Index - Science - The biggest innovators of language are teenage girls

Index – Science – The biggest innovators of language are teenage girls

According to Heidegger, man is a “existence embodied in language”, since there is no language outside of human society, and there is language in every society, both postulating each other. Flexible language like everything changes, but a lot of it remains constant, otherwise communication will be very difficult.

The most striking changes in the language are the development of vocabulary, the emergence of new or old words, the introduction of foreign expressions that reflect changes in life. Vocabulary “is not a system but a set of data, i.e. lexical information” – Says Ádám Nádasdy. Although he claims that language changes because there is no opposing force that would hold him back, and as long as he can play his part in communication, he can change as much as he wants.

Scholars who study changes in the English language have found that the class and generation most forming the language are the group of adolescent girls who have been the language’s greatest innovators for centuries. Girls use language more innovatively, by inventing new words, among other things, which are then combined into the common language.

Proof of Finnish characters

Linguists at the University of Helsinki Terttu Nevalainen and Helena Raumolin-Brunberg examined 6,000 letters written between 1417 and 1681. The pair examined fourteen language changes that occurred during this period and how they appear in private handwritten letters. Eleven of the fourteen modifications appeared before female letter writers, implying that they switched to the new grammatical/stylistic component more quickly. In the three exceptional cases where men precede women, these particular changes were related to men’s access to a better education. Nivalainen’s research showed that the vocabulary of female letter writers changed faster, new words were incorporated, and old terms were replaced sooner than men.

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Further research showed that women also began to use distinctive New York English with a strong r, caused vowel changes in American cities around the Great Lakes, and were also the first to leave out the French rejection of “no” – t in Tours . Canadian linguist Gretchen McCulloch writes that women are responsible for about 90 percent of language changes today, but William LaBeouf, the founder of sociolinguistics, noted in a study 30 years ago that much of the language change is associated with women.

Why women?

A 2009 study estimated that men lag nearly a generation behind in changing language patterns. Perhaps because women have greater social awareness, broader social networks, or is it the key in their nature and upbringing? To be sure, young women tend to be more social, empathetic, and more interested in how their peers view them. These are all good grounds for changing the language. Of course, it must also be kept in mind that women are still likely to spend more time looking after their children, even at work, than men. In addition, men also learn the language from their mothers, and women usually inherit the language from other women. Most kindergarten teachers are still women. This means that even if men influence the language with innovations and changes, it will be difficult for them to transmit it.


(Cover Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

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