Teenspeak: Decoding the Gen Z lingo

teenager generation z language

Decoding the way your teen speaks to her Gen Z friends on WhatsApp, Instagram, or Facebook is a tricky business.
You will be forgiven if your face takes on a blank look and your eyes glaze over as you try to navigate your way through the “lols” and “lits”.

The evolving language of Generation Z

Language is something that always evolves, in real life as well as on online platforms. Each generation of teenagers takes on its own quirks and newly coined expressions. Generation Z has plenty of new words and sayings to express themselves, whether face to face or on the social media.
So, if you don’t know your ‘no cap’ from your “GOAT”, we’ve compiled a list of some of the expressions teenagers use in 2020 to help you on your way. But beware, by next year they will have added a whole new arsenal of expressions to their vocab.

12 expressions used by teens

CD9 stands for Code 9. It is used to indicate that a teen can’t talk because the parents can hear them.
This stands for fake Insta. People create a finsta account on Instagram for various reasons. They may want it as a duplicate to keep a record of posts or photographs or to follow certain groups. Your teenager may have set up a secret account to throw you of the trail of what she’s really up to online.
I’m dead
If your teen says ‘I’m dead’, it means she’s ‘dying of laughter’.
Lit or goat
Lit is used to describe something really cool. Goat stands for Greatest Of All Time, meaning something super-super cool.
This stands for “let’s meet in real life”. This should ring alarm bells. The person on the other end may be a sexual predator in the process of grooming your teen, or somebody stalking your child. If you see this, do whatever you can to find out the identity of the person. Also explain to your teen how easy it is for people to pretend to be someone else online.
Netflix and chill
Your built-in parental detector should immediately spring into action when teens tell you they’re going to “watch Netflix and chill”. What they really mean is this is a cover for someone to come over for visit, or to go and visit someone to make out or worse.
No cap
This means telling the truth, as in “not a word of a lie”. Youngsters use it to emphasise the fact that they are telling the truth. The opposite also applies. If you “cap”, you’re lying.
This is used to emphasise a point, much like “period” is used at the end of a sentence to indicate that no further discussion is needed.
This is text code for “parents over shoulder” and is used to indicate that the person can’t text what they really want to because a parent can see the text
“Shade” means someone is doing something to someone else or getting up to mischief. The perpetrator is “throwing shade”.
Straight fire
This means better than anything else or “hot” in the sexy sense of the word.
“Sus” stands for suspicious or suspect and may mean that something is about to happen.

By Linda Cilliers


Image:  Freepik

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