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UNIVERSITY OF MOSTAR

FACULTY OF ARTS AND HUMANITIES


ENGLISH DEPARTMENT

Ljubica Boba
Katarina Marelja
Boana Suilovi

SLANG
SEMINAR PAPER

Mentor: Marijana Sivri

Mostar, January 7, 2015

INTRODUCTION
Although animals also communicate, only people have mental and physical abilities which
allow them to use language as means of communication and transferring complex concepts
and knowledge all of what civilization is made of. The development of language lasts for
thousands of years and it changes in order to express the needs of its users. A proof of that can
be found in every language. New words constantly enter the vocabulary and grammar is
changed too. English language is the leading language of international communication. People
exchange ideas through language. Sociolinguistics is an important part of linguistics because
it is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including
cultural norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used, and the effects of
language use on society. Slang denotes the speech of particular group of people of different
occupations which only they understand. In its earliest attested use (1756) the
word slang referred to the vocabulary of "low or disreputable" people. It uses ordinary and
entirely understandable words but it gives them allegorical meanings. It is very informal and
more common in speech than in writing. Speakers who use slang must be familiar with the
meaning of that word they are using. Slang becomes accepted into the standard lexicon over
time but it does not have to be used.

EXAMPLES OF SLANG (regarding to a person)


1. A lazy person
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Couch potato: someone who spends an extended period of time on a couch while
watching television

2. A nerd
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Bookworm: smart person

Dweeb: a person who is bookish, antisocial

3. Afraid
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Chicken: a coward (He is a coward because he cant talk to her.)

4. Angry
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Pissed

5. Boring
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A drag (She is a drag!)

6. Important person
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Big dog: someone who is best at something, the man

7. Crazy
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Wacked: a person of questionable mental health

8. Dramatic
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Emo: overy emotional

9. Homosexual person
-

Faggot: extremely offensive term

10. Old person


-

Cougar: a middle-aged woman who seeks out much younger men for romance or
physical intimacy

MILF: an attractive older woman


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EXAMPLES OF SLANG (regarding to greetings)

1. Yo used as a prefix to a greeting


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E.g. Yo, where are you?

2. Yello interjection
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The same as hello

3. Holla interjection, a greeting


4. Toodles goodbye
-

E.g. Toodles, see you tomorrow!

5. BRB acronym for be right back


-

Used in instant messaging usually when a person is currently busy and has to do
some errands

6. Cheerio - goodbye
7. Whats up? A greeting which also implies the question How are you?
-

A person asks this when how he wants to know more about somebody (e.g. how
was his weekend, etc.)

8. Whats cracking?
-

Synonymous with greetings such as whats going on?

9. Whats poppin?
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Synonymous with greetings such as whats going on?, what is happening at this
moment

10.
-

TTYL acronym for talk to you later


Used in instant messaging

EXAMPLES OF SLANG (regarding to black people)


1. Gangsta
-

Gangster

2. Bling
-

Flashy jewelry

3. Hood
-

refers to a neighborhood but people usually think of a poor area

4. Benjamins
-

$100 dollar bills

5. Crib
-

Home

6. Playa
-

someone who dates many people at the same time

7. Ghetto
-

a place that is not highly cultured, anything that is not pop culture

8. Folks
-

people or acquaintances

9. Badonkadonk
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a term used to describe buttocks of exceptional quality and bounce

10. Wanksta
-

one who acts tough and hard and exhibits gangsta words, yet never partakes in the

actions of a gangsta

EXAMPLES OF OFFENSIVE SLANG


1. Bastard
-

An unpleasant, despicable person

2. Bimbo
-

A pretty, but empty-headed young lady

3. Dope
-

A stupid person, a fool

4. Klutz
-

A clumsy or foolish person

5. Pig
-

An unattractive and unpleasant person

6. Psycho
-

An insane person

7. Scum
-

A worthless or very disliked person

8. Wanker
-

An arrogant or pretentious person

9. Wimp
-

A weak, unassertive person

10. Zero
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A worthless person, someone who has done nothing worthwhile in life

THE HISTORY OF SLANG


Slang can be described as informal, nonstandard words or phrases. Slang, in its various forms
is a worldwide language, but of course, each slang is based on a specific language. It has no
societal boundaries or limitations as it can exist in all cultures and classes of society as well as
in all languages. In order for an expression to become a slang, it must be widely accepted and
adopted by members of the group. Slang was the main reason for the development of
prescriptive language in an attempt to slow down the rate of change, in both, spoken and
written language. During the Middle Ages, certain writters such as Chaucer and Caxton
represented the regional differences in pronunciations and dialects. The different dialects and
pronunciations represented the first meaning for the term slang. However, our today's
meaning for slang formed in 16th or 17th century. The English Criminal Cant developed in
16th century. It was a new kind of speech used by criminals and cheats, meaning it developed
mostly in gambling houses. The English Criminal Cant developed slowly. In fact, only about
ten thousand people spoke the English Criminal Cant, out of four million of them. By the end
of 16th century this new style of speaking was considered to be a language. During one part
of the 18th century slang was considered to be taboo. However, slang was presented in
popular plays. The first appearance of the slang was in a play by Richard Brome and it
appeared later in poems and songs by Copland. By the 1700's the cultural differences in
America began to influence the English-speaking population, and slang began to expand.
Furthermore, certain events happened int he 18th century that helped the development of
slang such as: The Civil War, Westward expansion and abolitionist movement. One of the
best ways to learn the meaning and origin of slang words is to go through some examples:
1. Bad has been used to mean good since 1897
2. Dude which means a guy, first appeared in the 1870s

Each decade had a slang words appear during that time. Here are some examples and
expressions from each recent decade:
1. From the 1950s: - boo boo: mistake;
- cool: alright or slow, romantic music;
- garbage: nonsense;
- hot: sexy or attractive;
- neck: hug or kiss.

2. From the 1960s: - bread: money;


- far out: amazing;
- hassle: annoy;
- spacey: odd, eccentric;
-vibes: feelings.

3. From the 1970s: - bogus: unfair;


- gross: disgusting;
- horn: telephone;
- no brainer: easy problem;
- zip: nothing.

4. From the 1980s: - crib: house;

- go postal: go crazy;
- melt down: total collapse;
- wannabe: someone who wants to be something;
- wicked: excellent or very cool.
5. From the 1990s: - bling: glitter;
- hood: juvenile delinquent;
- loot: money;
- po po: police;
- senior moment: memory loss.

6. From the 2000s: - buzz: shave your head;


- cougar: older woman dating younger man;
- holla: call on the phone;
- peep: person;
- tat: tattoo.

USE AND PURPOSE OF SLANG


Slang is used for many purposes, but generally it is used to express a certain personal
attitude. Considering that the slang has many kinds of purposes, some of them are African

American slang, Australian slang, gay slang and hip-hop slang. There are many reasons why
people use slang words and expressions, for example:
-

It can be used just for fun, or as a way to be witty and clever.

Many use it as a way to be friendly.

To be different.

To enrich the language.

To ease social intercourse.

To be secretive (children, students, lovers, etc.)

To show that one belongs to a certain school or profession.

It associates someone with a certain group, whether large or small.

It is a social way of identifying with ones generation or local dialect.

It can also be used to exclude people who do not know the slang and keep them
from understanding.

INTERNET SLANG
Internet slang has been developed by Internet users over the years. Internet slang is informal
jargon developed (developing) with the aim of speeding up and simplifying textual
communication among Internet users. Many expressions of this jargon are structured so that
users save time when writting a message, and are based on the English-speaking world, for
example:
-

IMHO: In my humble opinion

AFK: Away from keyboard

BTW: By the way

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NOYB: None of your business

M8: Mate

W8: Wait

AFAIK: As far as I know

ASAP: As soon as possible

ROFL: Rolling on the floor laughing

DND: Do not disturb

BLACK SLANG
Black slang is a form of informal spoken language which is considered as a part of African
American Vernacular English. This type of slang is especially used by African American
teenagers and adults. But, today many words find their place in our language because they
have been very popular in music and media.

Examples of black slang:


1. Gangsta- gangster
2.Bling- flashy jewelery,wearing a lot of bold pieces
3.Hang-a shortened form of the phrase hang out
4.Threads-clothing
5.Aight-short for All right
6.Holla- to get in touch with someone

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7.Crib-home
8.Playa-someone who dates many people at the same time
9.Roll up- snow up somewhere
10.Hood- people sometimes use this to refer to a neighborhood, but they usually are refering
to a rather poor area

BRITISH SLANG
This type of slang is especially used in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, South
Africa, the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The language of slang is being
changed all the time because new phrases and new words are added every day. In the United
Kingdom some nations have their own slang words,as for example London. In London the
best known slang is the rhyming slang.

Examples of British slang:


1.Arse around- mess around or waste time
2.Bang to rights- caught in the act
3.Berk- idiot,stupid person
4.Blah- worthless,boring or silly talk
5.Bouncer- someone employed to eject troublemakers or drunks
6. Flog a dead horse- to continue talking about a long forgotten topic

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7.Hooky or hookey- something that is stolen


8.Pillock stupid or annoying person
9.Snog- french kiss,or any prolonged physical intimacy without undressing or sexual contact
10.Wind up to tease,irritate,annoy

CHAT SLANG
This type of slang has been developed by Internet users, especially by teenagers and young
people. Sometimes using this type of slang it can be easier to communicate,but only for
younger generations, while the older people do not know read these words and they do not use
them.
Examples of chat slang:
1.2dA- today
2.3sum- threesome
3.4- for,four
4.4ever- forever
5. afap- as far as possible
6.and- any day now
7.b- be,bee
8.bc- because
9.bf-boyfriend
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10.gud-good
11.cos,coz- because
TEENAGER SLANG
Teenagers always wanted to have their own language and they wanted to show how they
belong some different world. They wanted to develop their confidence and own speech,which
the adults do not understand.
Examples of teenager slang:
1.YOLO-you only live once
2.TTYL- talk to you later
3.LOL-laugh out loud
4.ROFL- roll on floor laughing
5.IRL-in real life
6.Awks- embarrassing
7.Jokes- funny

As we can see, slang is being developed all the time because new phrases and new words are
added constantly.Slang is very popular with younger generations,while the older people do
not know their meaning. The educated people know the meaning of the slang,but they also
know where they can,and where they can not use slang. On one side slang is seen as a kind of
abomination in language, being considered vulgar and provocative. On the other hand slang
may be observed from a positive point of view,considering its originality and creativity.
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