Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's like, so random...

As an author writing for teens, dialogue always poses a question 'Where does real teen speak end and fiction dialogue begin?' The problem with giving characters the language that is used today is:
a) it quickly dates the book
b) teen idiom changes across the nation, across the globe and even across suburbs. Hooking up, for instance, can mean one thing for one group of teens but can have a different nuance with another group of teens.
I was talking to another author about this the other day.
Basically, she said unless the author can get the teen speak spot on, dialogue written in teen speak can add a barrier to the acceptance or reading pleasure of the reader, who may find the language used inappropriately.
It's a balancing act of not having teens sound like university intellectuals and being able to get your story across without confusion or losing face with the intended target market.

At the moment, sick is no longer used, random is still in, so is hooking up, skank, try-hard, jun and station rat.
Jun was the most interesting word for me. There was hot debate over how this was spelled.
Apparently bogans are on top of someone in the social ladder — who would have thought?

5 comments:

Eliza Boans said...

OMG what is a station rat?????

Sian said...

I think I know what a station rat is.....but whaat is a jun????

karen tayleur said...

Station Rat - kids that hang around railway stations, hopping trains for trouble, basically up to no good.

Jun - lower on social scale than bogan. More feral than a bogan, messier dresser — not a Muz — but not big on articulating the Queen's English.

Eliza Boans said...

OMG what is a MUZ??
those pesky teens, what language do they think they're, like, speaking these days

Andrew's black dog blog said...

What's the derivation of Jun? Is a Muz higher or lower than a bogan or neither per se? Maybe the time and the place of the language needs to be just right to carry off the language i.e the location in time and space needs to be just so to justify the language and then it needs to spot. (PS thanks Eliza for the tip-off about discussion.)