— Throwing a joke about reflections “in the style of Paulo Coelho” during the lectures, I did not make the students laugh, but the teachers – young people no longer know the works of this writer. I am amused by quotes from “Dnia Świra”, “Teddy bear”, “Wojna polski-Ruska”, i.e. texts unknown to high school students today, but I don’t remember much from “Rejs” and many times saying winged words from this film, they had to explain to me that now they quoted – says Aneta Korycińska – educated Polish philologist, editor, oligophrenopedagogue, teacher and founder of the “Baba od Polski” website. Is today’s youth “worse” and is it true that they no longer read books?
Are young people today different? Yes. It’s good!
The inability of the “old” to communicate with the “young” is a total classic of the genre, which we encounter not only in everyday life, but we also stubbornly discuss it during Polish lessons, for example when comparing the Enlightenment with Romanticism. What is at the heart of this long-standing conflict?
Aneta Korycińska, “Baba from Polish”: As Stanisław Lem wrote in a collection of essays Summa Technologiee“When the whole life of the next generation ceases to be a repetition of the lives of the parents, what guidance and lessons can old age offer to the young.” In short, this conflict is a natural phenomenon, rooted in differences in history, experiences, acquired skills and problems faced by successive generations. This is not a tragedy, but thanks to these divisions we can grow, shape language and learn from each other. Grandparents can interest young people with words, quotes from films from their youth, grandchildren can talk about new language phenomena.
“Youth used to be different.” What is your approach to such indignant statements about today’s youth?
Young people used to be different because, as I said, they lived in a different world. At the same time, Socrates already complained about “the rearing of youth”… It is also worth mentioning here the saying: “the ox forgot how he was a calf”. We repress what we used to be, we do not give young people the right to make mistakes and loud behavior, not out of anger – we just forget about it when we grow up, and even … we get older, because over time the ability to absorb knowledge becomes smaller – although I prefer definitely the term “decreased brain sensitivity” and not “aging”.
In addition, adult and adolescent brains differ significantly …
Exactly! And those who have teenagers at home know this. Neurobiological processes make a person aged 13-18 someone different than before, before the brain took 50 percent. energy, now the neurons are rebuilt and this energy is invested in physical development – from day to day we may not recognize our child, be unable to communicate with him. Times have changed too, we have to assimilate more and more information that flows to us from everywhere. For several decades, we have been observing a growing pace of technology development, including communication.
The parents of today’s youth were not born into a world with high-speed Internet access in most places on Earth. In this way, more phrases from other languages, especially English, appear in the vocabulary of young people who are fluent in using the Internet; shorthand communication, which is forced by messengers, e.g. Twitch. So, in conclusion, I have no problem with the opinion that today’s youth is “different”, only with the emotions that accompany them. I suggest accepting the phenomenon of changes that are inevitable, this is the uniqueness of linguistic processes.
Aneta Korycińska (“Baba from Polish”) – in her internet activities she focuses on exposing the linguistic image of the world and encourages the use of inclusive Polish, as well as pointing out the absurdities of the education system.
Photo: Sylwia Nowicka / Press materials
How to communicate with a teenager? “Some things we can’t keep up with”
Can we communicate? How to do it? Is it better to let go and hope for no conflicts and just leave each other alone?
Different groups use their own jargon. The so-called sociolects are an internal way of communication, for example, between different professional groups: the expressions of the uniformed services are different from that of journalists or entertainers. However, this does not prevent you from communicating with the rest of the world. It is similar with youth slang, which also plays an important social role: it allows us to identify ours from others. We do the same! Throwing a joke about reflections “in the style of Paulo Coelho” during the lectures, I did not make the students laugh, but the teachers – young people no longer know the works of this writer. I am amused by quotes from “Dnia Świra”, “Teddy bear”, “Wojna polski-Ruska”, i.e. texts unknown to high school students today, but I don’t remember much from “Rejs” and many times saying winged words from this film, they had to explain to me that now quoted. This is a natural phenomenon: we have our own cultural texts, we also have our own language, and yet we can communicate and exchange experiences. Often, however, we need additions and explanations – but after all, getting to know the “different” or “new” is fascinating!
Adults often try to be cool and use the language of young people, including teachers. Does it work or does it cause cry?
Young people do not expect us to understand their own expressions, and we will never keep up with certain linguistic phenomena. Note that most youth words do not stay in the language permanently. When we compile them in dictionaries, they are already endangered species, threatened with extinction. Which, by the way, is their advantage, because in this way the communication of the generation is energetic and fresh.
Using youthful language forcibly will result, so great cry [wstyd]because we will never be up to date. We will use these words in the wrong contexts, we will chant badly, in a word we will be artificial, and the youth is sensitive to honesty.
How does language cause intergenerational conflicts? Can it alleviate it in some way?
The reading list for students who are preparing for the eighth-grade exam is far from the needs of young readers. Many of them were written a long time ago and contain language that is difficult, if not incomprehensible, for today’s youth. I heard an anecdote that students thought that “Podstoliny farm” was a euphemism for her bust, and interpreted “going to the devil” as being sent to another room. These are words unknown to young people, which they usually learn much later and only from literature. By offering students reading books closer to their times, we can start a discussion with them on topics that are important to them. The more willing they will be to discuss, the better books describe problems from a perspective closer to their way of thinking, in addition, then the complaints that young people do not read would end. reads! According to data from 2022 published by the National Media Institute, people from the 16-24 age group declared reading a book most often in the last twelve months, their result is as much as 55.8 percent, which is more than half of the 41.4 percent. Poles and Poles.
And they weren’t really school books…
Yes Sir! “Polonistic Intuition” tells me that these were not books, but novels for young readers. Does language cause generational conflicts? Rather, it is the cause of a joke when young people confuse adoption with adaptation, and hints with blinds, but it does not only happen to them. In addition, many of the new words seem to be more relevant to today’s realities, and it’s a relief that we no longer refer to bibs for newborns as “baby jowls.” I am also happy about the return to feminatives, although they actually build various, very emotional social reactions, just as “teacher” has not gone out of use today, so it does not cause outrage today, so secretary and secretary, by equating female forms of professions to common nouns, already evoke laughter and conflicts. I hope that thanks to young people who teach us an inclusive language, we will be able to communicate better over time and we will not cause people harm that we did not intend. After all, this is the world we have, the language we have.