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The English words of young people

16/08/20142 minute read

Growing up in London has made me realise that the correct English language is a bit of a myth. The only person I remember ever speaking the correct English language in my entire life was my Secondary School Head Teacher. To be fair she was about 70 something year old, it would have been very weird if she came out and greeted us with “Yo students!”

In the olden days, around the time of Henry VIII and Queen Victoria, I’m sure people didn’t greet each other with “What’s popping?” (Meaning, “Hello, how are you?”). You were more likely to hear greetings such as “How do you do?”

Being a young adult myself, I have heard many different ways of saying one phrase, sentence or word which all mean the same thing.

Wa Gwan
What’s Up

Good Bye
See you later
I’m out of here
I’m bouncing

How are you?
What’s good?
How’s it going?
What up?

Thank you

As you can see, the English language has been ‘urbanised’ by young people nowadays and surprisingly, as they get older, they tend to stick with the same words. 5 o’clock rush hour on the London Underground, you get the random 30-35 year olds with their expensive looking suits and briefcases, speaking with their work colleague and coming out with sentences such as:

“Work was long today, can’t wait to bounce home” meaning “Work was long today, can’t wait to get home”


“Can’t wait for the weekend, I’m going to get wasted” meaning “Can’t wait for the weekend, I’m going to get drunk”.

As generations go by, the correct English language will start to fade away. Although children are taught the right English vocabulary and grammar in school, once you leave school, it’s a whole new English language you hear, learn and speak. Eventually, we are going to need language translations to help us understand one another! But as they say English is a funny language and for decades this language has evolved and the next generation could bring a new chapter to this interesting story.

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