Talk:adolescent

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Isn't there a contradiction between the adjective and the noun's (given) "meaning":

  1. Characteristic of, or relating to, or undergoing adolescence; immature.
  1. A teenager; a juvenile after puberty

MFH 06:36, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

RFV discussion: August–October 2017[edit]

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Main sense: "A teenager; a juvenile after puberty." New challenged sense: "A person aged from 14 to 19 years old." Equinox 13:14, 25 August 2017 (UTC)

The previous sense said 10-18 year olds. 10 year olds are not usually viewed as adolescents, adolescent usually refers to people who are already sexually mature and to some extent mentally mature, obviously not including 10-11 year olds. The new sense perhaps is bad but what was there before was worse. I have read that researchers frequently define adolescent as aged 14-19 or 13-19. It seems like a synonym with the sense above it though, so I think it should be deleted. Teenage years pretty much correspond to the years I put as definitional. Leucostictes (talk) 16:16, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
"Data from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) provided age-specific rates of a range of sexual behaviors of more than 800 adolescents aged 14–19 years" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3761219/ Leucostictes (talk) 16:20, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
"Knowledge, attitude and perception of water pipe smoking (Shisha) among adolescents aged 14-19 years." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18988390 Leucostictes (talk) 16:21, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
Among adolescent women, anal sex was also a very low occuring event and was endorsed at a rate of 4% among 14-15 year olds and 7% among 16-17 year olds. Higher rates of anal sex were reported among 18-19 year old adolescent females..." Handbook of Adolescent Health Psychology O'Donahue et al page 282 linked here https://books.google.com/books?id=KX29BAAAQBAJ&pg=PA281&lpg=PA281&dq=adolescent+14-19+years+old&source=bl&ots=1W1hS9R4Y2&sig=QsbMeylsFTfsUpH73tnlICP-Tn0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjz-_ie5fLVAhVrw4MKHa_3AZA4ChDoAQhIMAY#v=onepage&q=adolescent%2014-19%20years%20old&f=false Leucostictes (talk) 16:25, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
Are those enough quotes to keep the new challenged sense? Actually, even if they were, the new sense and the main sense seem like synonyms to me, because 14-19 is most of the teenage years, so maybe merging the two senses makes most sense. Leucostictes (talk) 16:42, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
I made the age-specific range a subsense of the first. If there are other commonly accepted ranges we can add them and insert some usage contexts in {{lb|en}}. DCDuring (talk) 16:43, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't think the word "juvenile" should be in the definition of adolescent, because 18-19 year olds are often considered adolescents, and 18 is the legal age of adulthood in most countries, in addition there are some, although not many countries where the age of majority is 16, for example in Scotland I believe its 16. And even in countries where 18 is the age of majority usually its possible for 16 year olds to marry with parental/government permission, and they usually become legal adults if they marry, or they can be emancipated, which would also make the person become a legal adult. So not all adolescents are legally children. So I think a word without the legal connotation "juvenile" has should be used instead. Leucostictes (talk) 16:48, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
Comment: as someone involved in research in this specific age group... physical maturation is more appropriate than specific years. Menarche is currently commonly observed ages 8-12 (SGC search), and a 1985 study shows ~35% spermarche in 12-13 year olds (SGC search). Both menarche and spermarche have trended younger world-wide over the past century. That said, the term 'adolescent' in the literature is used for a broadening age group depending on the specific area of study, up to age 25 in many cases. (The term 'young adult' is now used up to age 35, in an increasingly confusing usage imo.) - Amgine/ t·e 17:33, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
8 years old are not considered adolescents ever. Even an 8 year old who is sexually mature still does not have a mature mind. The lowest age I've seen included in adolescence is 12. Younger than that is a child. Leucostictes (talk) 18:04, 25 August 2017 (UTC)

The last comment I made was in reply to Amgine stating "Menarche is currently commonly observed ages 8-12 " I could see 12 year olds being viewed as adolescents, but not 8 year olds. 12 is the youngest possible adolescent age because adolescent generally is implied to mean "young adult". 11 year olds and younger are children, even if sexually mature. Adolescence requires mental maturity as well as sexual maturity, something under 12s never have. Leucostictes (talk) 18:25, 25 August 2017 (UTC)

Also, in reply to the disagreement from the user who last edited adolescent, saying "I have to disagree: a teenager is already in puberty, so saying "a teenager after puberty" is like saying "an adult after maturity" - please let the forum discussion run its course before any further changes" it should be "during and after puberty" because some adolescents are already post-pubescents, most females are post-pubescent by age 15 years at latest, most males by age 18 years at latest, so not all adolescents are in puberty, some are past it, and probably most in the case of females. So it should probably be "during or after puberty". Because some adolescents are legal adults (most non-disabled 18-19 year olds are legal adults because that is the most common age of majority, and some 14-17 year olds become legal adults either through marriage or court ordered emancipation), I think juvenile should not stay. Leucostictes (talk) 19:19, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
"Legal adult" is only one sense of the word adult. Equinox 19:31, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
Correct, but juvenile usually means someone who is legally a child. That's why I was recommending not using the word juvenile. My point was not all adolescents are juveniles. Some of them are legal adults, and most adolescents, unless they are mentally handicapped, do not have a child's mind. So even the non-legal definition of juvenile doesn't seem to work to me. Leucostictes (talk) 19:35, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
Juvenile also does not only mean legally a child. --WikiTiki89 19:38, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
Which is why I added "most adolescents, unless they are mentally handicapped, do not have a child's mind. So even the non-legal definition of juvenile doesn't seem to work to me." Leucostictes (talk) 19:40, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
But juvenile doesn't mean the same thing as "child". --WikiTiki89 19:43, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
These are the human related definitions of juvenile on this site:

1.A prepubescent child. 2.A person not legally of age, or who is younger than may be charged with an offence.. 3. An actor playing a child's role. the other two were one for an animal and one for a kind of publication. So it looks like juvenile either means a legal child or a biological child or a child actor. Leucostictes (talk) 19:46, 25 August 2017 (UTC)

Also "a juvenile after puberty" would be bad because sometimes, although not often, people younger than 12 have already begun or are even well into puberty. If we defined adolescent as "juvenile after puberty" some 8 year olds would be included. We don't want to be calling 8 year olds adolescents just because they are already in or past puberty, the definition of adolescent also includes mental maturity, not only sexual maturity, and people don't have adult minds that until 12 years at earliest. Leucostictes (talk) 23:30, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
Please allow me to be a bit more blunt. You are simply wrong in your age limits. Adolescence is consistently described across the literature as the developmental period between the onset of puberty and adulthood. RFV is a place to provide citations of use, not a place to request arbitrary proscriptions on use. Here are a couple of quite useful citations which show world interpretations of the term:
  • WHO | Adolescent Health: Adolescents – young people between the ages of 10 and 19 years – are often thought of as a healthy group.
  • UNICEF | Adolescents and youth: Young adolescents (aged 10-14) are often invisible in discourse and data, falling between policies and programmes focused on “children” and on “youth.”
  • Defining Adolescence (pdf) Journal of Adolescent Health, Volume 7|Issue 2 Article 2 2015 This critical developmental period is conventionally understood as the years between the onset of puberty and the establishment of social independence (Steinberg, 2014). The most commonly used chronologic definition of adolescence includes the ages of 10-18, but may incorporate a span of 9 to 26 years depending on the source (APA, 2002).
- Amgine/ t·e 01:21, 26 August 2017 (UTC)
Then we should take the word "teenager" out of the entry or change it to "a child or teenager", because a ten year old is not a teenager. Leucostictes (talk) 03:15, 26 August 2017 (UTC)
"Etymology: Old English *-tíene, -týne, -téne, Middle English -tēne = Old Frisian -téna, -tíne, Old Saxon -tein (-tian), Low German -tein, Dutch -tien, Old High German -zehan (-zeheni), German -zehn." OED.
In other words - ten. No, I am *just*fine* with using teen-aged, it is perfectly appropriate. Is there anything else you would like be shown wrong about? - Amgine/ t·e 03:37, 26 August 2017 (UTC)
11-12 year olds are not usually viewed as teenagers. Teen does not mean 10-19 year olds. We can change it to "children or teenagers". Leucostictes (talk) 03:48, 26 August 2017 (UTC)
Wiktionary says teenager means "A person between 13 and 19 years of age". And words aren't used based on their etymology. Leucostictes (talk) 03:50, 26 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Most dictionaries are smart, not mentioning specific age ranges. They dwell on the notion of one undergoing the process of adolescence, becoming an adult. One dictionary I looked at specifically mentioned the range 10-19, another the range 13-19. I assume that they had some facts to support their definitions. My edition of the APA Dictionary seems to define adolescence as 10-19, specifically including puberty ("10-12"), but also specifically referring to the existence of ranges that include 9 and 26 years of age. How about something like:
  1. One in the process of becoming an adult, which process may begin or end at any of various ages for a given individual.
    1. (often) A youth aged 10 to 19, that is, including youths in puberty (10-12 years of age).
    2. A teenager (13-19 years of age)
A somewhat vague sense-level definition should include all the possibilities, with common standard definitions as subsenses, IMO. DCDuring (talk) 02:22, 27 August 2017 (UTC)

I can't help but think that we're overcomplicating something that should be (relatively) "easy". Let's just compare how other languages have defined this term:

  • Spanish: adolescente: que está en la adolescencia (> adolescencia = período de la vida humana que sigue a la niñez y precede a la juventud) (from RAE)
  • French: adolescent: celui ou celle qui est dans l'âge de l'adolescence (> adolescence = âge de la vie qui suit l'enfance et qui s'étend jusqu'à l'âge adulte) (from CNRTL)
  • Italian: adolescente: che è nell'età dell'adolescenza (> adolescenza = l'ultima fase dell'età evolutiva, interposta tra la fanciullezza e l'età adulta[...] (from Treccani)
  • Portuguese: adolescente: que ou pessoa que está na adolescência (> adolescência = fase da vida humana entre a infância e a idade adulta[...]) (from Priberam)
  • Romanian: adolescent: persoană care este la vârsta adolescenței (> adolescență = perioadă a vieții omului cuprinsă între vârsta pubertății și cea adultă[...]) (from DEX)

For the life of me, I don't understand why we can't have a similar definition – "a person in the state of adolescence". If someone is curious about what that state implies, they just have to look up adolescence which IMO is perfectly defined – not too specific and not too vague either. Wiktionary is not an encyclopaedia – we don't have to provide empirical facts to support definitions. The definition right now – a child or teenager during or after puberty – makes no sense whatsoever. --Robbie SWE (talk) 12:34, 27 August 2017 (UTC)

Having exact age ranges smacks of defining "short" hair as a certain number of centimetres, etc. That may be how computers and legal systems require definitions but it is not how most people do. Equinox 12:41, 27 August 2017 (UTC)
Of course, in the real world there are some contexts where having such a definition is essential and where standard quantitative definitions (sometimes multiple ones) are known and accepted. Statistics-gathering requires it; policy makers use the statistics; laws sometimes rely on the ranges; newspapers discuss the statistics, policies, and laws. DCDuring (talk) 01:46, 28 August 2017 (UTC)
Sure. The fact that there are multiple definitions (as you mention) means that these various specialised uses are sub-senses of the primary, everyday English sense; we need to cover the latter but not usually the former. Equinox 00:44, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
I agree that they are subsenses (See above.). Why would we want to exclude subsenses? There really aren't all that many and the do seem to have broad acceptance in usage contexts that are not very specialized. DCDuring (talk) 03:37, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
@Robbie SWI Actually, the definition at adolescence could reasonably be applied to any and all definable periods of development prior to 'adulthood'. Adolescence is, generally, onset of puberty to adulthood, which is rather more specific than childhood in my opinion. But for the term adolscent, saying they are in adolescence is circular; adolescence might just as easily be described as the period one spends as an adolescent. - Amgine/ t·e 03:49, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
@Amgine: Many dictionaries make only one of a group of related nouns and adjectives, usually the most basic or common noun, have an extensive definition, the others being defined relative to that one. It is mostly contributor laziness (I am not immune to it.) that leads us to have circular definitions rather than a core entry with extensive definitions and subordinate entries with terse definitions, sometimes only one. The subordination facilitates the development of inconsistencies that are not supported by citation among the related entries. DCDuring (talk) 04:15, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
The new definition of adolescent given says "not yet an adult", adolescence is often, although perhaps not usually, understood to include 18 year old people, and 18 year olds are usually viewed as adults and are usually legal adults unless they are intellectually disabled, additionally, even though 14-17 year olds are not usually viewed as adults, they can become legal adults in many jurisdictions through emancipation or marriage, and they usually are included in the adolescent category, so some adolescents are legally adults, so I think "not yet adult" is problematic. Leucostictes (talk) 05:45, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't think that adolescent/adolescent/puberty are legal concepts. They seem to be physiological/psychological ones. In contrast, adulthood/adult is sometimes a legal term, though children are sometimes tried as adults, and there are various ages at which a person can drink alcohol (differing sometimes by alcohol content), vote, join armed forces, drive a motor vehicle of certain capability, etc. IOW, I think that the legal aspect of this is a red herring. DCDuring (talk) 12:43, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
Neither adolescent nor adult are clearly and consistently defined anywhere in law. The arbitrary age limitations in some jurisdictions fluctuate very rapidly in comparison with other legal definitions. For common use, legal strictures are effectively irrelevant. However, as is somewhat clarified by -escence, the term adolescence is defined by the term adolescent, so the definition is currently circular. - Amgine/ t·e 20:46, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
Adolescence seems to have been more common than adolescent (noun and adjective) until the 1920s, significantly more so in the 19th century, though neither was common then. Since the 1920s and recently, adolescent is about 50% more common than adolescence. That seems like a good reason to break the circularity on [[adolescent]]. As the adjective is most readily defined relative to the noun, the noun definitions should be the extensive ones. Will no one rid us of this noxious circularity? DCDuring (talk) 21:29, 29 August 2017 (UTC)

RFV-failed. I have removed the overly-specific subdefinition. Kiwima (talk) 22:03, 20 October 2017 (UTC)