Language Quiz: Are You on Fleek? By WILSON ANDREWS and JOSH KATZ FEB. 22, 2015
Yolo. Rekt. Bae. Xans. Lordt. Every era has its own version of emerging language, and the new words and phrases of our time tend to spring from the Internet – from emails, texts, tweets and other rapid-fire, written communication.
They’re often acronyms or abbreviations. Some become enduring parts of communication – as O.K., P.S. and R.S.V.P. did, from earlier times – while others flare briefly and then fade.
To get a sense for which of today’s emerging terms are on the rise, which are fading and which may have longevity, Jack Grieve, a linguist at Aston University in England, analyzed almost one billion tweets from the millions of Twitter users within the contiguous United States. Not surprisingly, Mr. Grieve found that “lexical innovators” – those people are in the vanguard of word usage – are overwhelmingly young. More specifically, a disproportionate number are young black women in the South and young white men in the West and North.
Here, we offer a short, 12-question quiz for you to find out how linguistically en vogue you are. Along the way, we’ll give you some details on which words are on the upswing and which words are, as the kids would have said a couple years ago, meh.