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Book description

How do today's teenagers talk? What are the distinguishing features of their style of language, and what do they tell us about the English language more generally? Drawing on a huge corpus of examples collected over a fifteen-year period, Sali A. Tagliamonte undertakes a detailed study of adolescents' language and argues that it acts as a 'bellwether' for the future of the English language. Teenagers are often accused of 'lowering the standards' of the English language by the way they talk and text. From spoken words - 'like', 'so', 'just', and 'stuff' - to abbreviated expressions used online, this fascinating book puts young people's language under the microscope, examining and demystifying the origins of new words, and tracking how they vary according to gender, geographical location, and social circumstances. Highly topical and full of new insights, the book is essential reading for anyone interested in how teenagers talk.

Reviews

'Teen Talk offers an exciting, thought-provoking, and engaging observation of the 'good, the bad and the lovely' aspects of youth language. Using a wide range of datasets from the Bergen Corpus of London Teenage Language to insights gained from kitchen table conversations with her own children, Tagliamonte forcefully demonstrates how the linguistic behaviour of young people offers fascinating insights into the dynamics of how linguistic systems can be reorganized from one generation to the next. If you manage to read just one book on this topic at any stage of your own life, make it this one.'

Karen Corrigan - Newcastle University

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