Social Media is Changing the English Language, FR (For Real)

It has been said that the English language is changing faster than ever, and you only have to scroll through Instagram to see the proof.

Depending on your activity, the Instagram Explore page can be a sea of selfies and captions littered with scary sounding hashtags like #OnFleek, #Fierce and #Slay – many are thanks to Beyoncé.

If you’ve got major FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and need a hand de-coding the language of the social media generation, you’re not alone. A survey by The Guardian revealed that 86% of British parents think teenagers speak an entirely different language on social media, and they’re not far wrong.

I know that my parents, for example, have only just managed to come to terms with the fact that ‘LOL’ is no longer ‘Lots Of Love’, but actually ‘Laugh Out Loud’… Just in time for noughties style text speak to become completely obsolete. #TBT.

New acronyms, words, phrases and emojis are being constantly created, to the point where our deepest feelings can be portrayed by a couple of emoticons, leading even the BBC to question ‘Will emoji become a new language?’.

Older generations might be finding themselves literally lost for words, in a world where people at parties get ‘lit’ (meaning drunk or wild, not on fire), we’ve dropped the second syllable of baby (‘bae’ = Before Anyone Else), and you’re in serious danger of using the aubergine emoji in the wrong context.

The dialect of social media users is slowly but surely filtering into everyday language, 2013 saw ‘selfie’ selected as Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year, and more recently, last year ‘YOLO’ was one of many new additions to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Informal language has evolved so considerably in the past 25 years, it leads us to wonder what is still to come. Will our parents be calling us bae and complementing our ‘on fleek’ hair? What will be the next acronym to make it into the dictionary? Will ‘emoji’ ever become a recognised language? And what will be 2017’s biggest viral words and terms? Our money is on ‘TD’ (To Die) and ‘Extra’ (meaning over the top, but I’m still trying to figure out the context of this one)…

– Melissa Hassan, Account Executive

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