Phonetic descriptions of the annoying sounds teenagers make

Sometimes, teenagers make irritating noises. Now we know what those noises are called.


Over at The Week, editor (and linguist) James Harbeck has penned an excellent piece titled, quite simply, "Linguistic dissection of 7 annoying teenage sounds." It begins:

The next time you find yourself wondering about the highest use of linguistics, or enduring the insulting grunts and groans of petulant adolescents and wondering how such noises could even be described, bring the two worlds together. Clearly, linguistics exists just so we can give a technical description of those hard-to-spell sounds that erupt from callow youths. Here are seven examples (with three bonus variations).

Included above is the video that accompanies the piece. Enjoy.

Read the full analysis at The Week.


Corpore Metal

You know what the funny thing about this is that these decades now it's become acceptable for adults to make these sounds without being thought of as especially immature. My theory is that decades of advertising's worship of and catering to youth in post-industrial culture has resulted in this.

I mean can you imagine Cary Grant or Kate Hepburn making these noises? Or Judi Dench or Morgan Freeman? It would suck all their gravitas out.