Slang in English related to internet culture today

Anna De SimoneContributor

Today’s college student slang is influenced by factors such as social media and the feeling of being included by social groups on campus, said English professor Dina Brun.

“New slang is, in a way, a password for entering and belonging to a certain group of people,” said Brun.

When students enter college, Brun said they are exposed to and acquire new words that their peers use. She said that is precisely how languages evolve.

“One of the most prominent examples of slang I can think of is the use of ‘bruh,’” said elementary education major, Melanie Vieira, a junior.

Vieira said she does not use the term herself, but she has seen the term all over social media networks and has heard her boyfriend use it frequently with his friends.

The term, “bruh,” is slang typically used in response to someone saying something stupid or telling a strange story, said Vieira.

As an example, she said if two college boys were talking to each other and one said, “Bro, my ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend just added me on Instagram,” his friend might respond with, “Bruh,” as a way to say, “Seriously?”

“I think the term ‘bet’ is something that has become a pretty popular slang term on campuses,” said communication, media and screen studies major Blair Snyder, a junior.

Snyder said the word “bet” is a phrase of affirmation. If someone agrees with something that someone said, they may say “bet” instead of saying “yes.” Brun said she believes social media is the cause of faster and wider spread of new vocabulary.

“Social media and memes are definitely a huge influence,” said Vieira. “I also think that the people that you associate with affect your entire disposition.”

Vieira said people mirror those they spend time with, it makes sense that friends and family in the college-age range would have a large effect on college students.

“I think the most common influence is street culture, especially
in urban environments,” said Snyder.

Snyder said she thinks street culture slang is popularized by New York City areas such as Manhattan and Brooklyn, because that is where she first heard the slang terms before they become more widely used. According to a study by PlayNJ, a company owned by Catena Media, the most common slang term in Connecticut is “apizza,” which is the New Haven version of the traditional pizza.

The Italian-immigrant owners of the restaurant, Frank and Filomena Pepe, referred to pizza as “apizza,” which originates from the Neapolitan dialect of Italy.

A study found Italian Americans make up about 21 percent of the New Haven, Conn. population. Brun said while some slang words were borrowed from other languages, others derived from professional jargon; native English speakers.

“I will enjoy observing language change,” said Brun. “And appreciate being a part of this fast-moving process of language evolution.”

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