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Slang: A Transitional Language

Uploaded by jdewitt70 on Dec 21, 2001

Throughout a child’s developmental years most surrounding adults (such as parents, teachers and caretakers) act as principal models for standard speech and grammar skills. Children learn to interact with others through constant attempts to emulate the various styles and melodies of communication that are demonstrated all around them. At some point during this long process of edification, kids become young adults with a need to cultivate a sense of individualism. Dialogue takes on a whole new style, and peers have more influence than ever on vocabulary development. This paper will explore the development and usage of slang, paying close attention to the key role it plays in the transition from dependence to independence, for it is during this period of growth that language will become an important tool in self-discovery.

According to the Web Site The Learning Network, slang is a vernacular vocabulary not generally acceptable in formal usage. It often conveys a cutting, sometimes offensive, no-nonsense attitude and lends itself to poking fun at pretentiousness. Just about every culture and sub-culture set has it’s own version of a local vernacular, most of it derived from commonly used words, and sometimes developing into standard speech. According to Judi Sanders, creator of the College Slang Page, the noun form of slang refers to nonstandard terms or the nonstandard usage of standard terms. It is a kind of informal language that generally follows the grammatical patterns of the language from which it stems, but reflects an alternate lexicon with undertones of familiarity. Slang develops in all parts of speech, including verbs, adjectives and complete reference phrases, which give the speaker a broader range of vocabulary to share thoughts, ideas and experiences. It intertwines with standard speech giving it local and personal flavor. The process of “slanging” involves the creation and use of jargon, and may entail both nonverbal and verbal cues. For example, the inflection and tone with which a word or phrase is spoken can transport it from Standard English into the realm of slang.

As in any language, slang reflects the experiences, beliefs and values of its speakers (Sanders). It rallies people around common attitudes and creates a sense of community for all those drawn in. It is not a dialect all it’s own though; slang is an enhancement of language in the native tongue. It adds color, style, and texture, and turns up the volume to ten on the...

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Uploaded by:   jdewitt70

Date:   12/21/2001

Category:   Miscellaneous

Length:   10 pages (2,144 words)

Views:   2532

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