The Atlantic

Why Grown-Ups Keep Talking Like Little Kids

Embracing your inner child is comforting and fun—and just might revitalize the English language.
Source: Tamara Shopsin

I recently had the honor of meeting an award-winning literary sort, a man wry and restrained and overall quite utterly mature, who casually referred to having gone through a phase in his 20s when he’d been “pilly”—that is, when he’d taken a lot of recreational drugs. The word had a wonderfully childish sound to it, the tacked-on y creating a new adjective in the style of happy, angry, and silly. My writer-acquaintance, I recognized, was not alone in bending language this way. On the sleeper-hit sitcom Schitt’s Creek, for instance, one of the protagonists, David, speaks of a game night getting “yelly,” while his sister describes a love interest as “homelessy.” Meanwhile, back in real life, one of my podcast listeners informed me of a Washington, D.C., gentrifier who declared that a neighborhood was no longer as “shooty-stabby” as it once had been.

and its counterparts are not just charming, one-off neologisms; they’re signs of a and are common; my daughter, at age 3, described herself as “a talky kind of a person.” The adoption of some of these linguistic tics by adults—in the form of and many other terms—has given rise to a register we might call kidspeak. It’s a new way of sounding “real,” with a prominence that would challenge a time traveler from as recently as the year 2000.

Citiți o mostră, înregistrați-vă pentru a citi în continuare.

Mai multe de la The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min cititeMedical
Why Kids Might Be Key to Reaching Herd Immunity
A few days after Christmas, Molly Hering, 14, and her brother, Sam, 12, got their first shots as part of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trials for kids. Their mom had heard about a clinical trial being conducted at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and Mo
The Atlantic3 min cititeAmerican Government
‘Unity’ Is Not What America Needs Right Now
President Biden’s pursuit of solidarity is well intentioned. But without concrete plans to hold bad actors accountable, his efforts will be useless.
The Atlantic7 min cititeAmerican Government
How to Undo One of Trump’s Worst, Most Despicable Policies
As President Joe Biden takes office, his administration will get to work reversing some of the Trump administration’s most controversial and destructive policies, including the elimination of key environmental protections, the creation of new immigra