Sometimes you just have to write…

L is for language: teen-speak


the M&M dude in the Times Square M&M store

Spending so much time with teenagers, both at home and at work, means that I have to keep up with the constant changes in the language that young people use. A few weeks ago, I talked about this with my “extra son,” who is 16 years old and grew up in Ireland.

What started the conversation was a comment he made about an event that he was, apparently, looking forward to.

“It’s gonna be crack,” he said. Or, at least, that’s what I thought he said.

“Crack? What’s that? That’s a drug, isn’t it? So does ‘crack’ mean it’s going to be good or bad?”

“It’s good! And it’s not ‘crack’ like the drug. It’s c-r-a-i-c. Craic. It’s Irish.”

Thank goodness he’s not talking about crack, the drug, but craic, the word for good.

“I thought ‘sick’ was the word for good.”

“It is. So is ‘dope.’ And ‘ill’ means good too.” (I should add here that my 14-year-old actual son, as opposed to my extra son, insists that ‘ill’ does not mean anything besides unwell.)

“So what do you say when someone is actually sick, meaning they’ve got a disease or something?”

“Then you say he’s f—ed up.”

“Any other words for good that I should know about?”

“Yeah. Epic. And ledge. Short for legendary.”

From the teenagers in school, I would also add the word “awesome,” which I hear far too often. I still use the word “cool,” which my students think is giggle-worthy.

Extra son also calls me “Bro” on a regular basis. And my husband and son are also “Bro.” Every time he says that, I say either “Don’t call me ‘Bro’!” or I add the word to the end of whatever my response is:

“Can you drive me to my lesson, Bro?”

“No, you have plenty of time to get there by bike … Bro.” I say the word “Bro” with a heavy sarcasm index. It doesn’t help. He still keeps calling me “Bro,” and sometimes when I say it, he helpfully points out how stupid it sounds for someone my age to use that word.

The other frequently-heard word is “Dude.” When I’m not a “Bro,” I’m a “Dude.”

My response: “Do I look like a Dude to you?”

It doesn’t work.


2 comments on “L is for language: teen-speak

  1. Annmarie Miles
    April 15, 2013

    enjoyed that.
    Tell him that the Irish word that sounds like ‘crack’ is spelled craic.

    enjoying your posts – finally made it to you 🙂


  2. rachela
    April 16, 2013

    Welcome, auntyamo!

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This entry was posted on April 13, 2013 by in Being a Teacher, Family and tagged , .
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