OMG, say it’s not like that – GOAT could be here to stay, enlightened and with Gucci, as social media can increasingly allow general slang to become an accepted part of our grammar. If you are not “okay”, note that “okay / OK” started in the form of slang, which is exploited in the form of acceptance. Okay, it has been around since at least the mid-19th century – even if the phrase was misrepresented during Oscar-winning films A brave heart, which ranked in the 15th century.
Now other common slangs are on the way to universal acceptance, although many believe that proper English is still necessary, According to a new report from Word.tips.
We may use a lot of slang – and who doesn’t say “cool” at least once a day and doesn’t refer to temperature – but according to the survey, nearly 80% of respondents still believed it was necessary to learn and use English correctly in general. Baby boomers were more likely to think, though not surprisingly, Z-generation respondents were less likely. In addition, 51% of respondents said they were optimistic about the future of the English language, but again, respondents in Generation Z were more likely to experience this than 63%, while age groups were not 37%.
Perhaps today’s retirees forget that a lot of today’s slang was formed in their youth. It’s probably a matter of generation, just like popular music. Ask older boomers what they considered an example of the MTV Music Video Awards!
“In recent years, we’ve seen the use of slang increase as new terms like‘ zaddy ’and‘ yeet ’are added to the dictionary, so we wanted to analyze how people felt that such terms were added to the dictionary and where they most likely encounter these terms in everyday life,” explained Word.tips commitment director Mirela Iancu.
The impact of social media
Whether you want modern English to evolve, there probably isn’t much choice. All languages change and evolve over time – that’s why Shakespeare’s works can be hard to understand, while Geoffrey Chaucer’s works aren’t quite easy to read.
Given that today’s language has survived in movies and television, slang has remained largely unchanged – not so much that “groovy” or “far away” is heard a lot today, except perhaps with some baby boomers.
Still, many believe that slang can become more harmful to English thanks to social media. According to a Word.tips survey, 49% of respondents believed that Facebook was actually the worst culprit, followed by Instagram 37% and Tik Tok 34%.
This can be a problem in that different generations can have different meanings for commonly used words. Imagine a baby boomer with a very different view of the “basics” than a member of the Z generation, or even a thousand-year-old.
It can get worse as more communication takes place through social platforms.
“Our research shows that Facebook (75%), Instagram (52%) and YouTube (52%) are the best sites where users face the most slang,” Iancu added. “It’s also interesting that more than four people who run into slang on social media have no idea what some terms really mean.”
So does slang destroy English? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean social media will continue to be a scapegoat – now there’s 17th-century slang to “escape the goat” as a spoil of a goat that was believed to have escaped (and not to be confused with GOAT – Greatest Of All Time).
“Because people are most likely to see slang on Facebook, nearly 50% of people blame the social media app for spoiling the English language, and baby boomers and Generation Xers are most likely to believe this,” Iancu said. “We found that all generations agree that words should be used for at least five years before they are added to the dictionary; it’s interesting to see which slang terms really make it so far.”