June 13, 2024

Speaking Gen Alpha: Mastering the Vocabulary of the Internet Generation

Speaking Gen Alpha: Mastering the Vocabulary of the Internet Generation

As the digital world changes, so does the language of younger generations. Gen Alpha, born after 2010, is growing up with the internet everywhere. Knowing their unique words and communication styles is key to connecting with this young audience. 

Just as Gen Z popularized terms like “lit” and “yeet,” Gen Alpha has its own language that brands must understand to stay relevant.

DISCLAIMER: It is highly important to remember that to effectively reach Gen A, it’s crucial for brands to understand that their slang often has roots in various cultures including the Black community, the LGBTQ+ community and more. Knowing the origins and meanings of these terms is key to using them correctly and avoiding misunderstandings. This approach not only respects the diversity of Gen A’s language but also strengthens brand connections with this audience.

In this blog, we’ll break down some of the newest and most popular expressions used by Gen Alpha and show how brands can use these terms in their marketing.

About Gen Alpha

Gen Alpha is profoundly shaped by technology. They’ve never known a world without touch-based devices. Many are dubbed “iPad kids” for their parents’ habit of handing them devices to entertain them in social situations. Their young lives were also shaped by the coronavirus, which caused many of them to spend their formative years in varying levels of lockdown and isolation.

Their economic impact is beginning already and is only expected to grow, by 2029, they’ll account for $5.46 trillion in spending. They’re also an extremely brand-savvy generation. As social media sites like TikTok and Instagram give kids more direct contact with adults, they start gravitating toward the same kinds of products that their elders enjoy, aka, Sephora kids 💅.

Related: How Marketers Can Win Over the Brand-Obsessed Gen Alpha

But it isn’t all about glowy complexions. Gen Alphas are also big gamers, 94% of them to be exact, and that love extends beyond the games themselves and into following their favorite streamers and chatting about their favorites. And they’re more likely to play on a cell phone than a fancy console.

 

Decoding Gen Alpha’s Digital Dialect

Gen Alpha’s vocabulary is a mix of internet slang, memes, and new expressions. Phrases like “skibidi Ohio rizz” show how deeply they are into online culture. Their unique words are not just new, they are part of a constantly changing culture influenced by global trends. 

Below is a compilation of the most popular Gen A vocabulary to help you create impactful social media posts that resonate with Gen A, ensuring your content doesn’t gain “aura points.” 

Built Like a Cockroach: This is an insult about someone’s body shape. It can have various endings, such as “fridge,” “bath,” or “box,” none of which are flattering. Brands in fashion or fitness need to avoid using this term in ways that might offend young audiences.

Skibidi Ohio Rizz: To understand this term:

  • Skibidi: From the animated YouTube series “Skibidi Toilet,” meaning something bad.
  • Ohio: Means cringe.
  • Rizz: Short for charisma.

“Skibidi Ohio rizz” means “bad cringe charisma,” describing someone with terrible flirting skills. Brands should avoid using this term to stay appealing.

@mr_lindsay_sped Replying to @🎷✨Regina✨❤️ We know what #skibidi means, we know what #ohio means, and we know what #rizz means. What does it mean when they’re all together? Watch until the end for my epic fail! #ohio #genalpha #slang #middleschoolslang #teachersoftiktok #teacherfyp #fyp ♬ original sound - Mr. Lindsay

Rizard of Oz and Rizzly Bear: Being called a “Rizard of Oz” or “Rizzly bear” means having great charm. These terms can be used positively in marketing to describe charismatic influencers or brand ambassadors.

4+4: “You ate that” means someone did a great job. Gen Alpha has updated this to “4+4” because four plus four equals eight. Brands can use “4+4” to praise user-generated content or highlight standout performances.

Yap, Yapping, Yapper: These terms mean to talk. Brands in communication or social media can use this term to connect with Gen Alpha.

Aura Points: “Aura points” track wins and fails in life. For example, tripping might cost you -876 aura points, while scoring a trick shot could earn you +1538. This fun concept is perfect for brands in the gaming industry or those introducing a rewards system.

Genny Lec and Natty Serves: British slang has also become popular with terms like “genny lec” (general election) and “natty serves” (national service). These playful abbreviations can add humor to marketing campaigns targeting a UK audience.

Am I Him?: “Am I Him?” is used to ask if someone is “the boss” or has excelled in a challenging situation. Inspired by rapper Kevin Gates, this phrase is popular among athletes. Brands can use “Am I Him?” in campaigns to celebrate exceptional achievements or highlight customer success stories.

Mewing: This is putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth to have a sharper jawline. Ever seen a video of someone tracing their chin and motioning to be quiet? They’re most likely mewing, a popular hobby among Alpha and Sigma males that trains their jawline to be sharp.

Sigma: “Sigma” could replace the word alpha or use it alongside because it means you are all that, you are the best, “you are him.”

@mr_lindsay_sped Replying to @Z_Russell94 Do you know what #sigma means?! I asked my students and I’m not sure if they do either. As best I can gather, it’s the same thing as “being him”. I LOVE middle schoolers and the chaos of these conversations. 😂 #genalpha #teachersoftiktok #genalphaslang #middleschoolslang #teacherfyp #genz #gyatttttttt #teacher #sigma ♬ original sound - Mr. Lindsay

Fanum Tax: The action of taking someone’s food. You have a delicious plate of cookies; it’s time to pay the fanum tax. The term was popularized by the Twitch streamer Kai Cenat, when Fanum, another popular streamer, entered Cenat’s room, snatched a plate of cookies from him, and left. This became a recurring incident, garnering millions of views and leading to the rise of the term “Fanum tax.”

BSF: Best Friend. BFF is out and BSF is in.

On God: This term means that you are being very, very serious. 

Bet: The term “bet” can be used in a few different ways, but generally means “agreed” or “okay”. For example, if someone says “Wanna grab lunch later?” and the other person responds “Bet”, it means they agree to the plan.

Gyatt: There’s no great way to say it, it stands for big butt. Basically, it is a shortened term for ‘goddamn’ that guys use when they see a girl, usually with a curvy body type.

@mr_lindsay_sped Dont worry teachers and parents! I’ve got you covered for all your #genalpha translation needs! 😂 #genalpha #slang #genz#middleschoolslang #teach #teachersoftiktok #teacherfyp #gyat ♬ original sound - Mr. Lindsay
Using Gen Alpha Slang in Your Marketing

Stay Updated: Regularly check social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube.

Be Authentic: Use slang genuinely and not too often.

Engage Influencers: Work with influencers who know Gen Alpha slang.

Create Interactive Campaigns: Use slang in challenges or user-generated content.

Educate Your Team: Make sure your marketing team knows the latest slang.

The Impact of Memes and Viral Trends on Gen Alpha’s Vocabulary

Memes and viral trends shape Gen Alpha’s words and communication. These trends show their values, humor, and observations. Keeping up with these trends helps adults understand their ever-changing language.

Utah Fit Check is one of the latest viral videos in the Gen Alpha world. The Utah Fit Check, a viral video trend that started on TikTok and quickly spread to other platforms, features baggy blue jeans, a camo shirt, and Adidas shoes. In the original clip, user @michaelmal568 gives two thumbs up, grabs his pant legs, shakes them from side to side, jumps, and spins twice. Posted on March 22, 2024, the video has garnered nearly 3 million views. TikTok users have eagerly reenacted the trend, adding their own twists and attempting to make their wardrobe as “Utah-core” as possible, often asking the original poster, “How much more Utah can one boy get?”

@michaelmal568 utah boy fit check? (just wanted to show off the gazelles) #foryou #utahfitcheck #ootd #inmichaelwetrust ♬ Harness Your Hopes - B-side - Pavement
@mr_lindsay_sped Replying to @Grower of Humans What’s a #utahfitcheck ? Watch the bideo to find out! Why are they doing it tho? My best guess is because it’s trending! #genalpha #slang #middleschoolslang #teachersoftiktok #teacherfyp #fyp #genz ♬ Harnesses Your Hopes - Audios🩶
Challenges and Opportunities in Understanding Gen Alpha

Every generation develops its own unique vernacular that they love and that profoundly irritates and confuses the adults in their lives. Morning Consult’s survey found that 29% of the parents of Gen Alpha have heard their children use language they did not understand. This percentage increases as the child grows older, with 43% of parents of 8-10-year-olds scratching their heads over the words coming out of their children’s mouths.

Understanding Gen Alpha’s words can be hard because they change quickly. But these challenges also offer chances for deeper connections and insights into this digital-first generation. Engaging with their digital slang helps bridge the gap and builds better relationships.

By staying engaged with current trends and being active in digital spaces, it becomes easier to understand Gen Alpha’s digital language. This ongoing engagement is not just about learning new words but understanding the contexts and nuances that make these terms meaningful and appealing within Gen Alpha’s vibrant online communities.

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