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Youth words

SimoneSimone admin
edited September 2018 in New words and word trends

Bare people confuse twitter for real life.
2:44 AM – 29 May 2018

Women should be able to get tampons free on the NHS, bare bare dolla spent on stupid tampons.
8:14 AM – 31 Jul 2012

Friday is going to be the BUSIEST day of my life I think 🙂 Bare things poppin’ off.
5:49 AM – 15 Jul 2009

If you understand all that, then you may be able to help the Oxford English Dictionary with our latest appeal. We want to hear about the unique words and expressions that children and young people use. And if you don’t understand it then the OED can come to your rescue. The use of bare shown above (in real examples from Twitter) is a new sense we’ve been tracking for a number of years, and the OED will be publishing an entry for it at the end of the year—here’s a sneak preview of the draft version, explaining the meaning and history:

As our note on the probable origins of bare [in Caribbean English] makes clear, the words that many of us hear for the first time from younger people often have a bigger story to tell about varieties of English used by particular ethnic or cultural groups, and their influence on the language as a whole.

The OED’s aim is to record all distinctive words that shape the language, old and new, formal and informal. Slang terms are always challenging for dictionary editors to track but young people’s language today can be particularly elusive—because the terms that are in vogue change so rapidly and newer ephemeral modes of communication (texting, WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc.) make it difficult to monitor and record this kind of vocabulary. That’s why we are asking for your help in identifying the language used by children and teenagers today.

Even if the examples above leave you bewildered, you can still help us. Do your children, grandchildren, students, or teenage neighbours use words that are completely unfamiliar to you—or familiar words in very unfamiliar ways? Since when did dank mean cool or great? Who decided that if a man is hench he is fit and muscular? Or perhaps you remember words or terms from your own childhood that are not yet recorded in the dictionary—the names of playground games, for example? We’d love to hear about those, too.

Please use this form to tell us about this distinctive vocabulary used by children and teenagers, whether you use the words yourselves or are bemused by them. You can also join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #youthslangappeal

Share your language of young people


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