The Evolution of Teen Slang.

Why does slang have an impact on the way we communicate?

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The Evolution of Teen Slang.

Carly Todd Illustration

Carly Todd Illustration

Carly Todd Illustration


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Teen slang has come a long way, especially in recent years. It seems as if there is always a handful of words that are ‘in’ to the average group of teenagers, but as time goes on some slang terms seem to be used less and less. Slang is simply just other ways to say formal words, making the language informal but more fun and easy to understand amongst other teens.

Even though slang changes with the times, terms don’t tend to be completely forgotten. Terms like “TBH” and “OMG” may be outdated, but some teens today still use these terms while talking to their friends, or making a post onto social media. But as time does pass, this older slang does seem to be used less when newer terms rise above.

Newer slang that has risen to popularity can be confusing for older people to understand at times, unless explained to them. It can also be hard to understand where these forms of slang come from, and why they become so popular.

Slang tends to come from things like memes, social media influencers, or even just shortened versions of words such as “sus” which is a shortened version of suspect. But sus is more likely used when directed towards someone or something suspicious. It can also be said that slang such as ‘sis’ and ‘tea’ have gained popularity from YouTubers like James Charles, and sayings like ‘it be like that sometimes’ originated from memes, etc.

There are some slang words that older people don’t need any knowledge on to grasp them. Terms such as “bet” and “woke” are simple. Bet is used when one feels sure about something that they’re stating, and woke means that one is aware of the things happening around them. There are even words where their meaning has been changed to mean something else, or a revamped version, such as the term ‘lit’. Lit used to mean being intoxicated, as older people know it to be, but now it is use when explaining that something is fun or exciting.

There are also lots of frequently used slang words that have risen to popularity from music. Terms like “no cap” and “chase a bag” have been used numerous times in hip hop and rap songs, this could account for the popularity they have gained amongst teens.

It seems as if influencers and artists have a large impact on which slang terms become popular. Slang is constantly changing, and stem from what events and jokes are relevant in society. Slang that teens use now could be burnt out within months, or even weeks. But some stick around for decades, it’s not clear why terms stay popular, but some lingo never changes amongst people in general. Teens will continue to use the slang that fits with the times and then some. As time goes on slang could evolve to something greater than it already is.

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