Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-bjz6k Total loading time: 0.387 Render date: 2022-05-16T07:46:31.445Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

19 - Adolescent language

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Penelope Eckert
Affiliation:
Stanford University
Edward Finegan
Affiliation:
University of Southern California
John R. Rickford
Affiliation:
Stanford University, California
Get access

Summary

Editors' introduction

Adolescence is defined by Webster's Third New International Dictionary as “the period … from puberty to maturity,” and it is, as Penelope Eckert notes, a time in which the construction and marking of identity through style are prominent, particularly in secondary schools. Language is a key resource in the process. Among the features associated with adolescent language in the USA are the use of words like dweeb and hella, the ending of statements with a rising (instead of a falling) intonation, and the use of be like and be all to report interactions (as in he's like (shake head); I'm all – ‘what?!’). Contrary to adult stereotypes and complaints, these adolescent usages are not evidence of inarticulateness or vagueness, Eckert argues. Instead, they are innovations that serve discourse functions and mark identity, just like their adult counterparts such as software or the use of okay with rising intonation (We need to prepare a presentation, okay?).

Moreover, what is striking about adolescent language is not its uniformity and conformity, but its diversity and its connection with ideology, as adolescents choose to adopt or avoid various linguistic resources depending on their ethnicity, gender, orientation to school, and other factors. Eckert discusses several examples, including the use of African American Vernacular English among immigrant adolescents in Northern California who identify with street culture rather than school, and the shunning of double negation by “jocks” in suburban Detroit schools (particularly jock girls), in contrast with its more frequent adoption by “burnouts” (among whom gender differences are less pronounced).

Type
Chapter
Information
Language in the USA
Themes for the Twenty-first Century
, pp. 361 - 374
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2004

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)
17
Cited by

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×