Want to hear what the future sounds like? Listen to girls talk.
Go ahead, roll your eyes. Complain that their conversations are silly, even stupid.
You can't beat 'em because eventually you will join them.
OMG, hello? Like do you not realize who started all this?
Born from neon-painted fingertips texting faster than you can download a One Direction song, the slang and vocal habits of girls and young women, so frequently mocked and scorned, actually are influencing our wider culture, linguists and researchers now claim (they pinkie swear).
The latest example – a speech trend called "vocal fry" – has been documented in studies published in the journals American Speech and The Journal of Voice. The overly sultry, rumbling speech pattern involves flattening and elongating some vowels in exaggeration (I'm tahhhhhhking to you dahhhhhhhling) while drawing out the r sound at the end of words (sisterrrrr).
Kim Kardashian does it, so does Britney Spears and Zooey Deschanel.
Think of it as a Valley Girl grown up and biting the olive off her swizzle stick. Still don't get it? Listen to this girl make fun of the "vocal fry epidemic" on YouTube. (Or come over to my house one day to hang out with my two daughters and their friends.)
Linguists also attribute our modern habit of "uptalk" – making declarative sentences sound like questions – to girls and young women.
Nobody's sure why females of a certain age seem to be driving our speech patterns, although most point to girls' friendships and their desire to be original, clever and funny with each other.
A heightened sense of drama and constant use of texting and instant messaging put girls at the forefront of creating today's abbreviated words and sayings, with shorthand messages such as LOL, TTYL and WTF.
I am constantly asking my daughters to translate the messages I see on their cell phones and sometimes my own. Last week, HAGS was making the rounds. I thought all those kids were complaining about their mothers until I was finally enlightened. It means "Have a Great Summer." (I LMFAO over that.)
So you may want to hold your tongue next time you're tempted to diss girl talk as vapid.