Understanding the Generational Divide – Its Impact on Slang|
In a world where generational labels like “Ok, Boomer” and “Parennials” are being thrown around and becoming normalized more than ever, do any of us know what exactly they mean?
Defining the Generations
This generation defines the people in America who grew up during the Great Depression and fought in the second World War. The term is thought to have been coined by former NBC News anchor and journalist Tom Brokaw, who wrote a book titled “The Greatest Generation”.
This generation was born during a period of economic trouble during the Second World War and grew up in the tense ever-changing world afterwards. This is the smallest of the generations, and they are known for being thrifty and resourceful, respecting authority, and behaving loyally towards their jobs and families.
This generation makes up a significant portion of the world’s population, especially in more developed nations. The term “Baby Boomer” is derived from the boom in births that took place after the return of soldiers from WWII. Because of their high numbers and relative economic prosperity during their careers, they have been a significantly influential generation.
This generation’s name comes from a novel by author Douglas Coupland titled Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. Like the silent generation, Generation X has been defined as an “in-between” generation. Gen X households got access to more modern technology and experienced the run-up to the dot-com bubble of the late nineties. This generation experienced the internet as young adults and had to learn how to embrace the new technology.
This generation is named because they were born near or came of age during the dawn of the 21st century. This is the first generation born into a digital world where technology has always been a part of their daily lives. They are much more progressive in their political and religious views than their predecessors and are more likely to explore a variety of different career paths in their lifetime. They primarily want to travel young and pursue hobbies that bring a sense of personal fulfilment.
This generation is the follow-up to the XYZ naming convention and the first generation to grow up in a world where social media communication is standard. Due to this, they are sometimes stereotyped as tech-addicted and anti-social. Gen Z is also known as an “in-between” generation, as they mirror millennials on critical social and political issues, but without much of their optimism, and as Generation Alpha is online at a much younger age, it is distinctly hard to draw a line between these three tech-influenced generations.
This generation started in 2010- the year of the iPad’s launch – and the last Gen Alphas will be born around 2024. Much more remarkable is that they will be the most significant generation the world has ever seen, with 2 billion Alphas well on the way. We will see a continuation of some characteristics of Gen Z and Millennials, as their unifying factor is technology.
How Slang is Decided by the Youth
Slang, Internet Slang, and Jargon
Words that change their meaning over time
“F–k the World” used to be used as a defiant stance against everything, commonly used in the rebellious ages in the 70s. Now the abbreviation typically stands for “For the Win”, which is derived from online gaming culture.
The word used to mean “to make someone annoyed or angry”. This expression comes from an old tradition in horse racing, which is thought to have a calming effect on high-strung thoroughbreds; a goat was placed in the horse’s stall the night before the race. Opponents would then steal the goat to anger the horse and cause it to lose the race. The word now means “Greatest of all time”, which comes from the famed boxer Muhammad Ali’s nickname.
This used to mean that you were in a lot of trouble. For example, you got a bunch of missed phone calls from your parents because you were out late. Now, however, it is used in response to witnessing something incredibly funny or amusing.
This acronym was used to mean “so much hate” as an appropriate response to a hurtful or uneducated remark. It is now more commonly known as “shaking my head”, You use it when you want to react to something that left you at a loss for words, and the only thing you can think of doing is shaking your head.
In olden slang, salty meant someone who has been around the block and is someone you don’t want to mess with. Now that phrase has been wholly flipped and is used to describe someone annoyed or upset at something unreasonable.
This usually meant that you have charisma and attractiveness dripping out of you, but the word has changed slightly to become synonymous with “swag” or your clothing, outfit and accessories.
In some circles, the juice was slang for alcohol or illegal substances. However, now it is the be-all-end-all word to determine how much battery life your smartphone has.
This was used to describe people who were close friends with one another. Now it is used to describe something cool and exciting.
This was used to express disbelief, whereas now “bet” is to express certainty, similarly to “all right”.
Technically tea was a response to people asking for the truth, “what is the tea?” However, now it means to gossip, as in “spill the tea” or “spill the beans” in response to how elderly women in the south would get together for afternoon tea and discuss the latest happenings.