Cray cray news: Are young women linguistic innovators? - Metro US

Cray cray news: Are young women linguistic innovators?

You know how young women have this, like, totally amazeballs way of talking? It’s kinda creating new words out of other words or just straight up speaking in abbrevs, and also sometimes ending a sentence with the inflection of a question…?

Well, turns out, this is, like, way more than annoying, insecure girl babble — it’s a linguistic revolution!

The New York Times reports that this style of speaking, prevalent among young women in their teens and 20s, is actually a highly refined form of communication.

It began with the “like, totally” of the 1980’s and evolved to the “As if’s” and “Whatevers” of cult classic Clueless. These days, it’s a whole lot of Kardashian and Ke$ha speak with transformative words like “ridic” or “amay may.” A more recent development is vocal fry — the fascinating trend of emitting a creaky throat noise and the end of a word. One study found that two-thirds of college-aged women insert vocal fry into their everyday chit chat.

“If women do something like uptalk or vocal fry, it’s immediately interpreted as insecure, emotional or even stupid,” Pitzer College linguistics professor Carmen Fought told The Times. “The truth is this: Young women take linguistic features and use them as power tools for building relationships.”

Here’s another shocktastic fact: Dr. Mark Liberman, a linguist at the University of Pennsylvania, conducted a study in 2011 and found that the use of the word “like” as a conversation filler is actually more prevalent among men than women — cray cray!

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