least 10 – 15 words W r i t i n g
One of the most prolific and dynamic sources of changing language is our nation’s youth, who seem to create, recycle, or repurpose new words every day. Your goal is to take on the role of anthropologist and observe a conversing group of young people in their natural habitat. This can take place at a school, a mall, a home, or anywhere that you can find a group of young people in conversation.
As you learn and consider from where language comes and how it changes over time, your next assignment is going to be to observe morphology and semantics as it occurs every day in our schools, public gathering places, and homes.
- Select a group of young people to observe in their natural habitat, including listening to their conversation and use of words.
- While observing, take notes on the words that you hear them say with which you are unfamiliar, or words that are familiar, but are being used in a different context.
- Write down at least 10–15 words.
- Write down the sentence in which you heard the word so that you can use context clues later to decipher their meaning.
- Once you have your list, find the definitions of these words.
- There are several sources online where you can type in a word and the tool will tell you what it means.
- Be warned, however, that many of these tools are designed for modern kids who have been desensitized to inappropriate language.
- You might be shocked at some of the content that you encounter on these sites ( is a great example of this!) (opens in new window).
Presentation and Reflective Questions:
- In an artistic electronic rendering (slides presentation, Prezi, blog, etc.), list 10 of the words that you heard while listening to conversing teenagers. Be sure that you choose words that are rated PG!
- Use these words in a sentence, and describe what they mean.
- Use pictures or images to represent their meanings, and be prepared to explain your words, their meanings, and the art that you chose.>
- Include a section in your presentation where you can provide answers to the following reflective discussion questions:
- What struck you about the language being used by the teenagers whom you observed?
- What did you expect going in?
- How did your expectations live up to the results?
- Did you engage in similar language creation when you were that age?
- Do you see similarities between your development and the development of the teens whom you observed?
- What principles of morphology/semantics did you observe? Include citations/references when citing outside sources.
- What conclusions can you draw about how language changes in real-life, and in real-time?