Slang

Slang deviates from standard language. While it tends to be particularly popular among young people, it is used in every sector of the society. It does not essentially involve neologisms, but it usually involves the creative adaptation of old linguistic forms or the creation of new ones. Slang can even involve creating a secret language that is understood only by members of a particular group.

Slang words are often used as a way of encryption, so “outsiders’ cannot understand what is being talked about. It is a means to recognize members of a group and to distinguish this group from the society at large. Moreover, slang is often used and created for humorous and other expressive effects.

Functions

People use slang to dodge social taboos. In general, mainstream language avoids to explicitly evoke certain realities. Similar to other informal languages, slang allows you to talk about these realities. So it is not surprising that slang vocabularies are rich in domains like violence, sexuality, drugs, and violence.

There are many varieties of slang as different social groups from different milieus have created their own slang vocabulary. The importance of identity and encryption varies significantly between these instances. For his informal language to maintain its function as a way of encryption, it should renew its process of expression continuously, so that the “others” will not understand it. Of course, slang dictionaries cancel the effectiveness of some words. Many slang terms are passed into informal mainstream speech.

Examples

The thieves’ cant is a historical example of slang. They were generally used by the underworld and the beggars in the past centuries. Several cant dictionaries have been published, many are based on Thomas Harman’s dictionary.

Cockney rhyming slang is another famous example that is still in use. Here’s how it goes: A certain word or phrase replaces the word or phrase that rhymes with the original. The rhyming replacement is often abbreviated, obscuring the expressions even more. For example, apples and pears for stairs and bottle and glass for arse.

Polari is a fascinating example of slang that is derived from various sources, such as Italian and Cockney. It was widely used by the British gay subculture and in fish markets in London in the 1950s and 1960s. Polari became more well-known when Julian and Sandy, two camp radio characters, began using the slang.

Words are also reversed in backslang, or backwards slang. French backslang seems to reverse words syllables by syllables, whereas English backward slang seems to reverse words letter by letter. Louchebem is a French slang used by butchers.

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