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.
I'm SUUUreee. Like...he really knows. If he like really LISTened, he'd know that it's a rise and a drawn out drop at the EEeend. He's so like...OUT of iiiiiiiiit.
Know your dingbats.
Hmmm...interesting. But I would have guessed that it was the African American hip hop community that contributes more new words and meanings to English than Valley girls. Word...
Female mouth move, not put food in.
Mean much trouble.
"And that this new lingo refers to dressing like streetwalkers is also comforting."
Since they are both insults which tend to keep "fashionable" girls from making those fashion mistakes, it is comforting. I find "muffin tops" especially disgusting.
Should that really be, "verbally adventurous," rather than what the article chose? Poor choice of words.
Forgive my complete ignorance, but what is a "fusion" restaurant?
Ya gotta admit that 'Muffin Top' is a brilliant descriptive phrase. I roflmao when I read it.
The only thing I really don't get? Is how inflection has changed over the years? So every sentence? Sounds like a question? Even when it's not?
You know the sentence construction I'm referring to.
She finally ran out of breath after having said "Then he was like, it's OK with me."
So I asked her, "Well what were you like?"
She stared at me in stunned disbelief.
The question-end isn't a recent thing . . . it's been going on since I was in junior high, and I got out of junior high in 1983.
Me too, lol...
I have to admit, I luv muffins though...
I know it's not recent; I did say "over the years" but it's definitely AFTER my time (I'm 50). I grew up ending declarative sentences with a period, not a question mark. Y'know?
It's certainly more concise than "Six pounds of $#!+ in a five pound sack", but it describes the same phenomenon.
Those 2 terms made me laugh my head off!
LOL! Even a lower primate gets it! ;-)
I think these folks have the mentality of scared little bunny rabbits. Specifically, they're afraid to put their character or reputations on the line by actually declaring something. Instead, they phrase their timid little statement as a question, hoping to build consensus. They feel secure only in a group. I find them pathetic.
a dish has tastes comprised of different ethnicities.
asian and southwest combined for example.
There is nothing sillier than a young teenage girl. They get a little better when they approach 16. Not to say they aren't sweet and cute, just silly.
Notice that number two, with the artificially coloured hair, also has a 'target' on her lower back ...