Wednesday, 29 February 2012

They're, Like, Way Ahead Of The Linguistic Currrrve

From Valley Girls to the Kardashians, young women have long been mocked for the way they talk. Whether it be uptalk (pronouncing statements as if they were questions? Like this?), creating slang words like 'bitchin' and 'ridic,' or the incessant use of 'like' as a conversation filler, vocal trends associated with young women are often seen as markers of immaturity or even stupidity.

But linguists - many of whom once promoted theories consistent with that attitude - now say such thinking is outmoded. Girls and women in their teens and 20s deserve credit for pioneering vocal trends and popular slang, they say, adding that young women use these embellishments in much more sophisticated ways than people tend to realize.

2 comment(s):

Anonymous said...

I'd heard some time ago that some linguists were of the opinion that some regional dialects were surprisingly 'advanced' despite being generally reviled as lower-class. For example, 'Brooklynese' is often mocked for it's dropped 'g' (from 'ing' endings) and other clipped or curt words and pronunciations. But it could be considered alternately that a language which gets the same information across, using less effort, fewer words/letters, and more quickly, could be seen as highly efficient. (This comment was certainly not efficient)

Gareth said...

They miss the point that by their very nature "vocal trends and popular slang" are transitory. If in a few years time you were to use todays "vocal trends and popular slang" you would be laughed at.

These people are supposed to be professionals in their field and yet they don't seem to realise that language is used like this for a reason. For centuries social groups have invented their own dialect in order to create a closed society. It may be subconscious but people use language like this in order to fit in with a group. It also clearly identifies to people who is part of the group and who is not. The more extreme uses of language like this are also intended to totally exclude others from the conversation.