The fad of social networks is believed to be changing the way young people speak, especially girls. Experts point out that Facebook and Twitter are changing the way girls speak, making them more aggressive, according to a report by Daily Mail. These social networks are said to promote terser sentences, which can make youngsters appear rude and disrespectful. Marie Clair, of the Plain English Campaign, said, “Young people’s language in general is becoming more direct in comparison to their parents and the business community because of the communication channels they’re more familiar with. Those fast communication channels of Facebook, email and Twitter [that] they’ve grown up with mean they haven’t got as much time to deliberate and choose their words.” This is said to be the reason why these kids come across as being more aggressive unintentionally. 

Are social networks making young girls aggressive?

Are social networks making young girls aggressive? (Image Credit: Getty Images)

She further pointed out that there is a fine line between being curt or aggressive and being straightforward. Moreover, this is seen largely among girls, as they believably communicate more than boys. So, basically, it’s like sending short messages, which won’t have too many pleasantries compared to when writing letters. “If you’re sending text messages all the time, you’re having conversations that are like shorthand,” she added. “To any outsider, there aren’t those pleasantries that there were when you wrote a letter to someone.”

Deborah Cameron, Professor of language and communication at the University of Oxford, says girls were at the forefront of language changes, like rising tonal intonation, which is when the voice goes high at the end of a sentence. “Girls are the innovative ones, more than boys are. The teenage years are a period of life where you find linguistic innovations of all kinds, and girls are generally ahead of the curve. People often put down as ‘girls’ language’ something that’s actually going to spread through the whole speech community,” she said. Professor Cameron further said that it could be right that teenagers’ language styles in general are getting more aggressive; however there is no ‘hard evidence’ of this at present. Hard-core swearing is found with adolescent and young adult, working class males.

There are also debates over modern pop songs influencing girls’ voices. Researchers at Long Island University have identified use of a speech pattern known as ‘vocal fry’ – a ‘creaky’, guttural sound that pop stars like Kesha and Britney Spears add to lower notes to convey soulfulness. The study was conducted on 34 women in the age group 18 to 25 years and their speech was recorded. They are said to have ‘practiced or observed’ this raspy vocal register and ‘modelled it to match popular figures’. Reportedly, Ikuko Patricia Yuasa, a lecturer in linguistics at the University of California, revealed that ‘vocal fry’ can be used by women to sound more authoritative, but it can also communicate disinterest.

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