How to decode what teenagers are really saying.

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Let’s start by indulging in a little translation, shall we?

‘We in dis b*tch, Daryl is Esh, so Thirsty for Lilly he wants her for his bae – she with the Fam, loves F*ckboy but been Hectic AF she got The Feels got dem blazed now she’s so woke she cray cray with FOMO but eyebrows on Fleek.’

Don’t speak urban teen? Well, here’s what all that meant:

‘We’re in the car with Daryl, he’s a bit of a loser. Wears his trackpants low and his shirts too long like some sort of gangster. But he’s really desperate for Lilly. He wants to be in a serious relationship with her. It’s not going to happen. She is attracted to men who are sophisticated womanisers. Daryl’s not even a contender. She’s just communing with her social group, engaging in numerous long and intense gatherings, now she’s a bit over emotional after imbibing cannabis through a pipe and she’s feeling anxious that this may cause her to be unavailable for the next social occasion. But on the upside things are looking good because her eyebrows are fabulous.’

Hear Mandy chat to Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo on this week’s episode of This Glorious Mess.  (Post continues after audio.)

Speaking in riddles isn’t new. It seems every generation develops a coded language to keep their parents out of their business. Thanks to social media, teen speak has become like a latter day Latin, growing and evolving like fungus in an unopened lunchbox. And like fungus, whats there one day will be totes different the next.

The kids deploy words we once knew and words we have never heard of in contexts that defy rational meaning. And just when you finally get a grip on what they’re talking about. Just when you start saying ‘Mummy’s feeling cray cray’ they say: ‘Oh my God, mum, no one says that any more.’

That’s when I throw some serious shade. (That means I get shitty)

When it comes to teenspeak, everything is topsy turvy. (BTW Topsy Turvy was teenspeak for ‘hectic’ when your 90-year-old Nanna was 15.)


Mandy Nolan. (Image: supplied)

For instance, if you daughter tells you last night all she and her boyfriend did was watch "Netflix and chill" it doesn’t mean they were watching Vikings. It means they were having sex. She’s hardly going to say "We had sex on the couch while you were sleeping". We’ve all done it. We certainly don’t admit it. So now young people have a way of telling you the truth without you actually understanding what the truth is. So technically, from a teen’s point of view, she was upfront and honest.

Some expressions are pretty explanatory, like if I say something is Savage it means in our teen speak circa 1995 that it sucks. You might say ‘He got lit (drunk & wild) or Turnt, (just drunk) and now there’s a video of him vomiting on Facebook – that's savage’. You could also say it was Brutal. You could also say he should get some new Fam. (Fam means Friends)

Nobody says anything’s wicked anymore. That's done. It’s On Point. And my favourite. On Fleek. According to my sources, On Fleek is the highest form of excellence and is most commonly associated with awesome eyebrows. Apparently having well-shaped eyebrows is a thing. Those places you see in shopping malls offering this mysterious practice called ‘eyebrow threading’ – well they are purveyors of On Fleek. And if your eyebrows are on fleek, then so are you. Now that's cray cray.

Millennials fight back against their own awful reputation... (Post continues after video.)

Or should I say Amazeballs. Totes Amazeballs?

And parents, if you are sending missives to your youth via the smartphone and wondering why you are getting back so much attitude - did you know using a full stop at the end of a text means you’re angry? Since when did grammar denote emotion?


Also on This Glorious Mess this week, Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo ask how The Wiggles can sell out a concert just as quickly as Beyonce, 25 years on....

For more episodes of This Glorious Mess, subscribe in iTunes, find us on the Mamamia Podcast App, or download the show on your podcast app of choice.