In my travels in the USA (on Long Island), I noted that the pronunciation used by a teenager sounds different from the pronunciation used by an adult.

Does such difference exist, or is it just my impression?

  • Yes, teenagers only "communicate" with grunts! – neil Jun 14 '11 at 18:39
  • It also depends on whether or not the teenager is local to the area; many people take weekends on Long Island - and a NYC accent is different from a Jersey accent, and so forth. – Darwy Jun 18 '11 at 13:38
  • @Darwy I was referring to teenagers who were living on Long Island. While I could understand their parents, I was not able to understand them. That is why I was wondering if there were a noticeable difference between how American teenagers speak, compared to older people. – kiamlaluno Jun 18 '11 at 14:34
  • Perhaps the teens were using ‘uptalk’ or ‘high rising terminal’? – tchrist Jan 8 '12 at 16:33
  • @tchrist If it was just that, I think I would have understand them better. – kiamlaluno Jan 8 '12 at 17:12

This is actually common across languages. Younger generations speak differently from older generations, and not only in vocabulary and syntax, but also in pronunciation.

  • 1
    I guess I note it more on English because it's not my first language. :-) – kiamlaluno Aug 25 '10 at 9:33
  • Yes, that might be. Your observation is accurate in any case. – Kosmonaut Aug 25 '10 at 11:43

The answer to this will massively depend upon where in the United States you travel. Most dialects in the US are undergoing changes in progress, and are they not all changing in the same way (again, see the Atlas of North American English).

When a language changes, by definition that means that the children in a community speak differently from the adults. However, how they speak differently will depend on the direction of the change. So, in the American West, there is a particular change that has making short-a sound backer, so that "cat" is sounding more and more like "cot". In the Great Lakes region, the exact opposite is happening, where "cot" is sounding more and more like "cat".

In both the West and the Great Lakes Region, children sound different from adults, but in completely opposite ways.

  • undergoing changes in progress?? – Lambie Aug 30 '16 at 15:11

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