Saturday, September 20, 2014

THE EVOLUTION OF LANGUAGE:  What does this do to our Registers?  How do we know when to slang or not to slang?  How do different nuances in English define communities?


I will be honest and say I am not a fan of slang....unless it is used in the appropriate setting.  I believe in moderation with most things, including language.

I recently spent months researching slang of the 1920's, and that was a whole lot of fun.  It also opened my eyes as to where some of our current slang originated, and how the meanings have changed.  Words go in and out of style in much the same way our fashions do.  What was hip to say in the 80's makes you sound "old" and "out of touch" today.  It can be hard to keep up, and in many ways, the changing slang landscape can be a way of excluding and including others via language.

Here is a very interesting article from the BBC on Slang.  Although the British slang may not be the same as ours, well, it is cool to learn about what "slang" looks like in other English speaking countries. I think this article is poignant because it also addresses how English is becoming a much more international language, and every nationality is dressing it differently to suit their cultural community.

So....watch your slanglish, and enjoy the read.  I look forward to hearing your reactions!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8388545.stm

50 comments:

  1. I definitely agree with what was said in the article. Slang is most certainly a part of evolving language. One interesting thing I noticed about the article was how it acknowledged the multicultural roots of the English language, especially the origins of Jamaican slang. I had no idea that Jamaican influences were present in British culture. The article also mentioned how youth feel slang is necessary in order to "fit in" with their peers, which emphasizes just how important language in general is for forging strong social bonds. Now personally, I believe language should be left as is. Development of language is a vital function of human culture. Trying to prevent the use of slang will likely be futile in the long run. Now, one more thing the article touched on was how banning slang has helped the test scores of some schools. While this is a good point, this may not be an issue of the slang itself. As the article mentioned earlier on, the context of the language is just as important as the words themselves. The issues with the test scores may have been caused by the slang being used in the wrong places (i.e. on tests, with teachers). Slang may not be as detrimental to a school environment as the article suggests, and the issue may be more of a disconnect with how students and teachers believe the language should be used.

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    1. Completely agree with your theory. I also believe that rather than ban slang, which is probably futile, educators should focus on teaching appropriate registers. When should we use slang, and when is it more appropriate to use formal/academic language? As long as you know how to speak correctly, you should be free to "slang--away!"

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  2. Slang is a very influential part of language. Today, slag ranges from "sup" to "I ain't about that life." We find even the least likely of people using these words and phrases in their registers. I would say a lot of it has to do with how much we see and hear it. Social media is a huge contributor to slang. When typing we use abbreviations such as "BTW" or "LOL" to shorten the post or the time it takes to type it out. Eventually it went from being typed to being spoken.
    I agree with the article that slang does have a time and place but we are slowly losing "appropriacy." School papers and interviews are places slang should be left outside the door with. Facebook and even with friends, slang is more appropriate. I have also found that some slang itself is more appropriate. Some sayings that have been developed I find rude and appalling while other slang uses are more respectful.
    The article mentioned different words that had originated in different countries as slang. Words like pyjamas and shampoo that we use almost daily came from India and Urdu. It's astounding. I also loved this quote at the end, "Whether we like it or not, the way we talk affects the way people see us and this can have very serious consequences..." Stereotypes are one of those thing in life that are, "whether we like it or not." The black community is one that "ight" comes from. When people speak these ways it does effect the way people see them and their community. For example, I have an Aunt who is white as all get out but most of her friends and boyfriends are black. Because she is around them so often, she talks like them to the point where if you only heard her voice you might think she was also black.
    Our voice should reflect the way we want to be perceived.

    (Just a side note, I even noticed that the slang I used in my comment wasn't autocorrected or mark with a spelling error. It it an interesting thought.)

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    1. That is an interesting thought! :)

      I agree with you on the ending quote of this article--I LOVE it. SO true. As long as people remember this and take it to heart, they will be more aware of what is the appropriate register to use at the appropriate time.

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  3. I definitely agree with the article and found what it said to be very interesting. I often see young teenagers using inappropriate verbiage at wrong times. Our generation does not know how to separate the multiple languages that our culture has established. I found from the article it very intriguing that different common every day words that we use are taking and moved from different countries into others. I also find it sad and I love this quote, "You can slip into the perception there is good language and bad language, and make the false link between bad language and bad people. - Prof Kerswill." This truly proves how society is now and days with slang. People judge others people language and they think they know the person inside and out or they think they know that whole persons life story. Though they may now understand somethings about those certain people it gives them no right to judge people and treat them the way they do. It also makes sense how other cultures are separated with their slang now and it is because they are wanting to separate themselves. They are intentionally creating a certain language that others besides them can understand. It is almost like when you make up a language with your best friend when you are young. You create it so that no one else can understand what you guys are saying to each other.
    Another thing that I found interesting was how the article said that kids use slang to fit in and it is so true. If you look at Odyssey or in our community or on social media everyone for the most part talks the same and has the cool same references that everyone laughs at together and if someone doesn't know a slang word then everyone that does looks at them like they are crazy or stupid. For example, "Bae" or "Lmao" when that first came out I had no idea what those meant and although they are just an acronym people made fun of me because I didn't know what they meant, so I learned them and started using them for myself. So I definitely understand how teens feel the need to use slang in order to fit in.

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    1. Totally connects in your example to inclusive/exclusive language, too! While slang can make us feel part of a generation, it also makes those who don't use it often, or aren't aware of it, feel out of touch.

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  4. I see what the article is saying and think it raises an interesting point. Slang is becoming the norm for today's society. In fact, it's integrating with our language so much that we can barley even consider it slang; it's becoming just speech at this point. I cannot say that it's not a little troubling to hear such an improper form of language throughout my personal generation. I hear other people saying such ridiculous things and it makes me want to be different. However, that can prove to be difficult when you're surrounded by such things. Kind of like how living in America for a long period of time can deteriorate an british accent from a native englishman, language rubs off on those who are constantly surrounded by such speak. My favorite quote from this article was definitely "You can slip into the perception there is good language and bad language, and make the false link between bad language and bad people. - Prof Kerswill." I appreciated this because I myself have considered this possibility. Though I consider myself an alright speaker in front of strangers or those with whom I don't not associate, I find myself to getting extremely nervous during job interviews. The last thing I want is to look like a stupid teenager and as a result, I watch my words very carefully. I believe the reason for this is because of the fact that my brain really cannot filter out what is appropriate and what is not anymore. It's almost like a switch in my brain has malfunctioned and I must now work extra hard to assure that my language comes out exactly the way I desire. Of course, polite speech dosent fit in every atmosphere and I don't believe that it's necessary to practice polite speech in front of those with whom you are comfortable. It may take some effort, but reestablishing the fine line between professionalism and relaxed speech can be done and should be exercised from every person wether old or young.

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    1. I SO agree with you--we do need to work harder to keep our registers in check when we are socializing in the world. How I speak to my friends, and how I speak to my boss at work are two very different registers. I am much more cognizant of my grammar in speaking with colleagues and way more relaxed with friends and family.

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  5. This article provided several good points concerning slang, such as its long history, recent prevalence, and the impossibility of getting rid of it. The English language has become inseparably infused with components that are not English in origin. French words such as “General” (in the military sense) are used regularly, and we incorporate many other words as well. The article points out the word “television” which is a combination of Greek and Latin, which is a bit ridiculous.

    Slang is a phenomenon that has gradually worked its way onto the main stage. It has always existed, but now we see it standing in plain view all around us, in every part of our lives. Unfortunately, as the article points out, we are losing the ability to determine when the use of slang is appropriate. We can imagine academic papers and other such assignments written using frequent pieces of slang, or slang terms being used in a job interview. Far more prevalent than these, however, to my mind, is the word “like”. This word has gone far past its original meaning now, and many young people use the word “like” extremely often. An all too believable example of this could be: “like, I was like walking to the store, and like, um, like, there were like these people there, and they were like old and so… like, weird, and I was like ‘hey’ and they were like totally rude”. The word “like” appears so often here that we can easily lose track of what was actually happening. More dangerously, we are losing the ability to communicate without using “like” in that manner, and when it becomes appropriate to communicate in a formal manner, we cannot do it. We don’t know how to express ourselves without using slang, and that is critical.

    An example was given in the article of a school that had banned slang, and saw significant improvement on exam scores. We need to teach and use the formal words that we so often use slang for, so that we have the words at our disposal for academics and business.

    I had an experience recently where I conversed frequently with a boy of my own age from Germany. There were many phrases that I used that he did not understand, and I had to consider what the meaning I was trying to communicate was, and put it into a more accurate wording. This experience was excellent for my language development and it made me recognize when I used spoken shortcuts for meanings what I was actually meaning to say. My own understanding of my entire language was enhanced by having to find a way to express myself formally.

    I have much work to do before I can speak English in a completely formal and universal way, but it is something that I will work to develop. I hope that we will find ways to save ourselves and future generations from dependency on slang terms, and I hope we will do it soon.

    -Duncan Robinson

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    1. I loved your example of speaking to a non-native English speaker. That does make us so much more aware of what we are saying and the meaning in our message vs. how we are saying it. Great point.

      I cannot STAND the overuse of like! Reminds me of "Valley Talk" as we used to refer to it in Los Angeles. :)

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  6. I thought that the article was very interesting. I don't agree that they should ban slang. It's just something that teens do. We just speak that way and to ban it does have it's good things, but we shouldn't be controlled to speak a certain way. I mean, schools don't allow profanity, but kids still say it anyways. It would be the same about slang. I also thought that when the article mentioned that English isn't even a language by itself, it's a language that includes other languages, I thought that was very interesting because I never thought about that. I have thought about where words have come from, but I never imagined that we take other cultures' languages and turn into our own. Lastly, I thought that using slang in certain settings of appropriateness was interesting because slang does need to be used in the correct way.

    I don't consider myself to be someone who uses slang a lot unless I think the situation seemed necessary for it. Like you said, slang has different styles and goes in or out like fashion. I feel as though people use slang to 'fit' in or to try to say something but in a cooler way. I admit that I do use slang words when they're popular because that's just what people say to explain something that we can't explain any other way. I feel as though slang is a language in and of itself. It changes the meaning of something and if teens were to say something like "I can't even" to an adult, the adult probably wouldn't understand. Like how someone who speaks Chinese wouldn't understand Hawaiian. It just has different meanings and needs to be used correctly.

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    1. Very true. Yes, I agree that banning a way of speaking is not the right approach. Instead, teaching appropriate use of language in the appropriate setting is something upon which we should focus.

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  7. The article pointed out some very interesting ideas, especially the thought of schools banning slang. I believe that banning slang will create mainly positive feedback, but it is hard to maintain, especially with how most tend to not listen and it would not be right to hand out a punishment to anyone using slang. It was also interesting to read how english is created with a multitude of other languages and how they all intertwine to make the language what it is now, and in that sense it seems that english is a semi-universal language that includes most if not all, and does not seem to exclude any groups.

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    1. I agree--how do you punish someone for that? As long as the scholar is not using slang in an essay or to a teacher, that seems to me a violation of someone's right to expression. I loved learning about the origin of English, too!

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  8. I thought the article was interesting. Some of the different perspectives what we should do about slang were interesting but I feel like they are taking it too far in some of the solutions. One of the thoughts was banning slang from school, which is understandable for formal writing, but to just completely ban it from every aspect of school is a little too far. Students should still have the freedom to talk to each other however they want, but they should not use slang in their classes. Aside from being really hard to enforce, slang may not be a bad thing at all. Language is constantly evolving and we can see how much it has changed since the times of Shakespeare. “Slang” may just be leading into what the future of English will look like and how we will all be communicating in the future.

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    1. I agree about banning slang. You really cannot stop the evolution of language, and banning kids from speaking to their friends in a casual register seems rather silly. I can understand not allowing it a formal essay (just the grade should send the message!) but you are right, controlling how people talk to each other is a slippery slope!

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  9. Before I begin, i'd like to say I find it interesting you enjoy using the BBC, because when I usually think of the BBC I think of Doctor Who and Sherlock. :P

    I will admit, I tend to use a lot of slang and unneeded words in my sentences. Things along the lines of "like" and "dude" clutter my daily conversations. I'm not altogether worried about it because I know when to speak formally and when I don't really need to worry about it as much, but I'd like to get better with limiting my use of slang words and extras in my daily conversations because I've found that when i listen to other people say things like that and use "Like" every other word it can be extremely annoying and sound dumb. And it makes me think: Do I really sound that bad?

    I would also come to believe that the reason I have troubles writing is because of the slang that I use quite often in my life. This is because my vocabulary pool is very limited and I haven't ever had the need to look up other words for things. And i usually end up describing things through odd words and sounds. I would consider noises to be a slang, mainly because a lot of the younger generation can understand what those sounds mean and use then when speaking in a sentence. It can be as simple as describing a persons reaction and making a weird grunting noise. I tend to make noises when showing a facial expressions and describing things to friends.

    Also i agree with the article. Slang is becoming the social norm nowadays, and there isn't much people can do about it. I understand that slang is and can be annoying, and make a child's speak informal, but it isn't something that can be stopped and banning it from the school campus i feel is a bit much because it is like limiting the children's ability to take part in the change of language.

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    1. I actually enjoy Sherlock. :) (he is quite easy on the eyes, isn't he?)

      I agree that using slang can inhibit the growth of vocabulary, but I'm not sure banning it is the answer. Teaching when it's appropriate to use it and when it's appropriate to use a more formal register is a better approach, in my opinion.

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  10. The article mentioned good points about slang. It was interesting to read about. When speaking with my friends I do use slang sometimes, but I also know when it is appropriate to use. In this article I learned that everyday words that we use originated from different languages. For example the would zoo cam from France, pajamas came from India, shampoo comes from Urdu, and television is part latin and part greek. I thought this was very interesting. I liked what Mr. Thorne said in the article about slang is a natural human tendency, because I think it is true. We tend to trim words when speaking or messaging people because it is just easier to do. I also liked when the article mentioned that teens speak in slang to be able to fit in because I also think this is true. We want to be able to fit in with everyone else so we use slang. Another point that I agree with in this article is that some people do not know when it is appropriate to use slang. Since it has gotten so popular and people use it regularly it has become a natural thing. I believe that there are times when it is appropriate and when it is not. For example if you are having a conversation with your friend then I think it is okay. But if you are in a job interview or speaking to someone in authority I think we should be more professional in the way we speak. I still do not think that slang should be banned in schools. I think teens should be able to talk to their friends using slang or in whatever way they want. Even if it was banned in schools. I do not think it will go away. Slang will be something that will evolve and continue to grow.

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    1. I agree! :) Origins of language can be a pretty interesting study!

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  11. The article had a solid argument about how slang has become apart of our generations language, but why is that a bad thing? Such as computers, cell phones, houses and even methods of teaching have evolved with the times, so why shouldn't the language? Sure, I'm not going to walk into an interview for a job and say "Yo, what up? The names KWood and I am the girl you need for dis job." but as we're exposed to forms of communication that haven't even been discovered yet, why shouldn't our language change with it? Does that make us less educated?
    I agree, you should know proper grammar and I don't believe you shouldn't know when to use proper language, but why would be blind students or people in general from the world that is changing around them? If this is the direction that the world is moving in is going from "Hello, my name is Katryna Eastwood." to "Hi! I'm Katryna." why would we not embrace the changes and allow show students when is the correct time to use each phrase?
    Also, why not teach how to use slang? I think a lot of problems with the youth now a days is we are exposed to so many words, some slang, some in Webster Dictionary, but we're not always taught the definition. We rely on context clues and our friends compared to actually learning the words that are used around us every day. We're focused on words you find in novels written a hundred years ago compared to words you'll find in a modern newspaper or blog post.
    If our times are changing, why shouldn't our language?

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    1. Language will continue to evolve, whether we try to ban it in school or not. Teaching the when and where is the key. :)

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  12. The article was interesting, but in my opinion slang shouldn't bother anyone. Unless that specific person doesn't know the meaning to it. In our registers we are already accustomed to speak the way we were raised to speak, or so to speak in public. For example, I'm used to talking to my parents or elder family members I'll talk with respect, cause' momma didn't raise no fool, but with my friends and cousins I am talking so 'ghetto' and so 'hood' that it's a natural feeling with them. Some people have different comfort levels to know when to and when not to talk 'slang'.

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  13. Slang is prevalent in all cultures, most definitely; English is no exception. For example, if you were to visit Mexico and speak to one of the natives, they may use rough variations of actual English words in the middle of a sentence in order to establish a common message. This is because language is constantly being integrated and merged; the actual language, however, is dependent on the area and the dialects/cultures in question. English is becoming common in Mexico, so Mexicans may use English terms to refer to things that may or may not have an actual Spanish indicator.

    This is one example of slang, for there are many others — which were mentioned in the article, like shampoo (coming from Urdu) or zoo (coming from France) which is much like the aforementioned example.

    It wouldn't just apply to words. It also applies to the way sentences are structured. Let's take the example Duncan gave into account (which was excellent by the way — but I digress); "Like, I was like walking to the store, and like, um, like, there were like these people there, and they were like old and so… like, weird, and I was like ‘hey’ and they were like totally rude." The word "like" has lost most of its original meaning and intention, and has been used in a way that, as much as I wouldn't like to admit, I have heard many regular teenage girls say in conversations, regardless of the atmosphere.

    "Ain't got no" — it's a double negative, but it's a popular slang term. The meaning is also misconstrued; people think it means "I don't have" and it actually means the exact opposite. Slang is where the "I don't have" meaning comes from. It's used to much in that context, people can't tell that it's incorrect.

    But, let's look at this through a different perspective, because our language isn't just about the constant integration.
    Telling a story in a casual setting devoid of the word "like" (referring to Duncan's example) would probably elicit a weird look. Using formal language in a casual setting is uncommon. It would be weird if I spoke properly while visiting a friend after school or talking to my family at a party. Inversely, if I used slang at a business meeting, I would most likely lose all my credibility. Slang has become more publicized and language has been significantly warped because of this.

    People do retain the ability to determine when a certain type of language is appropriate to the setting.

    I think the article is devoid of this concept, because not all people are just regularly accustomed to slang (and as a result, cannot use formal language) which is what I feel the article mainly touched on, especially regarding the example of the school that banned slang and the circumstances that lead to this. Unless, of course, I wasn't paying particular attention and they touched on it.

    It's interesting, to say the least — the fact that there are people considering it so seriously because of its popularity, for lack of a better word. I do hope that language doesn't continue to take this decline. I say "decline" deliberately because of the whole slang issue; slang itself isn't the problem. The problem lies with people completely relying on it.

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    1. Very good analysis. You really hit on all points. You know, I always say to my students, "please take out something with which to write" instead of "take out something to write with" (improper grammar). I noticed last year, the kids looked at me strangely, and said, "That sounds funny." But as the year went on, they would repeat the same phrase to one another, and it became regular class speech. My point is that modeling is really key here. In places where we don't want slang, we should model proper English. But off hours, with friends in social settings, we can relax. ;)

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  14. The article did mention a lot of good points about slang being used "appropriately". I feel that slang is just becoming a part of this generations language and unfortunately there is not much we can do. By banning slang in school it would be like banning lead pencils, there is always going to be that one kid who brings in a "cool" lead pencil and tries to be the rebel, there is always going to be a kid who uses slang anyway. What I'm trying to say is that either way, banned or not, slang won't just disappear into thin air. As for the slang terms being used "appropriately", well that's completely different. I believe that if teens want to use slang they should, let 'em go nuts with it, but I also believe that speaking slang to a professional adult or someone who they are being interviewed by, well let's say there should be some level of a business aura. I mean to say that I believe that using slang for an interview is inappropriate, not that it's horrible and the world is going to end just because someone used slang, but it makes the professional want to cringe a little and they probably will get the feeling that the person using the slang isn't being completely appropriate or wanting of the job. As long as slang is not used with professional adults or in situations of utter importance such as an interview, than it's ok to use with others.

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    1. Agree! The where in when we use slang is the key. I loved your example of the pencils....SO true!!

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  15. The article pointed out very interesting points on slang. The topic of banning slang from schools intrigued me. I was course on how could they do that? Did it even have a small effect on the students? Slang is taking over, and I am guilty of it also. I always find myself saying things that I have heard off of TV or other friends not realizing it. I can understand why schools would not want it around anymore, to help the students in their writing. Although making students stop talking that way also takes away their freedom of speech a little. Slang has become a huge part of this generation. One thing I found out reading this article was that our slang comes from other countries, I find that very interesting. Something I noticed while reading this article was the photos off to the side. One that really caught my attention was this quote, “You can slip into the perception there is good language and bad language, and make the false link between bad language and bad people”. I personally love this, because of how true it is. The younger generation speaks with a lot a slang and the older generation will look down on them for that. Our clothes are changing, our styles are changing, the new generation is changing, So is our language.

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    1. You are right. And language will continue to change, too! Someday, you'll hear your kids speaking in strange ways, and shake your head. ;) It's a never ending cycle.

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  16. Slang will always be a part of our language. Whether good or bad, it is going to be there. That is part of the obvious. I looked up slang in the dictionary, and it means any parts of speech rather than writing, and is regarded to as very informal. The first thing, in my own background knowledge and mind, when I think about slang, I usually connect it with teenagers. Nowadays, I feel our slang in my generation is very informal…more than usual from when I was a bit younger. It’s changed, mainly because of the launch of texting and social media. Social media basically breathes slang. Who has time to type up an actual constructed sentence, when I can use use a few symbols, letters, and emojis to convey how I feel?
    While it may be easier to communicate using brief messages, it may also hinder on how we are able to talk to other people, younger, older or the same age. Incorrect grammar can hinder our potential and what other people see in us. If a teacher hears a student that is talking to another adult with improper grammar, they may have a pre-judged impression on you. As much as you want to rant about how pre-judging someone is wrong, let’s take into account of how someone should know how to speak even when they think no one is watching. You could miss out on important opportunities like job interviews or college admissions meetings just because of a disrespectful slang or incorrect grammar decision.

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  17. "All slang is metaphor, and all metaphor is poetry".
    As seen in the BBC news article on slang is seen as a negative impact and some schools have even taking this issue so far as to banish certain words from use. But is slang always a necessarily bad thing or are we just becoming more unfiltered in the settings in which we use certain words? The answer is not so simple. Slang is in part, an effect of intercultural expansion. As we become more global we adopt and create new words to fit into our everyday vocabularies. Slang along with other aspects of life has its time and place but today using an overabundance of slang has caused todays societies registers to become less professional in some of the environments in which we speak. Maybe this is just me but I have also noticed a change in the way in which we tell things. If you listen closely to someone retell a story at the end they will often say "and then I was like" and then they will give an expression or a brief word and pause. At first I thought this was only done by younger generations but I began to notice that even adults do it to. I don't think that phrases like this are proper English and even though it bugs me I believe that this and slang follow a similar concept of a verbal adaptation and change that comes with time. Although that some slang is seen everywhere there are some prominent language nuances in English that help define communities. These nuances are often related to race or specific communities that then with the help of slang help further define themselves. Personally, I don't always think this is a bad thing because it helps those cultures find a sense of belonging. The only problem I see is when younger generations have no filters and can not conduct them selves in a professional manner when appropriate.

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    1. Love what you said about slang helping cultures find a sense of belonging. Very true. Also loved your opening quote. Really made me think!

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  18. I agree with Benjamin Zephaniah's thought that slang is a "ban that is impossible to achieve." During school it can be monitored yes, but what about at lunch and at home? I'll admit, at home and lunch, I have a bit of a potty mouth, but I can handle it while in class at school. I know the times when saying bad words or slang is inappropriate, although others might not. That's why I believe that instead of trying to ban it, we should embrace and teach others how and when to use it. Remember when we tried banning alcohol? Yeah, that didn't end very well. Slang isn't like alcohol, but banning anything is completely impossible because there will always be those out there that still use it and find a way. Slang has been and always will be a part of language, so we might as well get used to it and learn how to use it in the correct register. "All slang is metaphor, and all metaphor is poetry." -Gilbert K Chesterton

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  19. I think that yes, slang should not be used in professional settings, which is why teachers don't usually accept papers with slang in it. I agree that banning slang in school would almost be entirely impossible but instead parents and schools should make a point of teaching when slang is appropriate. The older generation probably does think of slang in relation to rapping, but for the younger generation it's an important part of communication. I don't think people should limit their slang when they are talking with their friends and social group because it's just another way of being close with your friends. When people don't act more professional in a work setting, that's when it's a problem. I personally like slang, but I know if I started to use it with my grandparents they would have no clue what I was saying. I guess you just have to learn when to use it and understand it's a part of our culture now.

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  20. While I was reading the article, I kept receiving a bad vibe. While the article was stating, "Bad language doesn't mean its a bad person", I felt they were still condemning it, and talking as if slang indeed was a bad thing, and that those who used slang were below them. I'm not sure why, but I felt hypocrisy.

    Moving on from that, I do not think slang is bad. I do not think you're a bad person or necessarily uneducated, if you use slang. If I did think that, Id be calling myself educated and bad. I believe the whole point of language is to evolve, and improve over time, and become more accessible to many more people. I bevel slang can help do that. Half the words we use today, that are considered "appropriate" and "right" are slang, and have now become the very words we expect! Honestly, could you imagine someone walking up to you and genuinely speaking in a very "Shakespearean" way? Would you be able to respond, and keep a straight face? And not be confused at all? No! You would laugh, and probably look at them like they were a wee bit crazy. We have gotten past that language. We have grown into new language, and nothing is wrong with that.

    I am not supporting repetition. I hate hearing the word "Bae" used over and over, or "Swag" or "Yolo". But I simply hate repetition if a point is not being made with it. Those are slang terms, but nothing is wrong with them, and if they are accurately describing what you need them to, it should be fine to use them, as long as the other person understand its, or you can accurately explain it to them. As long as what they are saying is respectful, I believe it is perfectly fine. Just be original with your words, and make them coherent.

    By saying a particular version of language is bad, or low-key condemning it, is condemning the people who use it, and degrading their unique sense of language, self, and expression. Degrading may not be the goal, but that is a result.

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  21. I agree with Professor Paul Kerswill in his statement that, "young people are growing up with a new form of composite language. It's a bit cockney, a bit West Indian, a bit West African, with some Bangladeshi and Kuwaiti - and it seems to be replacing traditional cockney". Our slang comes from all types of languages, I believe language a hole is evolving like technology has evolved.A group of people wither being babies, teens, adults or the elderly, they will have their own type of slang, and as said in the article slang is, "simply more public". In a professional setting, in my opinion, they have their own slang. The slang would be using vocabulary that applies to the business or sounding educated. Now-a-days the majority of teenagers don't know know the vocabulary to be professional because they aren't surrounded by those terms. Slang will always be apart of everyday life but one should learn when it is appropriate to use. Humans have adapted to many things, slang is just another bump in the road.

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  22. This article was very interesting! I believe that slang is not good in a professional setting, but is fine when you are around people you are close to. If you use excessive amounts of slang in any situation the outcome is often not good. For example lets say there was never any slang and everyone spoke perfectly. How would you feel? At first that may sound good to teachers and parents , but sometimes you need a break.

    My favorite quote from this article was, "But young people are increasingly unable to distinguish when it's appropriate to use it, say some linguists." This quote is so true because most teens do not know when to put a filter on. The way we talk allows us to express ourselves, and show others who we really are. In my opinion, slang creates a sense of community between all languages. The fact is slang is apart of the natural evolution of language.

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    1. Yes. Banning slang is probably not the answer. Teaching when to use it just might be!

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  23. I thought the article was interesting. I do think that there is a time and a place for slang. I don't think that slang should be used in a professional atmosphere or during a professional activity, but when you're in a more laid-back setting it's totally fine. I do feel as though there are some times when even in a professional atmosphere it may be okay. Like everything else, slang has its place. I appreciate the fact that the article stated that slang is not something you can ban because there isn't a language police. I think in this case you can only try to educate teens on when the proper time and place for it is. I also appreciated this quote, "You can very quickly slip into the perception that there is good language and bad language, and then make the false link between bad language and bad people." This is very true and something I think everyone should be educated on. No one should be judged based on the language they choose to use. Language choice does not define character. Overall, it was an interesting article and a lot was gathered from it.

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  24. Slang is used in our everyday life's, we don't really know when to distinguish it. I think is it very cultural as well, depending were we come from and who we grew up with defines the way we use slang. I really liked when the article mentioned that "Language isn't just about communication, there is a strong social, political and emotional charge to it." Also, 'Young people are growing up with a new form of composite language.
    The world is evolving and our language is as well; slang might be a new way of communication rather then use the same boring words for others.
    I am not a fan of slang but I do find myself using it and personally I think it comes naturally rather then thinking about how im going to use it.

    Slang gives us the opportunity to create new things and our imagination is broader.

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  25. Slang definitely never goes unused on a daily basis. It is present everywhere we go, and hear it out of our own mouths everyday of our lives. I believe there is a time and setting for slang to be used. Like words in language, slang has power. It could cause someone to see you as unprofessional, rude, or maybe even laid back and comfortable in the situation.

    I agree with the article that banning slang completely would be very difficult to make completely possible. For some it is a part of culture, for others, a set and taught way of speaking. Though it may appear to make our generation somewhat vulgar and uneducated, it is a part of this generation and what we make it. Who wants to go through life so seriously, anyway?

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  26. "Socialinguistics". Dang. What a word.

    Loved this weeks topic, because I love slang. I have a couple of different thoughts on this article. So, my reply might be sporadic.

    First of all, "slang" takes up about 95% of my dialogue. I love it. It's just so easy. So chill. However, I am a "conscious slang speaker". When speaking to strangers, I am sure to use proper language, mostly because I don't want them to think I'm dumb. Which is interesting, because now that I think about it, why does speaking slang have to be associated with a lower intelligence level. I mean, its still a word. A new word. Thus, you are adding to your vocabulary. I don't know, maybe that's a stretch.

    Anyways, I am careful to use 'appropriacy' in most cases. Sometimes I forget though. For example, I usually greet at the front doors of my Chruch on Sunday mornings. Well, I am so used to saying, "guys" in every context in my language that it slipped out as I greeted two older women by saying, "Good morning guys". Guys. Really Chandler? To be quite honest, it was embarrassing and I wonder what they thought.

    This brings me to my second point, I strongly disagree that "slang is also a natural human tendency". If Mr. Thorne is saying what I think he is saying, humans will always come up with their own slang. I do believe that there are some original people that come up with slang words and decides its cool to use them. However, I think that the rest of the population imitates what they hear. I have never come up with my own slang word. But, I do copy what other slang I hear my friends say.

    The statement, "Older generations - which tend to associate slang with the values of American gangster rap culture and social decline - would benefit from studying it too because it would make slang seem less alien" made me sort of irritated. I guess I don't like the fact that they are suggesting that older people should learn slang so that they connect with the rest of the "slang speakers" and so that slang will be more acceptable in our society. I can't see any benefit in teaching my grandparents slang when they already have proper english engraved in their heads. They are not going to except it because they have had this thought that slang is a dialogue used by the unintelligent and lazy for centuries. Plus, it's not like slang completely hinders all understanding of human communication (unless, maybe, you're really gangster). I could speak slang to my grandpa, and even though it may seem uneducated, he would still be able to understand what I'm saying.

    Overall, I don't see any harm in slang as long as it is used in appropriate times and with moderation. There it is again. Moderation. Don't get in the habit of speaking slang all the time. You probably won't get hired for that job if you used words like "hella" and "cray cray". Have a filter and know when enough is enough.

    Just a side note, I don't think it will be long before our older generation uses slang as well as the newer generations. But, I do hope that proper language is not forgotten. If we never remember a higher form of communication, then our current language will become sloppier and sloppier.

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    1. Loved your post! Well written, and very entertaining. You would be a great columnist! :)

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  27. Slang is an awkward spot for me, as I speak differently with different groups of people, and as the article points out many people view slang as unprofessional in workplaces or more formal settings. At work and church and when speaking to most people in positions of authority I tend to remove slang entirely whereas during football or basketball practice slang makes up my entire vocabulary. During swim season we all use a different form of sarcastic slang making fun of what we are each saying creating many hilarious situations when our coaches ask what is going on. Slang is continually evolving as words that popped up as slang thirty to forty years ago now are not only commonly used, but no one remembers what the actual word is for the old slang term. Language is very fluid, and as such is continually evolving and changing. Slang 20-30 years from now will look very different than the terms we use now as the slang we use now will either be completely adopted or shoved to the side and forgotten until someone goes digging for it. You can embrace the change or struggle against it, but even if you struggle and fight and swear you will never use it, eventually your time will pass and the next generation will take over and change things anyway. Slanglish as you put it, is very interesting to study and see how it has changed over the years, and it is even better to speculate how it will change in the future.

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  28. Yes! I was very surprised to see how some slang from the 20's has been adapted into idiom or modern speech (blitzed, take you for a ride, poor egg) while some is now strange and definitely forgotten (23 skidoo, sheiba, fly boy, the bank's closed). It is fun to go digging for it!

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  29. I agree that with english being an evolving thing. One might think of a language as a species. Over time, some of the language dies off, and some of it changes. English already takes almost all of its words from different languages. Most of what we say is comprised of words that are derived from several languages. If slang is how the article says that it is, and is merely evolving based upon other languages, it is merely a new form of english. I do not believe that this is something to struggle against. I believe that this is just a cause to allow the language to grow and evolve. English is like a melting pot of languages. Much like how a casserole is a dish made of many different things, that is how I see english. If somebody were to just attempt to add something new to the dish, why not try it? One might enjoy it better than the one that you currently like. Everything ends, and our version of language will eventually end too.

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  30. Slang is becoming more and more popular around the world these days. After reading this article, I'm shocked to see that people are now using slang to everyone not just their friends. I feel that slang can be used, but used at appropriate times. You probably don't want to go up to your new boss and say I'll brb. He or she will probably question if you are a good worker or not. As for completely banning slang in schools, I don't feel that is right. They should be able to say it, just not all the time. They could teach the kids when it is appropriate to speak in slang and when it is not. If we relate this to Enoch Powell's speech, were he said that immigrants will change the culture of Britain. Today the immigrant slang from all over the world is changing the way in which people speak, which proves he was right. Overall, I feel that slang can be in culture, as long as it is used at appropriate times.

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  31. Although I can see why slang is unappealing, I think it’s a matter of perspective. Language is always changing. Look at Shakespeare, for example. He coined a ton of terms that are now a part of the English language. It is true that slang is informal and inappropriate in situations that aren’t casual, but it is a valid form of communication. Like the article said, English is made of different elements from different groups with different languages, which is how slang came to be.

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  32. I use slang when I talk but just by habit. Like the article said its becoming a normal thing, its not so much because we want to sound cool but thats just how our generation is. I dont really know why slang has become so popular but its just like speaking normal. I dont mind slang because everyone uses it a million times on a daily basis. I do think that there are times where you should be more formal when you speak. I can see how it makes english so hard to learn because of all the slang we use. For americans though we catch onto slang very fast and it just becomes a normal way of communication.

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