They said what? Lucy, 13, publishes a dictionary for parents explaining what teenagers' slang REALLY mean


Last updated at 23:02 03 January 2008

Deciphering the grunts and mumbles of teenagers can be a challenge.

It can even lead some parents to feel as though they speak a completely different language to their children.

Well, according to a new dictionary, they do.

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Lucy van Amerongen

But in a bid to bridge the generational gap, one self-confessed unintelligible offspring has put together an essential guide to the modern youngster's lexicon.

The A-Z of Teen Talk by 13-year-old Lucy van Amerongen provides explanations and derivations of around 300 weird and wonderful words used by her age group.

She was inspired to compile the list after her parents complained they could not understand conversations between her and her sisters.

Terms such as "antwacky" (unstylish), "cotch down" (sleep), "rago" (ok) and "zip" (yob) are explained in a manner that "rents" or "mouldies" (parents) will comprehend.

"Book" is used to describe cool, as it is the first word to appear when C O O L is typed when using predictive text on a mobile phone.

And three golden rules are introduced: Never make eye contact when talking to a "mouldie", always mumble inaudibly and if possible include the word "like" in, like, every sentence.

Lucy spent a year compiling the list before she sold the publishing rights for £1,000. Thousands of copies were bought at major bookshops in the run-up to Christmas.

The Cheltenham Ladies College pupil from Box, Gloucestershire, said she was "stoked" (very happy) to have a book published at such a young age.

She added: "I hope this will clear up a lot of confusion for other families and it's a great feeling to see my name in print. My favourite word has to be vanilla (boring or dull), but more and more phrases come up every day.

"I love languages and I think some parents don't give teenagers enough credit for some of the words they use - a lot of them are very creative."

So far more, than 3,000 copies of the £4.99 book have been sold. Now the budding lexicographer has invited other teenagers to e-mail her with new entries and publisher Ravette is planning to produce updated issues.

Lucy's father Victor recalled how she got the idea for the book during a family holiday as she chatted to her sisters, 11-year-old Rosie and 23-year-old Amii.

Mr van Amerongen, a 52-year-old television director, and his 54-year-old wife Amanda could not understand a word they were saying.

He said: "It was like complete alien gibberish. That's when Lucy said she should write a dictionary so we could understand them. It's all a bit fun, but it will shed a bit of light on the mumbo-jumbo of teenagers' talk for a lot of other parents too.

"I suppose the problem now is that the oldies - or mouldies as we're known - have a way of understanding what they say and they will be forced to think of new words in order to be deliberately cryptic.

"In that way, it will become a sort of living dictionary - something that changes as time goes on. And we are very proud to have a daughter following in the footsteps of Samuel Johnson."