Friday, February 27, 2004

Not a lot of knitting progress to report (not nearly enough to merit a picture, anyway), so allow me to switch hats and file a Field Report instead.

TeenSpeak 2004: An AmyKnits! Public Service
Living with a teenager is a bit like Margaret Mead bunking with the aborigines. It's a whole new world, baby, and you'd better get used to the fact that it's all about them. During periods of relative peace in the household, I like to adopt a clinical stance not unlike Gil Grissom on CSI, and observe the modern urban teen in his native habitat. Here are my latest findings.

It's well known that teenagers have a language all their own. Each generation has their particular buzzwords and catchphrases. Circa 1977, our speech was peppered with phrases like "boss!" (cool, awesome), "later" (see you later), "don't bogart" (don't be selfish) and "let's jet" or "let's book" (let's go). RockStar's gen is no different. Text and instant messaging heavily influence them. Text messaging has created a sort of New Millennium Gregg's Shorthand, with symbols and characters from the keyboard augmenting the standard alphabet (CUL8R "see you later", B4N "bye for now", BRB "be right back", TTYL "talk to you later", etc.).

Their verbal communication is also heavily influenced by text messaging, and is primarily a language called 'lite (leet) -- short for elite. In 'lite speak, if you are "owned" or have been "owned," it means that a person or situation got the best of you in a most spectacular fashion (see 0wnag3 for video examples of ownage). If you've been owned to the ultimate level, you've been "pwned" (poned). You can also add an all-purpose ending to many words. RockStar and his buds use "zor" to round out many of their nouns and verbs: "Dude, checkzor that weird goth chick over there!" or "My cellzor battery is dead." And of course, "Pwnzor!" (which I assume is the third level of owning: Own, pwn, pwnzor -- pwning cubed?) Given the teen penchant for exaggeration, nearly everything is "uber" (German for "super"). Naturally, there's a second level of uber: ubra ("That was an ubra-burrito, dude!")

Of course, your teen may be speaking his or her own regional dialect or complete separate language of TeenSpeak. We'll compare notes and present papers at the annual Parental Confusion Convention this fall.

Living in TeenLand, even the most dedicated and impartial Parental Anthropologist can't help but be influenced by the native species. DH and I find ourselves yelling, "Pwned!" nearly as often as RockStar. Heaven help us as we try to maintain impartiality, but we fear assimilation is eminent. Send replacements from the Home Office, ASAP.

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