Teenagers have been warned they are becoming unemployable because they have such a limited vocabulary.
Jean Gross, who advises the government on children’s speech, has said urgent action is required to prevent children failing to find jobs because they are unable to communicate.
She said: “Teenagers are spending more time communicating through electronic media and text messaging, which is short and brief.
“We need to help today’s teenagers understand the difference between their textspeak and the formal language they need to succeed in life – 800 words will not get you a job.”
The majority of teenagers should have developed a broad vocabulary of 40,000 words by the time they reach 16.
Gross plans to launch a campaign next year targeting primary and secondary schools, the Daily Mail has reported.
She said: “I want teenagers going into workplaces and making videos of how people communicate and then putting them on YouTube for others to study.
“Teenagers have always had their own language. It is their way of saying ‘we are different’. It is inventive, ever-changing and brilliant.
“My fear is that some disadvantaged children don’t know there is a different way of speaking in a job interview.”
Last year, Tesco’s chief executive Terry Leahy hit out at the “woefully low” levels of education shown by many young people now entering the workplace.