A couple of weeks ago, I took a group of teenage girls away for a cooking weekend - basically a weekend spent teaching them how to cook some traditional British dishes (you'll find one of the recipes here: in the next few days). Spending time in a kitchen with a group of teenagers, you get to hear some interesting conversations! It wasn't long before the adults realised some of the girls were speaking a completely different language and so we sat down with them and had an English language lesson!
I'm sure this happens with every generation: particularly with teenagers - they have their own language, which is constantly changing. Words go in and out of fashion. I was trying to remember what words were in fashion when I was a teenager - but it was so long ago, I seem to have forgotten! However, no-one these days uses words like groovy or fab or says "Buzz off", and if you call a woman "a chick" you are likely to get a very rude reply! Some words even change their meaning over the years: in the 1970s, "sick" meant something odd or peculiar. When today's teenagers use "sick" they mean "cool" - which is a good thing!
But with this generation, language seems to be changing faster than ever before - the spoken language and the written language (then again, maybe I'm just getting older). I made two of them sit down with me and write a dictionary. I've explained the first few words, but can you work out what the rest of them mean? Here goes:
- Innit = I agree - this can be used at the end of a sentence as a question or just as a statement in reply to someone
- Peak/peaky-peaky = shame or "how embarrassing"
- Younger = a good friend who is younger than you
- Older = a good friend who is older than you
- Wasteman = an idiot
- Butters = ugly (this isn't very polite at all!)
- My bad
- Jars - as in "It jars me"
Strangely, some of the written text language used on mobile phones has now become spoken language too. For example: LOL - means laugh out loud. Apparently, as well as using it in reply to a funny text message, you can also say it when someone tells you something funny - either spelling out the letters L.O.L. or saying lol as if it was a word. And how about that most common of slang words: OK? Well OK has been around for almost 200 years - but when teenagers want to send a text message on their mobiles they type "kk" instead of "ok" as it's quicker. Now OK has become kk in spoken language too. Hmmmm.
And finally... one of the words the teenagers told me was "beef" meaning an argument, but that was a word I understood and didn't need explained. So I did a bit of digging on the internet and discovered that this meaning of "beef" has been around since the late 1800s!! So it just goes to show that not everything is new!!
Don't forget to let me know what you think those teenage slang words mean!
Groovy: Cool (today's teenagers would say "sick" instead of groovy!)
Fab: short for fabulous
Buzz off: Go away!
A chick: a pretty woman