English Language

Recent 2015 Media Examples for Your Essay!

Lisa Tran

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Go ahead and tilt your mobile the right way (portrait). The kool kids don't use landscape...

It's that time of year. Everyone is pretty much burnt out from their SACs, but don't give up! It's very easy to slip into lazy habits. VCE is a marathon and not a sprint (sorry for the cliche, but it's so true), so keep pushing, keep working hard and stay persistent! So, with that brief motivational rant out of the way, let's get into the nitty-gritty of what this article is about.

To absolutely DOMINATE the essay section, you must be including recent and modern examples of language usage. Most students just focus on adding linguist example, which are necessary, but this must be supplemented with recent media example.

What do I mean by media examples? Well, this means anything to do with language (formal, informal, identity etc.) that is being actively used in modern society. When you combine a media example with a linguist quote to back up your point, you have a very powerful and potent combination.

Below, I have done the hard work for you. I have scoured the internet and media for recent examples of language usage. By no means is this list definitive; you are still required to conduct your own research, but hopefully this helps!

So, let's start off with slang!

Modern Slang Terms and Usage

  • Bae (a bit overused now though)
  • On Fleek (eyebrows on fleek!)
  • Netflix and Chill (very modern!)

"Netflix and chill" - My 17 year old brother only told me about this slang phrase recently and I had no idea what it meant. He was very surprised that I didn't know this, and then I realised that I hadn't heard of this phrase before because as a slang term, this phrase is restricted predominantly to teenagers.

This is what I found online regarding this slang phrase and what you should be including in your essays at the end of the year!


It’s a phrase that means, roughly, “hooking up.” But it’s a lot more complicated than that. “Netflix and chill” is a classic case of social media-fueled semantic drift. It began as a plain, descriptive phrase (“Can’t wait to leave work so I can watch Netflix and chill!”), and stayed that way for several years before acquiring a loose sexual connotation (“Wanna come over for Netflix and chill? 


”) and, eventually becoming a known code phrase (“He said he loves me, but I know he just wants to Netflix and chill”).

As with most recent internet slang, “Netflix and chill” seems to have originated on Black Twitter before migrating to Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, and the outer reaches of Memeland. And in a way, it’s the perfect teenage shibboleth. If you were 16, and your parents caught you texting “Netflix and chill?” to your girlfriend, they might think you were proposing an innocent night of watching Chopped on the couch.

Let’s take a look at how “Netflix and chill” became every teen’s favorite euphemism for getting it on.

Source: http://fusion.net/story/190020/netflix-and-chill/


Notice the quote "If you were 16, and your parents caught you texting “Netflix and chill?” to your girlfriend, they might think you were proposing an innocent night of watching Chopped on the couch" - this perfectly proves the function of slang, and that is to create social exclusion of the out-group!

Covert Racism in Media

I was reading the paper quite recently and I came across this title from Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun:


'Our safety must be the top priority'

I feel that the use of the personal pronoun 'our' reinforces a sense of social exclusion of Syrian refugees, while simultaneously creating a fine line between the in-group and out-group.

I believe this is a modern example of covert racism - the idea that language can display an author's or speaker's racist intent in a subtle manner.

Hint: Put this in your essays for Unit 3 AOS 2 (formal language)

Egalitarianism in Modern Media


Notice the lexeme 'Pollie', which is otherwise known as a morphological diminutive for the lexeme 'politician'. The reason I point this out is that it reflects Australia's value of egalitarianism.

According to Kel Richards, this is semantic solidarity but also the Australian way of using informality to puncture affectation and undercut authority: “This is verbal signage we belong to the same mob. Many an inflated, smug, syllable-heavy word gets a quick snip with the Aussie verbal scissors to reduce it to a bonsai version of its former self.”

This was seen in the Herald Sun in late July of 2015.

Gender Equality in Language

In the UK, the gender-neutral honorific Mx has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary alongside Mr, Ms and Mrs and Miss.

Jonathan Dent, assistant editor on the OED, said the title is the first new honorific to be accepted as an addition to the current set of gender identifiers. He said it is an example of how the English language adapts to people’s needs, “with people using language in ways that suit them rather than letting language dictate identity to them”.

The inclusion of this honorific title in the dictionary shows how our society is becoming more and more inclusive and accepting of all genders. Always remember that 'language runs parallel with social change' - what this means is that when social values change, so does the language. It's simple as that.


Euphemism in Modern Media

In May of this year, up to 80 staff have recently were sacked by Myer and this is how it was addressed by a Myer spokesperson:

"We have recently restructured and reorganised some areas of the Myer Stores Support Office," said a spokeswoman for the department store. "Regrettably, a number of roles in [the] support office are no longer required or have been consolidated into the business.

"These team members were advised last week and have now left the business. We are offering the team members support through their transition from Myer."

Talk about corporate speak! It seems that 'restructure' is a euphemism for 'sacking', and that 'transition' minimises the seriousness of the situation and in fact downplays the severity of the sacking. I have also highlighted the euphemisms above. Also take note of the agentless passives being used frequently in this excerpt. This allow Myer to distance themselves from the problem and ultimately minimise the blame on themselves!

This is a modern example where euphemisms have been used to 'threaten social harmony', not promote it. Always remember that anything to do with taboo will generally be euphemised to either conceal the truth or prevent causing offence.


Technological Advancements & Influences on Language

In terms of informality, people are very inventive and creative with their language when there is a pressing need to describe new objects or activities in today’s society. You would most probably be familiar with how technology has had a tremendous impact on our language, with the likes of ‘to google’ being created from the brand name ‘Google’ and so forth.

In the English language, we call these new creations ‘neologisms‘ (coming from the Greek word to mean ‘new’ + ‘speech’). Linguistically speaking, to become a neologism, many words succumb to what is known as linguistic conversion where a word is converted to another word class (e.g. ‘Google’ which became ‘to google’).

I am sure many of you (particularly the young generation) would be familiar with the taxi transporation app, Uber. Uber is an app that allows you to hire Uber drivers in seconds (which is often much cheaper than a normal taxi). Now, remember how I said that technology has an impact on our language? Well, let’s examine how Uber is having an impact.

I have been at parties before and have overheard people say:

“I just ubered here… it’s so much cheaper than a taxi”.

Is ‘Ubered’ starting to appear in our vernacular (nonstandard speech)? This trend seems to run parallel with what occurred to Google, and I suspect that it will only increase in usage as Uber becomes more mainstream.

I would recommend including in your essays when talking about technological influences on language!

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