Essay about Should All Teenages Speak The Same

Submitted By Gwen-Bone
Words: 816
Pages: 4

A school in South London, Harris Academy, has recently decided to ban its pupils from using slang as they believe that speaking Standard English will allow them to make ‘the right impression’ when they are older. Although I understand that some teenage slang could create a bad impression if used with someone of a different sociolect, should teenagers be made to give up their independence and individuality by all speaking the same?

Jean Cross, who advises the government on teenage language, is someone who agrees with the Harris Academy’s decision to ban slang saying that using slang makes teenagers ‘unemployable’. This is an unfair stereotype of teenagers as teenagers do not all use slang and most know when it is appropriate not to, therefore this would not affect their chances of getting employed.
In my transcript with my friends I use some slang for example to describe someone as ‘fit’. In this conversation the word ‘fit’ was not used to mean the ordinary meaning of athletic and healthy, it is instead used to describe someone who is good-looking. But why is this word’s meaning changed? Development of language has always been present in society, even back in Shakespeare times; William Shakespeare, who is seen as one of the greatest writers of all time, used 17th century slang throughout his works, inventing and changing the meaning of words in order to be up to date with his writings. In this case I have used ‘fit’ to suit my sociolect group with my friends as I know that they will understand what I am saying. It could also be seen that I would do this to appear current and on trend so that my friends would like me and accept me into their group. However in my transcript with my Auntie, I have not used any slang as I, alike many teenagers, am able to adapt my language depending on who I am talking to. She most likely would not understand what I am saying if I used too much slang and she would be confused therefore I would not use too modern slang as I do not want to exclude her by saying words she cannot understand. Also when talking to a figure of authority I would not use slang as I do not want to create a bad impression as teen slang is often stereotyped as being rude and impolite.

The media presents fillers such as ‘like’ as a way for teenagers to ‘make themselves sound stupid’. Actress Emma Thompson has highly criticised teenagers who use words such as ‘like’ and ‘innit’ saying they make her feel ‘insane’ however these words can be very useful when having a speaking to someone. Using words such as ‘like’ can easily act as a natural filler and also work well to suggest a point whilst keeping the casual aspect of the conversation. Asking ‘do you, like, want to go to the cinema?’ is a way that I would use ‘like’ to suggest the idea of going to the cinema without sounding too formal or artificial. I would most likely use this type of phrase with my friends as it is more casual and shows that we are close as we are comfortable speaking to each other in