- 86 per cent of parents don’t understand what their children say via mobile
- For example ‘fleek’ means good-looking and ‘bae’ is an affectionate term
- Teenagers also rely on emoticons and smiley faces in messages
You might think you’re gr8 with a little txt speak, but the sorry truth is that these abbreviations are already considered ‘antique’ by today’s children.
The English language is transforming faster than at any point in history thanks to mobile phones and social media, according to a leading academic, and teenagers have constructed an entirely new vocabulary that their parents have no chance of understanding.
As soon as older people learn the linguistic rules, the language transforms again, leaving them behind.
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‘Text language acts as barbed wire for an older generation,’ said John Sutherland, professor emeritus at University College London.
‘Parents are part of the locked-out class – they are not allowed in.’
Surveying 2,000 families, he found that 86 per cent of parents do not understand the majority of terms their children use in mobile or social media communication.
These include almost unfathomable words such as ‘fleek’, which means looking good, or ‘bae’ – a term of affection.
Professor Sutherland, who carried out the study with Samsung, said many of the older acronyms and abbreviations used in modern communication – such as gr8 and m8 (great and mate) – developed as a response to the character limits of text messages in early mobile phones.
He added: ‘However, technological evolution has meant these words are now effectively extinct from the text speak language and are seen as “antique text speak”.’
Today’s youth are now said to be moving to a more ‘pictographic’ form of communication with the increasing popularity of emoticons – pictures such as smiley faces.
Professor Sutherland added: ‘This harks back to a caveman-form of communication where a single picture can convey a full range of messages and emoticons.’
The research was carried out to mark the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S6.