Slang, a creative, ever-changing and highly colorful vernacular, spreads at the same time that it is continuously renewed. Each generation of insiders invents a new argot that comes to permeate even the ordinary speech of outsiders. Like the “classic” cant of thieves and pimps, today’s teen speak serves as a cryptic shibboleth to forge community identity – and exclude “the others” who speak the standard language of adults, of school and the establishment. French teen argot is now heavily influenced by the emergence of SMS “textese”, as well as by the languages of the countries of origin of immigrant families in France, hence the prevalence of words of Arabic origin in latter-day French slang.
This sound piece features neologisms used by 12–17-year-olds from various French cities and their thoughts on French as spoken today. They give us a veritable “language lesson”.
Duration : around 10 minutes