Thursday, May 13, 2010

Language of YA

Okay, here's the deal. Teens talk a lot like I did when I was a teen. YAY! Okay, except for yay, maybe. I haven't heard that come from a teen yet. What I can say is that they still say Dude. *grin* I love it.

Yes, I've been teeny eavesdropping. And watching every possible sitcom with teens. Well, not every possible, because honestly, who wants another One Tree Hill? Oh, I digress. Wait, that's the theme! Notice, I'm absolutely seventeen again. Dripping with sarcasm, but with the most intelligent vocabulary. I know how to clutter my language with expletives and sound cool. Yes, we still say cool, too. Although there are a slew of others that had me confused. Have you heard these?

"Sad." That means good, by the way.
"Wicked." Okay, I realize that's not terribly new or imaginative, but it's used much more now.
"So last year/decade/century"
"Like" Which is cool, because I said "Like" a lot. It was appropriately teen aged annoying.
"Crazy (insert appropriate adjective)" Kind of like, "That was crazy cool! She has this crazy hot body." Yeah, mostly guys I've heard speak this language.
Here is what I love about most teens that I've met. They use an impressive vocabulary. Do not underestimate the fifteen year old at the park with her boyfriend. She's probably already learned all about insulting people in the most intellectual of ways. Or standing up for her teen rights. Because we do have those, you know.

Have you let your teen self out in your writing? Or are you like me and had to overhear other teens of "today" to kick start the ol' memory?


  1. I probably watch far more teen movies than a 32 year old the language is completely comfortable for me to write, on the few occasions that I have anyway! :)

  2. I do find teen language popping up in my writing, probably because I teach high school. The problem is that I write chapter books - my characters are NOT teens. Ugh! :-)

  3. I like Stephanie's idea of getting the dialogue from movies.

    Although, even though I'm not a teenager anymore, I have to admit that even the movies targeted for teens sometimes felt a little overdone and insulting.

    Sure, some kids try to hard and talk that way, but a lot of kids talk pretty close to the way the younger generation of adults talk.

    I love agent Mary Kole's advice: if the word belongs in a business memo, it doesn't belong in your manuscript.

  4. I love wicked though I know I wouldn't be allowed to say it!!!

    I use crazy cool and crazy good all the time!! Awesomesauce is also a new one to the world of teens and I am fond of this one as well!

  5. I've got kids and I teach kids - so I always have an endless source of great slang! :)

  6. I'm kind of immersed in it. My daughter is fourteen. You're right. They're pretty much saying the same things.

  7. I just found your blog and am looking forward to more! This post in particular drew me...I'm writing YA and am really struggling with allowing my characters to sound...well, to NOT sound like a thirty-something woman... I've got to work on my eavesdropping skills. Thanks!


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