Teenage vocabulary


When you’re seventeen you know everything. When you’re twenty-seven if you still know everything you’re still seventeen.
— Ray Bradbury

My son, as soon as he was able, loved to talk and chat. Once he started there was no stopping him and he would impressively hold in-depth conversations on a range of subjects. Now he has entered his teenage years his at-home vocab has shrunk to approximately 15 words. He is still friendly and great fun to have around but his in-depth conversations seem reserved for friends at school and via social media.

His typical vocab, and my translation, consists of:

  • “I’ll guts you.” I don’t think that was funny and is sometimes used as a rhetorical question – “Do you want to get gutsed?”
  • “No.” This is used as the answer to any suggestion that doesn’t immediately gel.
  • “Eej”. A short version of eejit (from the TV programme Mrs Brown's Boys) and is used when I try to have a little fun at his expense.
  • “Eej hob. A short version of eejit hobbit which is used when I do have a little fun at his expense.
  • “Stop that.” A verbose version of “No”.
  • “Dessert?” What’s for dessert? This is usually asked while peering in the fridge or pantry.
  • “Thank you”. He is always polite.
  • “Yes”. His usual response to the question – “Did you have a good day?”

We hold proper conversations when required but it has been interesting to watch him develop and become more insular. Interestingly, I do hear him having long chats with his Grandma from time to time. This feels like a perfectly normal state of affairs. It is the developmental phase where his identity is becoming uniquely his own rather than one that is linked to immediate family. I think!