It’s tah-rah to comb and cassette - ‘awesome’ internet has changed the way we speak

Feeling old?
Feeling old?
Share this article
0
Have your say

It was Coronation Street legend Hilda Ogden's catchphrase but Brits have waved goodbye to saying 'tar-rah' as well as 'comb' 'permed' and 'cassette' as the internet changes the way we speak.

Crossword and croquet are other words disappearing from our diction as the way people talk has changed dramatically over the last two decades because of new technology, according to new research.

Hilda, played by the late Jean Alexander, was famed for her cheery 'tar-rah chuck,' but it's rare to hear it now.

The need to communicate with a wider-world coupled with a move away from the cosy, close-knit communities of the 90s means the most characteristic words of informal chit-chat have been altered forever.

Language expert Robbie Love has compiled the top 15 most popular words from the 1990s which have since declined the most drastically.

He compared these with the top 15 words, not around then, which are hugely popular today.

Along with 'tar-rah', 'permed' and 'comb' have been consigned well and truly to the verbal dustbin.

The word 'croquet' has also taken a hit, as well as expressions such as 'mucking', ‘whatsername', 'golly' and 'matey'.

Others disappearing out of fashion are 'boxer', 'crossword' and 'draught', according to the findings.

While in the 1990s we were captivated by 'cassettes' today 'email', 'Internet', 'Facebook', 'Google', 'YouTube', 'website', 'Twitter', 'texted' and 'iPad' all top the bill.

'Twenty-four' reflects the open all hours community in which we now live - far away from a world where the 'cobbler' and 'playschool' were high in our vocabulary.

'Awesome' also joins 'massively' in the top 15, while newcomer 'yoga' eases itself comfortably in.

Mr Love, a PhD student at Lancaster University, said the internet age has had a massive influence on the words we use.

He said: "These findings suggest the things that are most important to British society are indeed reflected in the amount we talk about them.

"New technologies like Facebook have really captured our attention, to the extent that, if we are not using it, we are probably talking about it."

An earlier study by the same team compared existing data from the 1990s to two million words of then newly collected data from the year 2012.

Now the researchers have collected more data and compared the same 1990s collection to a bigger collection comprising 5 million words spanning 2012-2015.

At the end of this year they will publicly release 11 million words spanning 2012-2016.

Mr Love added: "The new data has shed light on some older words which, similar to 'marvellous' and 'marmalade' in the previous study, appear to have fallen out of fashion in the intervening years.

"The study provides a sense of the way society has expanded since the early 1990s and the end of the offline era.

"Our priorities are moving away from what's happening on our doorsteps. We are not talking about these things as much so the older words have 'faded' out of everyday conversation."