Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Social, Behavioral & Global Studies


Social and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Michelle Figueroa

Second Advisor

Jennifer Lucido


Language is unique to the human species. It serves to communicate thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. Within the context of this capstone I outline the theory that language is much more than this. Words can also serve to bond or reject, based on the level of acceptance within social groups towards the speaker. In seeking to discover what effects specific language utterances have on social interaction and the processes involved in developing cohesiveness collective identity in these groups, I found that they do have a definite impact and this is based mainly within generational parameters. Using a mixed method approach of surveys, field work and a first person, participant-observer approach, I found words are used to connect and establish bonds and acceptance in social groups. The impact is that this affects all areas of social interaction and helps explain how and why groups form and/or reject those who do not conform. Also discovered was that younger people place more of an emphasis on words than older people do. This may be due to an added peer pressure to conform to the crowd. I also found that words are flexible and fluid. They tend to adopt and evolve as their intended meanings change and adapt with the times. I also discovered that there is a misconception within certain generations that people who overuse slang and age-specific jargon are less intelligent. This helps to explain generational attitudes and behaviors. Finally, this research is limited in scope and should be further explored to obtain a fuller, more accurate analysis.