Youth language (also youth communication ) describes ways of speaking or linguistic patterns and characteristics that different groups of young people use or have used at different times , in different age groups and under different communication conditions. According to Helmut Glück (2005), the term is not strictly defined. Heinrich Löffler is the language of young people as a transitory special language ( "age-language"), with which these forms of language in the time limit life of the people is pointed. In German and Western European linguistics, however, youth language is hardly seen as a special language any more, but is largely defined as a complex variety of the standard language or as the speaking style of a (certain) group of young people. It is important to distinguish between youth-specific and youth-specific linguistic features and patterns. In youth language research today, characteristics and patterns of orality, colloquial language and group communication in particular are viewed as typical of youth languages (see e.g. Neuland 2008). Exaggerations and intensifications, humor , irony and play , expressivity and emotionality shape the use of language in young people.
Forms of youth language
In the course of time a number of terms for different forms of youth language have emerged; one finds among others: Comic German , students language , Denglisch , soldiers language , students language , scene language , drug jargon , glossary of graffiti , hip hop slang and network jargon . These terms are not all limited to the speeches used by young people; however, they at least also concern their forms of expression, but mainly refer to special lexicons, i.e. the vocabulary of young people. It should be noted that youth language has characteristics and preferences on different linguistic levels, such as phonetics and graphematics, morphosyntax, as well as stylistic and textual aspects. In recent years, especially in urban living spaces, ethnolectal elements from young people with a migration background have flowed into youth language (“Balkan slang”, “Turk German” [ Kanak Sprak ]). This can be seen in individual expressions and phrases as well as in phonetics, but also in gestures.
Characteristics of youth language
Above all, it should be noted that there is no uniform youth language. Rather, it is about forms of expression that develop in group-internal communication and thus take on different forms under different geographical, social and historical conditions. The opinion of the researchers that the function of young people's language consists primarily in the demarcation from the adult world (Glück 2005: “Contra language”) and in consolidating an identification of their speakers with the respective group has meanwhile been expanded. The functions of young people's languages also include finding identity when dealing with role and status ascriptions through the social norm, the conspiratorial function , the emotional-expressive function, but also the naming function of realities that exist in the context of young people's worlds.
Vocabulary and certain stylistic devices (such as exaggeration, intensification, play, irony, provocation, ...) are mentioned as particularly characteristic in literature. The deviating vocabulary has stimulated the creation of a number of scene dictionaries, which, however, also produce a clichéd image of youth language that hardly does justice to the reality of youthful ways of speaking. Special interjections such as boah and ey are also used. Most of the expressions are very short-lived. For example, "knorke" used to be used as an expression of high approval, later "knorke", " cool ", "nice" or "geil" came up, often enriched with increasing forms of expression ("oberaffengeil"). For this reason, there are regularly new editions of the scene dictionaries or even completely new collections, which, however, are viewed critically by linguists in the field of youth language.
Metaphors and pictorial expressions are often used, for example “long leg hair” becomes “natural wool socks”. Youth language is also often very provocative and offensive. Another feature of youth language is abbreviations. So z. B. from "such a" "so'nem". In addition, many words from English are used, although the estimate of the frequency of use is usually exaggerated. An example of Anglicism is the above-mentioned “ cool ” - a word that has meanwhile also established itself in everyday language and can no longer be regarded as typically used by young people. Filler words (e.g. “and so”), interjections and hedges (e.g. “somehow”) are used regularly . In recent years, some young people have often used abbreviations for a sentence (e.g. " YOLO ", which stands for " You only live once "). In the syntax, features of stylized orality stand out, which manifests itself in broken sentences, ellipses, rotations or repetitions.
Social selectivity of youth language
Youth languages are socially, ethnically and gender-specifically selective, albeit to different degrees. The 1960s were evidently an era in which the Federal Republic came closest to the ideal of an egalitarian society according to statistically verifiable criteria. At that time, "at least young people did not seem to have the need to talk about it or even to distance themselves verbally from the poor or uneducated".
- Androutsopoulos, Jannis (2000): From mainstream radio to skater magazines. Youth media viewed from a linguistic perspective. Youth and media. (Ed. By JFF - Institute for Media Education in Research and Practice). media + education 44/4. Munich, 229-235.
- Augenstein, Susanne (1998): Functions of youth language in conversations between young people and adults. In: Androutsopoulos, Jannis: Youth Language. Langue des jeunes. Youth language. Linguistic and sociolinguistic perspectives. Frankfurt / Main (inter alia), 167–195.
- Hadumod Bußmann (Ed.): Lexicon of Linguistics. 3rd updated and expanded edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-520-45203-0 (article: youth language ).
- Helmut Glück (Ed.), With the collaboration of Friederike Schmöe : Metzler Lexikon Sprache. 3rd, revised edition. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2005, ISBN 3-476-02056-8 (keyword: “youth language”).
- Helmut Henne: Youth and their language. Presentation, materials, criticism. de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1986. ISBN 3-11-010967-0 .
- Theodor Lewandowski: Linguistic Dictionary . 4th, revised edition. Quelle & Meyer, Heidelberg 1985. ISBN 3-494-02050-7 . Article: youth language .
- Eva Neuland: Youth language in discussion: opinions, results, conclusions . In: Rudolf Hoberg , Karin Eichhoff-Cyrus (ed.): The German language at the turn of the millennium. Language culture or language decline? Dudenverlag, Mannheim / Leipzig / Vienna / Zurich 2000, ISBN 3-411-70601-5 , pp. 107–123.
- Eva Neuland: Youth Language. An introduction. A. Francke Verlag (UTB for Science), Tübingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-8252-2397-7 ; 2nd revised and expanded edition, 2018, ISBN 978-3-8252-4924-3 .
- PONS Dictionary of Young People's Language 2016 - The Original. 1st edition, PONS, Stuttgart 2015, ISBN 978-3-12-010139-0 .
- Heinrich Löffler: Germanistic sociolinguistics. Erich Schmidt Verlag, Berlin 1985, p. 127, 132. ISBN 3-503-02231-7 .
- Neuland, Eva (2008): Youth Language. An introduction. Tübingen.
- The language of the street. In: NZZ , October 9, 2005.
- A classic of this genre: Claus Peter Müller-Thurau: Let's dig in a snail. Language and sayings of the youth scene. 8th edition. Goldmann, no location 1987. ISBN 3-442-06747-2 .
- Eva Neuland: youth language - youth literature - youth culture: interdisciplinary contributions to linguistic-cultural forms of expression of young people , P. Lang Verlag, p. 134 online
- Claus Peter Müller-Thurau: Let's dig in a snail. Language and sayings of the youth scene. 8th edition. Goldmann, no location 1987, page 144.
- Matthias Heine: Grandpa's youthful words were so fragrant. In: Die Welt , August 20, 2015.