Сленг как особый вид вагабондского языка


филологические науки

В данной статье рассматриваются определенные черты сленга.Согласно информации, которая была представлена В.В. Абакуловой, мы можем видеть, что «сленг как нестандартный язык — это очень неформальное использование слов и фраз для более красочного или своеобразного стиля выражения, которое разделяют люди в той же социальной подгруппе, например, компьютерный сленг, спортивный сленг, военный сленг, сленг музыкантов, сленг студентов, сленг преступного мира и т. д. Сленг — это использование весьма неформальных слов и выражений, которые не считаются стандартными в диалекте или языке говорящего ».

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So, we cannot give the definite notion to the Slang. But, in this article I will observe some definition of the Slang taken from various source of information. Normally, the first place you would go to find the definition of a term is dictionaries. Most dictionaries include a definition of the most common words in a language and can help you understand the aspects of slang translating. The Classic dictionary of the vulgar language was the 1st English dictionary of slang words and expressions, compiled by Francis Grosse in 1785. At that time, slang was a vocabulary used only by prostitutes. Microsoft Encarta 97 Encyclopedia states: “Slang expressions often embody attitudes and values of group members”. For the sake of assurance, I first consulted two dictionaries and later another three dictionaries for investigating the concept of slang. However, problems emerged already after looking through the first two dictionaries. If you look up ‘slang’ in the table №1 of two established and frequently cited dictionaries Merriam-Webster (MW) and Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (CALD), you find the following definitions:

Table1. Definitions examples



1. “language peculiar to a particular group: as a : argot b : jargon”

2.”an informal nonstandard vocabulary composed typically of coinages, arbitrarily changed words, and extravagant, forced, or facetious figures of speech”.

“very informal language that is usually spoken rather than written, used especially by particular groups of people”

As can be seen in the two definitions, the two dictionaries share some similarities in their definitions of slang: They both clearly indicate that slang is informal in its use and that slang is used by a particular group of people. However, this is all they agree on. CALD indicates that slang is used more in speech than in writing, while MW indicates that slang is composed by coinages, arbitrarily changed words, and extravagant, forced or facetious figures of speech. In other words, MW suggests that slang is a way in which to make up words or change already existing words. Also, MW indicates that slang is a vocabulary while CALD indicates that slang is a language. According to Michael Adams, who in his book Slang the People’s Poetry offers an academic insight to the social, cultural, linguistic and cognitive aspects of slang, dictionaries do not seem to be able to agree on how slang is to be defined. In fact, the leading tendency is that all dictionaries offer definitions of slang that are informative, but not compatible with one another. Adams believes that dictionaries’ definitions are so incompatible with one another that it is difficult and confusing to find out what slang is by just consulting dictionaries. Adams’ claim is illustrated by the two definitions above which agree in a few areas, but both definitions also include elements that are not found in the other. Adams’ claim is further confirmed as the inconsistency between the dictionaries’ definitions only grows larger when three other dictionaries are translating the use of slang.

Having taken into the consideration the data of The Cambridge Dictionary of American English (CDAE), Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (OALD) and Longman’s Dictionary of Contemporary English (LDOCE), we came across with following definitions of slang:

Table 2. Information comparison




”a very informal language that is used esp. in speech by particular groups of people and which sometimes includes words that are not polite”.

“Very informal words and expressions that are more common in spoken language especially used by a particular group of people, for example, children, criminals, soldiers, etc.”

“very informal, sometimes offensive, language that is used especially by people who belong to a particular group, such as young people or criminals”

Once again, we may find some agreement between the dictionaries. All five dictionaries agree that slang is informal, and they also agree that slang is used by particular groups of people. The CDAE adds that slang "includes words that are not polite”. While it could be argued that the notion whether words are polite or

not is a subjective view and depends upon every individual’s perception, this information still adds another aspect to the definitions of slang that differs from the information given in the other sources. CDAE and LDOCE list slang as language while OALD lists slang as words and expressions. Once again, the diversity in the definitions shows an incompatibility between the various dictionaries. OALD indicates that slang is most common in spoken language, agreeing with CALD. Both OALD and LDOCE indicate what type of people use slang. OALD lists children, criminals and soldier, while LDOCE lists young people and criminals, but since the three other dictionaries do not specify what particular groups of people use slang, it is difficult to say whether OALD and LDOCE’s definitions of slang users are correct or not. However, most linguists and lexicographers admit that the origin of the word slang is “uncertain” or “unknown”.

According to information which was presented by V. V. Abakulova here we may see that “Slang as a non-standard language is very informal usage of words and phrases for more colorful or peculiar style of expression that is shared by the people in the same social subgroup, for example, computer slang, sports slang, military slang, musicians’ slang, students’ slang, underworld slang, etc. Slang is the use of highly informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's dialect or language.”

Robert L described slang in the following way “Slang — informal, nonstandard words and phrases, generally shorter lived than the expressions of ordinary colloquial speech, and typically formed by creative, often witty juxtapositions of words or images. Slang can be contrasted with jargonand with argot or cant but the borderlines separating these categories from slang are greatly blurred, and some writers use the terms cant, argot, and jargon in a general way to include all the foregoing meanings.” As it has been seen from these examples slang is represented both as a special vocabulary and as a special language. However this is the first thing that causes misunderstanding.

J.B. Greenough and C.L. Kitteridge define slang in the following way: “Slang is a peculiar kind of vagabond language, always hanging on the outskirts of legitimate speech but continually straying or forcing its way into the most respectable company.”

The one of the most confusing definition of slang was made by Eric Partridge, the eminent student of the non-literary language. “Slang is much rather a spoken than a literary language. It originates, nearly always, in speech. To coin a term on a written page is almost inevitably to brand it as a neologism which is either be accepted or become a nonce-word, but, except in the rarest instances, that term will not be slang. Personality and one’s surroundings are the two co-efficient, the two chief factors, and the determining causes of the nature of slang, as they are of language in general and of style.” It follows that you may get the idea that language, style and slang all have the same nature, the same determining causes.

Henry Bradley writes that "Slang sets things in their proper place with a smile. So, to call a hat 'a lid' and a head 'a nut' is amusing because it puts a hat and a pot-lid in the same class".

U. M. Skrebnev defines slang as a part of the vocabulary consisting of commonly understood and widely used words and expressions of humorous or derogatory character-intentional substitutes for neutral or elevated words and expressions. Slang is a widespread phenomenon deserving a space of its own in linguistic inquiry, precisely on account of its frequent independence of behavior and extra-grammatical quality.

The Historical Dictionary of American Slang says that "Slang is lexical innovation within a particular cultural context." In this dictionary was pointed out that many groups "use slang largely because they lack political power." It is simply a safe and effective way that people rebel against the establishment.

The Columbia Encyclopedia notes that slang is often "well developed in the speaking vocabularies of cultured, sophisticated, linguistically rich languages." Whereas slang was once considered as the lowest form of communication, many now consider slang to be an intelligent and insightful variation to the blandness of the standard language.

The Oxford English Dictionary’s 1989 edition defines slang as “the special vocabulary used by any set of persons of a low or disreputable character, language of a low and vulgar type”. The study of slang also opens up many sociological and socio-linguistic prospects, amply investigated in the literature. Slang separates society into groups along various dimensions, and this fact is certainly of great relevance in sociology and partly explains specific linguistic features of slang, such as its search for originality and secrecy. Of special interest, though, is the area of emotions and attitudes, in which the speaker’s choices of slang formations and their pragmatic effects on the addressee are carefully regulated. Making a careful study of different kind sources of information, I came to the conclusion that definition of the slang has great number of explanations. In the present qualification paper I stick to the following definition of slang:

Slang is a non-standard vocabulary, clipped or shortened forms, extravagant, forced or facetious figures of speech. It is much rather a spoken than a literary language and the instrument to escape the dull familiarity, to suggest an escape from the established routine of every-day life. From this follows that slang is not a language as such as implied in some of the dictionary definitions but rather a set of words and expressions in a given language used to create group dynamics, because slang is used within a given language to establish a difference between standard language and slang. The difference is not so much in the words themselves, but in the intended effect of using the words.

To generalize, slang is regarded as short-lived informal words used particularly by subcultures of society. Slang terms are especially rich in 4 areas: violence, crime, drugs and sex. It is likely invented from several ways. People in subcultures may change the form of ordinary vocabularies to abbreviations and acronyms according to convenience and familiarity. Some technical terms, foreign words and new sounds of a language are applied as slang usage. The meaning of slang is mostly upon figure of speech, while the ordinal definition of borrowed words still exists. In addition, slang affects the movement of a language, and it also shows humor, closeness and understanding among a subgroups.

Список литературы

  1. Арнольд И.В. Лексикология современного английского языка. – Москва: Высш. шк., 1986 г.
  2. Антрушина Г.Б., Афанасьева О.В., Морозова Н.Н. Лексикология английского языка. – Дрофа. 2004 г. – с. 9.
  3. Судзиловский Г.А. Сленг - Что это такое? – М: Военное издательство Министерство обороны, 1973 г.
  4. Abakulova V.V. Slang as a part of the English language. – Tomsk: Tomsk polytechnic university, 2010.