PDA

View Full Version : Authentic High Schooler dialog



lurky
12-10-2018, 12:50 AM
Hi, i am writing a scene with some cool high school characters. I dont know any HS kids myself, and i havent been in HS in some time. I want to get a handle on how they talk so my dialog is believable Can anyone suggest maybe a youtube channel featuring cool talking high school kids? Or perhaps a reality show? MTV maybe?
Thanks

Chris P
12-10-2018, 01:23 AM
My teenagers are all adults now, but as for vocabulary, I don't think teenagers differ much from adults, nor does the subject matter: sports, gossip, TV shows, funny stuff that happened, etc. What I think does differ is the amount of life experience they relate to what they say. Teens are more likely to make leaps of logic on little evidence, and rely more on what they think is going on, or what an adult they trust says, versus experiences of when similar things happened in the past.

AW Admin
12-10-2018, 01:34 AM
This is a Research question rather than a BWQ, so I'm going to move the thread to Research.

aspirit
12-10-2018, 01:54 AM
My recommendation is to dig up YouTube videos of actual kids who live where your story is set. Also check forums focused on the topics your characters care about. Kids from different areas don't all use the same phrases when joking around and trying to look cool. Gamers will make different references than foodies or fujoshi (when they aren't all three). Slang in the UK is different than in the US.

Note: I'm not sure how many teens these days know of MTV. The majority in the USA watching Instagram feeds, sharing memes on Snapchat, and getting news from YouTube.

Roxxsmom
12-10-2018, 02:16 AM
My recommendation is to dig up YouTube videos of actual kids who live where your story is set. Also check forums focused on the topics your characters care about. Kids from different areas don't all use the same phrases when joking around and trying to look cool. Gamers will make different references than foodies or fujoshi (when they aren't all three). Slang in the UK is different than in the US.

Note: I'm not sure how many teens these days know of MTV. The majority in the USA watching Instagram feeds, sharing memes on Snapchat, and getting news from YouTube.

Very good points here. And kids can shift the way they talk, depending on the context and group they are interacting with. A kid who plays sports and also loves video games will likely sound a bit different, depending on what he is talking about and with whom. In general, kids who are thought of as "cool" will have cool interests, which seem to be sports, popular movies and television shows (fewer and fewer of which are actually watched on television), entertainers and entertainment, the latest memes being swapped on snapchat or wherever. But I've noticed that my own nieces, who seem to have lots of friends and be involved in lots of activities, are more politically aware and interested in politics than my own generation (X) was at their age.

Debbie V
01-03-2019, 08:59 AM
Something to think about: Slang changes rapidly. What's cool speak today may not be by the time your book comes out.

Go places where kids go and listen to them. (Local shops and eateries, malls, movie theaters, but use spots your characters would hang out in.) Sometimes they don't talk at all. They text while walking through the hall right next to each other or across the table in the cafe, even when they wouldn't really care if others heard what they were saying. Coffee is huge in my area to the point where the middle school banned Starbucks cups.

PamelaC
01-04-2019, 05:21 AM
I've been teaching high school for 17 years, so I should be an expert in how these bizarre critters talk to one another. They really don't speak that much differently than normal people...I mean adults. I've been away from them for nearly two weeks (bliss...I'm almost human again!) for Christmas break, but I'll be immersed in their world once again next week. I'll try to pay attention to their dialogue a bit more. They say "like" more than adults do. Like, it seems like they say it like all the time.

They swear a lot.

Yeah, Youtube could be a goldmine.

Patty
01-04-2019, 05:58 AM
I notice high school kids modifying their language around potential love interests to a much greater extent than adults do.

I see young women get quiet and giggly, and young men put on a lot of bravado. When they are in a mixed group.

iszevthere
01-04-2019, 07:03 AM
Youtube or tv shows..."Grimm" has teenagers -on- some of the episodes and so does "Law & Order: SVU," off the top of my head. Two books I recently read that have teenaged main characters are "The Secret Place" by Tana French (you don't have to read the whole Murder Squad series. Allow me to resist from grumbling my enormous opinion on the series except for books five and six), and "A Time For Dancing" by Davida Wills Hurwin. "A Time For Dancing," though, does take place in the early 90s. I don't remember any period slang though. I'm reading it again soon.

benbenberi
01-04-2019, 06:11 PM
Go to Instagram, follow some "influencers" of the type your characters would want to follow, read the posts *and the comments*. Follow the rabbit trails. It will be an education.

Don't bother with anything on TV. TV is written by people who may or may not have been in a room with a teenager in the last 10 years but definitely not by or for them. Kids don't watch TV much anymore.

angeliz2k
01-04-2019, 07:22 PM
Honestly, my advice is not to try too hard. I think what's important isn't so much picking up on the "lingo" (which you may get wrong, and which will certainly seem hilariously out-of-date in five years) but what teenagers are thinking and talking about. When you come down to it, that won't be much different than it ever was. They are going to try to fit in and stand out simultaneously, try to impress (or get the attention of) the person they're attracted to, try to figure out what they're good at and what interests them . . . But don't forget, teens are part of the real world, too, and often have to deal with very "adult" problems.

WeaselFire
01-07-2019, 04:20 PM
Hi, i am writing a scene with some cool high school characters.

Go to the mall, hang out in the food court, browse the clothing stores and listen.

Jeff