who could tell you what lol, brb, or kk mean.

Finally, on to my last point, and perhaps the most interesting one. The point is, ready, drum roll please... Teen Speak isn't new! For generation after generation, the young people have made up slang that drove their parents to distraction, then grew up and had kids that would then drive them to distraction through their bizarre and wacky ways of talking. Words such as "wicked" or "hip", and goodness knows how many before that. Even back to Victorian times, you will find that children, especially ones in poorer districts, had a vibrant vocabulary which we in this day and age would have as much difficulty understanding as their parents did! You never know, perhaps in 500 years, they could look back at us and say: כּלּוּ לּנּטּמּתּבֿתּנּוֹכֿגּוּ (What does lol mean?) פֿﬠשׂתּאַבּמּבֿתּיּלּשּׁהּוּדּכֿ‡ï­‡ (No idea plrothk!)




Jan 11, 2011 1:52pm
Wow Serphinia that article is amazing, particularly as it is your first and as you are so young. I knew I was right to show you this site and that it would give you a platform to get your amazing word-smithing talents "out there". Keep up the good work, can not wait to see the next article!
Jan 21, 2011 11:57am
Great article!
Jan 21, 2011 12:07pm
Awesome, Serphinia,

I have a niece your age who writes, too. I think she will be joining IB sometime soon.
Jan 21, 2011 1:58pm
Very awesome. Well done. You should go far in the writing kingdom.(^^)
Jan 23, 2011 8:27am
Aww thankyou! xxx
Feb 19, 2011 9:29am
Excellent Serphinia - you have a good writing style. You may be able to teach some other writers on IB a thing or two. :)
Feb 19, 2011 10:32am
So what does kk, brb or plrothk mean? LOL I do enjoy your writing. It is refreshing and I wish I had done this at your age...err..of course, "this" wasn't invented yet! Go girl...cheering you on! Peace today!
Feb 20, 2011 4:24pm
excellent article. Very mature writing style. Have to ask the same as the previous comment - what does "plrothk" mean? I knew the rest!!
Feb 24, 2011 6:50am
Ermm.. to be honest I have no idea what "plrothk" means either! Just some random stuff I made up hehe! xxx
Apr 5, 2011 12:55am
You are a very articulate writer and hopefully are pursuing a career as such. If your not, you should be. This article blows away some of the stuff I see on line every day and you definatly have what it takes to make a great deal of money in this industry. Keep up the good work and TCF (`;
Thumbs up, liked and stumbled, I'm digging this article and it's now on delicous too.
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