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Jet Streak

Question on slang

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Ok so I'm not sure if this is okay to do this so I'm going to yolo and hope for the best.

So as part of my GCSEs I've got write an eassy on peoples attitude to slang.

If anyone could take some time to note down your thoughts about slang I'd really appreciate it.

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Thoughts about slang? 

I'm OK with slang so long as it is pertinent to the situation, to be used among friends and people you know is one thing, to use it in everyday conversation is another.

I personally find the use of exotic wording more pleasing to express myself with than to use slang words, does this mean I don't use them? Not at all, occasionally and especially among friends I'll find myself using a few, but generally speaking I prefer using the many words of the dictionary of the language I use.

In everyday conversation it feels silly and unnecessary, sometimes even rude to use slang, at least for me, I feel it's more respectful to the person you are speaking to to use a common vocabulary, that normally you both know, than to use words that may or may not be know by the other person.

So in a nutshell:

With ma homies this shizzle is cool beans yo.

With the everyday gentleman a slight form of polite and exquisite expression is greatly appreciated and welcome, as it allows for better and essentially guaranteed mutual understanding.

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I don't mind it.

 

Language is an organic thing and there's no point it getting into a big tizzy over whether or not someone's using stupid words according to the observer's norms. Since according to the norms of the person speaking it, it's totally normal and agreeable. Sure there's people out there who like to be the poser and co-opt the dialect of other groups into their own to seem "cooler" or even more "sophisticated" (as in the case of people who like to try and sound British by using "bloody" in their every-day American because Britlandia=sophistication).

 

This too is fine, if irritating.

 

A thing to keep in mind is that human society even on a national level is homogeneous. Humans of all races cover a wide-degree of socio-economic ranges and geographic ranges that further complicating existing languages. For English: you not only have British (Or the Queen's) English and American English but a wide-array of internal dialects (not only accents) within these two larger dialects of the English language. A lot of the time based on region you'll have words being swapped according to the norms of the area (pop vs soda, tap vs faucet, boot vs trunk, etc.)

 

 

And then even within that you have variations based in part of the complex nature of exchanges between societies and conditions within that group. For instance: Black (or Ghetto) English is a dialect of the English language spoken predominately by the African-American community. Ghetto English contains a complex lexicon that could perhaps allow it to divorce from mainstream American English so much it could be its own language in its own right (if left alone for long enough). Black English is an amalgamation of lingual factors both African and Southern, as well as migrant like Irish. Black English's difference with mainstream English is also often compounded by its economic isolation as the black community has since slavery been isolated at the lower-end of society and while even though there are whites lower on the social ladder than slaves and post-slavery slaves the African-American community has been largely isolated in America north to south (I can go on a long example of White-Black segregation in Detroit that involved into a giant fucking wall that separated the blacks from the whites in portions of the city).

 

With the social and economic isolation of this population from mainstream education standards not a lot of kids get the sort of education and exposure to mainstream American English means a lot of black youths later grow up speaking a form of English that's so different from the mainstream that no one will hire them because they don't speak the "right" English. Now this sort of thing leads to second point of development in that it keeps a group so cut off from the means that we take for granted that they begin to build a language all their own. Ghetto English becomes in their own society the "right" form of English and in some extreme cases you do need educators that can speak it.

 

Now divorcing ourselves from that socio-economic reality and into the heart of the matter: it can work the opposite way. With the rise of Jazz from the black community and the popularity of hip-hop/rap mainstream society has started to co-opt a lot of African American terminology as part of the generational slang we use today. And this is fine to me: Language is organic. And if I wanted to use this seriously as some means of white-knighting a complex issue by claiming a complex problem can be cured with slang then I would even say that "meeting in the middle" like this would fix some very serious issues (which it won't, but would be a step).

 

Obviously to purists slang is the devil's tongue since the only English we should ever speak is the same sort of English Shakespeare wrote in, or the Founding Fathers drafted the Declaration of Independence and Constitution in. Which as nuanced as that is isn't as up-to-date and as in-touch with the modern world now as it was then. So Slang is also the great moderator in keeping things up-to-date with how things are now with the inclusion of new technologies and new ideas constantly refreshing the world view.

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