Slang, as it generally said, is casual spoken language which differs from other aspects of forming non-standard language like dialects, idioms and jargon. In fact, slang is not used in formal spoken language, or in writing way of expressing your ideas and thoughts. It is interesting to mention, that slang and colloquial expressions are the one of the most essential part of spoken English. Actually, there is hardly a person who does not make use of them during making the speech. Nowadays, everyone from teenagers to scientists use it. If we take into the consideration some historical documents, it said that all countries and periods of history have had slang.
There is interesting see, that much general slang is simply mispronounced words from other languages, like “savvy”. We usually use the slang word “savvy”, in order to say that someone is “in the know”. Admittedly, the word “savvy” comes from the Spanish word “sabe usted”, which has the literary meaning “you know”.
“Slang greatly influences today’s society. Many terms, phrases and words that are used in the slang often become meaningful in the casual form of speech,” said Desmond Daniels, a senior at the School for Advanced Studies in Miami. “I personally resort to slang because it is widely understood and in most cases, easier to prove a point with than using regular language. Also, some people subconsciously use slang without knowing it because it just flows.”
Slang often refers to the non-standard use of words in a language and it is associated with informal and colloquial spoken language. Slang often originates in the subcultures in a society; in Britain in the sixties for example a gay slang language was invented at a time when gay people needed a private form of communication. Slang is characterized by lexical innovation through the creation of new words. Particular forms of slang, like for example the slang used by teenagers, are often used as a means of expressing identity between members of a group. Slang covers a wide range of domains of life and activity such as:
- The underground world of crime, drugs addiction;
- The students’ world, the computer’s;
- The sports’ universe;
- The army;
- Mass-media, cinema etc.
It should be kept in mind that almost all slang terms were derived from standard, formal language but they gained new metaphorical meaning thanks to its imaginative, flexible character. The sources of its vocabulary include:
- Comparison with other words;
- Changing the order of syllables or sounds within a word;
- Abbreviations, play upon words based on allusions comparison or polysemy.
- The ironical interpretation of certain words.
There is one thing I’d like to stress very heavily, concerned with the British slang. This type of slang is well-known for its “Rhyming Slang”, a Cockney making, where a word is replaced by a pair of words, the second rhyming with the one replaced. To illustrate this point we may refer to the term “my wife” is replaced by “my trouble and strife” or “my fork and knife”. Kids as we know are the source of creating new slang. While communicating with their peers they try to change their way of explaining their ideas by imaging new words — slang words. It is interesting to see, that they do it without thinking of grammatical rules. The main criteria that they have to follow, it should be understandable within their group. Here you may see some examples:
The word “caf” - a cafeteria, preferably one in a high school or college campus. E.g. Yeah, let's go to the caf and get some pizza.
”Cheese wagon” means a large, yellow, American school bus.
E.g. Until I can afford a Camaro I have to take the cheese wagon to school.
“Cipher” means “knowledge”.
E.g. After school was over I gained a lot of cipher. ”
“Merlin” is a gifted but lazy student who somehow manages to pass exams without doing any work at all, as if by magic.
E.g. - Did Kurt pass his exam? — Yeah, he truly is merlin.
“Beereived”- When you have finished your beer.
E.g. I'm beereived. Please get me another.
“Kicks” means “shoes”.
E.g. Check out my new kicks.
“Kill the noise” — “be quiet”.
E.g. Kill the noise. I’m trying to sleep.
Slang as it generally said sometimes can be referred to the regional owing to the using it in a particular territory or places, such as California, however slang terms are so special to a certain subculture, for instance musicians. Nevertheless, slang words or expressions can be widely spread outside their original areas in order to become commonly used, for example "cool" and "live". We cannot ignore the fact that while some words lose their status to be considered as slang, others continue to remain the position as such by most speakers. When slang spreads beyond the group or subculture that originally uses it, its original users often replace it with other, less-recognized terms to maintain group identity.
“Norn Iron” is the name of a small state, a shorter name for Northern Ireland.
E.g. Q. Where do you come from?
A. Oh, I come from Norn Iron.
The word “baka” (adj) means Stupid, idiotic, foolish. (n) A stupid or foolish person.
E.g. My little brother is a baka. It is used mainly for comedic effect.
The word “caboon” means an intern, particularly in a research project involving hawks. Supposedly from some Malay language where it denotes slave.
E.g. You are the most stupid caboon that I have known.
I close to the words today English language take an essential part in the modern life. It stays on position of international communication; it serves like a bridge for these who want to keep in step with time. However we should forget that not only the standard ways of expressing you thoughts is main you should follow but also you have to be acquainted with non-standard aspects of forming the English language like dialects, jargon, idioms and slang. Knowing enough about all these special features may help you to deeply understand and identify the main significance of the English language and come nearer to the culture of the English speaking counties. An extensive knowledge of non-standard aspects of English language is way which would build a “bridge of mutual understanding” between you and the native speaker and relax the tension. However it isn’t enough just knowing about these aspects but also it is necessary to use them correctly and depending on situations because wrong using of them may lead to misunderstanding between two speakers. As written above there are some general examples of right using all these aspects in the context. It should be kept in mind that the best of understanding these examples it is learning them by heard in order not to be in awkward situations.