It is often suggested by adults that teenspeak is a mixture of gibberish and unidentifiable codes. In fact, my excessive use of ‘nonexistent’ words is so bad, that my parents cannot understand me. For example, an outburst of ‘YOLO’ in response to the formidable question; ‘Why are you not doing homework?’ earns me a confused look and the confiscation of my laptop! This can make it very difficult for the two civilisations; adults and teenagers to communicate.

According to just about every teenager, the use of the word ‘like’ warrants a disapproving comment from an adult. My response is to roll my eyes and cover my ears…but maybe that’s immature. Should we accept criticism for our dialect? Many people say no, as language is a means of expressing oneself. However, according to Emma Thompson it is considered unnecessary and a misuse of the word. Using ‘like’ in a professional environment could appear childish, yet isn’t it better than saying ‘um’ or experiencing an awkward silence?

It may be suggested that teenagers are to blame for the erosion of certain words. This is evidenced through the use of ‘allow’ (ironically meaning ‘to do something’) as a replacement of those seemingly long statements; ‘I’m tired’ and ‘can’t be bothered’. Another important requirement of the teen-club, is acronyms. New phrases are constantly developing, such as the well-known LOL (laugh out loud) and my personal favourite, ROFL (rolling on the floor laughing). These acronyms are promoted as fun and ‘time-saving’, so no wonder us teenagers love them.

In 2013, when hearing ‘selfie’ was crowned by Oxford dictionaries as ‘word of the year’, I was surprised. Shouldn’t a more sophisticated word be rewarded this prestigious title?  After doing my own research, I found that the frequency of the word selfie in the English language increased by 17,000 per cent since 2012. I guess popularity says it all. However, some people do not agree, this was evident when I stumbled upon a meme (typically an image or piece of text that is humorous in nature) that described this action as ‘the death of the English language’. Now you may ask, isn’t this a bit extreme? But I later discovered that the origin of the word was based on a drunken man, who took a self-portrait picture of his face, after falling over. I found this to be quite confusing and (to my parents’ horror) inspiring, as this embarrassing act was able to influence the creation of a new and popular word.

So, the next time you assume teenagers are speaking in an essentially alien language, remember that it ‘allow(s)’ us to express ourselves and avoid wasting time!