Bebo helps Collins find teen slang for dictionary

HarperCollins has enlisted social networking site Bebo to help it find the most popular teen slang words being used in the UK.

The words and their meanings will be published in the 30th anniversary edition of the Collins English Dictionary.

A group of teenagers aged between 14 and 18 whittled down a shortlist of words that have now been divided into six categories, and those words can now be voted for by Bebo users as to which they think should be included.

HarperCollins will then research the background of the most popular words and decide whether they should be included.

Kate Burns, managing director and vice-president Europe at Bebo, said that the site's strong UK youth base meant its users would be able to offer the most "accurate assessment" about what street language is actually being used.

It is obvious that this is what attracted HarperCollins. Cormac McKeown, head of content at Collins, commented on how "notoriously hard" teen slang was to follow, and that often by the time it makes its way into mainstream speech, young people have moved on and stopped using it.

McKeown added that the results from the Bebo community would give HarperCollins the chance to capture an "exciting part" of the English language that often goes unrecorded.

Bebo will announce the slang words to be included in the dictionary this summer.


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