What is this Teenage Mumble?


I wonder where the inspiration or idea came from for the Game ‘Speak Out’.   The aim of the game is to correctly understand the phrase your teammate is trying to say, while I imagine trying not to spit – through a mouth guard!
Did the creator get this idea from having a teenage son?
Maybe, like me, he too found it a struggle to understand what was being said, and thought what a great idea for a game it would make!
I say this as it would seem that we play a very similar version to this every day at home, albeit minus a board, phrase cards and the all important mouth guard.
But the concept is definitely the same: guess what my teenage son has just said, as quite frankly at this moment in his teenhood I have no idea what 95% of the sound means that comes out of his mouth.
If my teenage daughter is around, it’s great,  she is fluent in teenage mumble and translates word perfect for me.
The pressure to understand it right first time is enormous.  Saying pardon more than once will only result in a grunt and him asking me if I’m going deaf in my supposed old age.
This then always results in me deliberately pulling the ‘pardon’  funny card out the bag which he falls for every time, failing to see the hilarity of my joke!
However, it seems that I too must mumble as when I ask, what I believe to be a simple question, such as “‘have you got homework?” his answer is usually no.
Yet at bedtime he suddenly remembers that actually he does have homework.  He then wonders why this triggers an explosive response from me! apparently he hadn’t actually realised what I had meant earlier when I asked him!
Its like when I can’t find my phone to text him, so instead yell out his name.  With no response, probably due to his selective hearing, I usually give it one last shout then with no response I turn the broadband off.
Strangely, this unspoken act he understands and is quick to respond!
Always keen to keep the line of communication strong with my kids, not that they are always keen to embrace, but as their mother I am interested.
I feel it important to keep up to date with what they are doing, who they are seeing, how school is going, blah blah blah, it’s never a long conversation, in fact its usually short and to the point.
Their answers consist of nothing more than ‘fine’, ‘not your business’, or simply ‘why do you always want to know?’
So, after repeatedly failing the mumbling listening test, I took to the drawing board and thought I would keep a handy little dictionary close to me of popular phrases all translated for easy reference for when the mumbling is rumbling.
We now have our own little tune called ‘Mumble of the Teen’, which he even uses himself now! More commonly used in the car on the way to school, the mornings are when his mumble is at its best!
So to avoid writer’s cramp creeping in I decided to start with only 16 of the 50+ I have.
Listed below are the most current phrases mumbled.
1-15 are mumbled loudly and some with eye rolling for added affect but I stress that No. 16 is not mumbled but spoken in a surprisingly affectionate ‘clear as a whistle tone’.
  1. Everyone = No-one
  2. I haven’t lost it/Someone must have taken it = I’ve lost it
  3. Yes I know *continuous eye rolling* = No idea at all will wing this somehow
  4. I am listening *looking at phone*  = I have no idea what you just said
  5. Yes I am getting dressed = Crap, where’s my clothes
  6. I am going to sleep *looking at phone* = In a couple of hours when I have finished snapchatting
  7. Hang on *annoyance in tone*  =  What is up with that woman! I will be out when I”M ready
  8. Just Coming *adjusting hair* = One more selfie and I’m done
  9. I don’t have any homework = Only English & Maths which can wait until bedtime
  10. Its not my fault!! *loud & dramatic* =  Yep its mums fault she should have warned me my pocket had a massive gaping hole/reminded me it was PE today/that I had homework/my maths homework was wrong!
  11. Can you help me with my homework = Can you do it as I can’t be arsed
  12. Did you ring me? = Why would you ring me when I’m with my mates?!? You know I won’t respond until the ‘RING ME NOW’ text arrives
  13. You don’t understand =  What would she know!!!  I’m 14 making me ‘Mr Knower of all’
  14. Not much  = A lot, sharing the details would only lead to further questioning that I cant be arsed with
  15. Why would I lie? = I am lying through my teeth because if you knew you wouldn’t let me
  16. I love you, you are the best mum ever = guaranteed to disfuse the situation and gain total forgiveness


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  1. Jo Boxall
    November 28, 2016 / 11:38 am

    Hahaha, love it. I think we have the same child Sharon….. we always said they shared a brain cell and took turns using it 😂😂

    • November 28, 2016 / 11:56 am

      😂 some things never change eh!

  2. samant
    December 3, 2016 / 7:05 pm

    In my house I love you mum you’re the best mum ever translates as well bugger you I’m doing what i want anyway but i love you so that makes it all fine n dandy and you can’t tell me off !

  3. February 25, 2017 / 1:48 pm

    Totally brilliant! I am so convinced that I am going deaf that I have actually booked a hearing test! This is what teens do to you!

  4. Sharon Parry
    February 25, 2017 / 1:56 pm

    Totally brilliant! I am so convinced that I am going deaf that I have actually booked a hearing test! This is what teens do to you!

  5. March 9, 2017 / 11:41 am

    I know I’m being crazy but I keep thinking this isn’t going to happen to me!! There have been a few signs but to be honest, my daughter is so loud that I can’t imagine her mumbling. I know, I know – you thought so too Sharon. I’m keeping this post in my pending tray – just in case!!!! Thanks for supporting us in the first week of #TweensTeensBeyond. Nicky

    • March 9, 2017 / 2:23 pm

      Lol its not my daughter who mumbles her way through, she is easy to understand, loud but clear! that pleasure is all my teenage sons!!! Its all about the mumble with my son 🙂

  6. March 10, 2017 / 11:48 am

    Now that my eldest teen is 18 and crossing the frontier into being an adult I thought the mumbling would stop but no such luck as yet. No.10 is a firm favourite in our house and the other top one is “I am so bored of repeating myself” which translates as I cannot be bothered to talk to you right now! Also as you will understand as a mother to teens it is the phrase I use the most too but with the correct meaning! Thanks for linking. Hope to see you again. #TweensTeensBeyond

  7. March 10, 2017 / 4:26 pm

    Thanks so much for linking up your fab post at #TeensTweensBeyond. My teens have evolved into communicating through a series of grunts now. I don’t know what they are saying but they seem to understand each other! Looking forward to reading more next week.

  8. March 11, 2017 / 5:26 pm

    This is so funny – why is it that teenagers start to grunt instead of talking properly? Is it a boy thing do you think? My kids aren’t teens yet and they seem very loud and very clear at the moment, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time! #tweenteensandbeyond

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