Teen Girls Totally Lead Language Change
POSTED: 1:40 pm EDT July 19, 2005
A casual remark by a teenage girl such as "She's so not cool" may be dismissed as typical teen talk. Young women, however, are leading changes in the way adolescents speak, according to a University of Toronto linguistics expert.
Prof. Sali Tagliamonte said in a news release from the school that girls are often a generation ahead of boys in new ways of speaking. He and student researchers looked at why teens tend to frequently use the words "like," "just" and "so."
He had students interview friends and family members on informal topics while recording the sessions.
Tagliamonte found that as children age, their patterns of speech change.
When girls reach adolescence, the words like and just pop into their conversations. Fifteen- and 16-year-olds use the word like the most frequently out of all age groups, but say that word less than males once they enter college.
Girls and women across all age groups studied also used the word so to emphasize something more than males.