Teens and Slang: A Gender Perspective

Nasim Ghanbari


On the one hand, use and spread of slang as an important part of the mode of communication has been mostly associated with teenagers' language who by passing the accepted linguistic norms seek proving themselves. Moreover, origination of slang is said to be one of the properties of teenagers at the turn of the century. On the other hand, although language of genders has been studied by several scholars, it gets more interesting when it is paired with this "entertaining word play", which due to its very nature-being coarse and direct-has mostly been attributed to males. Females, however, are getting inventive and trying to come up with some slang of their own and it seems that for teenage girls’ slangs are evolving at an even faster clip. Are there really any differences between male and female teenagers in their use of the slang words? If there are, what kind of difference may be found in societies which are perceived to be male dominant? Being concern of the present study, the researchers used both empirical and ethnographic elements of research to find relationships, if any, between use of slang words and the gender of Iranian teenagers, in a society which is perceived to be mostly male-dominant. Two high schools were therefore randomly chosen and six male and six female high schoolers who aged between 16 and 17 and came from upper middle-class families were randomly selected and interviewed using sociolinguistic interview protocols. Preliminary results, based on Chi-Square tests, revealed significant differences between the linguistic behavior of Iranian male and female teenagers. Females were interestingly found to be both more direct and more creative in their use of slang words. Our findings shed doubt on the generally accepted view of scholars on the linguistic (and social) dominance of males in modern Iranian society.


Slang, Gender, Teenagers Language

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