Skip to comments.Teenage girls so, like, rule English
Posted on 01/08/2006 10:30:02 PM PST by Dundee
Teenage girls so, like, rule English
THE teenage girl is the most powerful influence on the evolution of the English language around the world.
According to new research, the typical 16-year-old girl -- armed with a mobile phone and a wide circle of friends -- has ensured the success of new phrases such as "muffin top" (a bulge of flesh over low-cut jeans) and "whale tail" (the appearance of a g-string above the waistband of a skirt or trousers).
Sali Tagliamonte, associate professor of linguistics at the University of Toronto, believes the strongest recent shift has been the spread of Californian "Valley Girl" style, promoted around the globe by television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The OC.
This style of speech is characterised by inserting drawled words such as "like" and "so" to add emphasis to a sentence, which rises in pitch at the end.
"Valley Girl has gone beyond a fad and is now rooted in different forms of English around the world," Ms Tagliamonte said. "Girls are the single most powerful force in the English language today." The research was among work discussed at the annual meeting of the American Dialect Society in New Mexico over the weekend.
Wayne Glowka, chairman of the ADS New Words Committee, said girls used new or fashionable words as status symbols, forcing the constant evolution of the language as fashions changed.
"Females are very quick to pick up on any aspect of fashion, whether it is clothing or speech, that shows off status. Men are less quick to do so," he said.
Ellen Grote, a researcher at Edith Cowan University in Perth, has studied how Aboriginal teenage girls borrowed words from other cultures in their email gossip to construct a communal identity.
"They would recruit words that appear in American hip hop music. That was one way they would build their own identity," she said.
Barry Spurr, senior lecturer in English at the University of Sydney, said social pressures meant Australian men in particular were more reluctant to display their language abilities.
"They are afraid to be seen expressing thought because they are sexually insecure," Dr Spurr said. "They want to be seen to be real men and the standard for real men wouldn't be seen to express a thought.
"The big problem in Australia is getting young men to talk at all. Girls are much more orally adventurous."
Linguists believe young women and men use language differently: women ask questions out of politeness, while men want data. Women allow each other to finish a sentence before starting their own, while men interrupt more.
In addition, women seeking prestige pick up fashionable new words faster than men. Experts believe this has been going on for centuries. A Finnish study of 15th-century English court correspondence shows that aristocratic wives moved from archaic "ye" to "you" significantly earlier than their husbands.
Now I know why we keep seeing Clinton over here.
"They are afraid to be seen expressing thought because they are sexually insecure," Dr Spurr said. "They want to be seen to be real men and the standard for real men wouldn't be seen to express a thought."
What a bunch of - like oh my gawd - CRAP!
My theory is that it they ever shut up their heads would explode in a shower of BS.
"F*ckin' A man..f*ckin' A.."
Ya know, you just can't make this s**i up. It'd be hillarious, if it wasn't (sadly) true.
"muffin top" (a bulge of flesh over low-cut jeans) and "whale tail" (the appearance of a g-string above the waistband of a skirt or trousers).
And that this new lingo refers to dressing like streetwalkers is also comforting.
Dude, I'm all, 'that's hella heinous.'"
Yep...and Welcome Aboard Farlander.
"Hey Peter, man, check out channel 9, it's the breast exams."
I still use ye, but I'm slow.
I'm reading the story, and I'm like, "Yeah". Uh-huh.
That is one of the strangest quotes I have seen around here in a long time. "Cats run from dogs because they like to drink milk" makes about as much sense.
Simple math would demonstrate the truth of this, since 16 year old girls talk without pause from the moment they wake up until the moment they fall asleep (with the phone still at their ear) it only makes sense that they would lead the world in language innovation. This article discusses the English language only, but I'm sure it would prove true of all language, with the possible exception of Arabic, since those women are all so repressed.
God bless 'em!
The fact they they honestly can't/won't hear how stupid it makes them sound only compounds the problem. They, like, wanna be, all, like taken seriously? in the real world. And, like, when they, you know, aren't taken seriously and all that they take up the banner of feminism because they are too foolish to see that it is their own behavior that is holding them back - not men, not the world, not the oppressive patriarchical corporate system, not George Bush.
For great fun, try parroting the "like, you knows, I was all, you knows" back at them. You can even embellish it with some eye-rolling and sneering. When they react, explain that it sounds awful when an adult talks like that, and that if they ever want to be taken seriously as a young adult they should STOP IT!
< /soapbox >
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