16 (1).doc - Slang A non Standard Variety of English Lector...

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Slang- A non Standard Variety of English Lector univ. dr. Rodica PIOARIU Universitatea “1 Decembrie 1918” Alba Iulia The paper deals with the issue of slang as a non-standard variety of English trying to find an adequate definition for what it is in contemporary English. We focused on its usage, the contribution made by Cockney, Black and Australian speakers to its progress as well as on the most recent developments in jargon and taboo language. The term of slang is very hard to define. It contains very informal words and expressions that are more common in spoken language and are not suitable for formal situations. Slang is sometimes restricted to one particular group of people, for instance soldiers, children, teenagers. One can speak of “army slang”, “prison slang”, “teenage” or “theatre slang”. Certain dictionaries describe it as “one of those things that everybody can recognize but nobody can define. However some attempts to define slang were successful ranging from “illegitimate colloquial speech” or “a familiar language defying conventions” (Carl Sandburg), to slang as a “language on trial” or “ the plain man’s poetry”. Slang is in fact a language style or register, a way of speaking that consists of word and phrases – restricted in their use to a particular social group – that may replace the terms used in formal, standard language by other terms with a strong emotional impact. It’s a way of expressing an attitude of defiance with respect to conventions or the moral authority of the community and it depends upon the speaker’s belonging to a certain group, be it social, racial or professional. Slang covers a wide range of domains of life and activity such as: a) the underground world of crime, prostitution, sexuality or drugs addiction; b) the students’ world, the computer’s; c) the sports’ universe; d) the army; e) mass-media, cinema etc. It is generally short-lived and it’s an expression of the group’s intimacy and the solidarity of its members. That’s why it is not usually understood by people outside that particular group. Slang is characterized by imagination, wit and picturesque having an obvious intimate, familiar character. As a strongly subjective, metaphorical language slang varies from biting irony or witty remarks to curses or oaths, obscenities or even gross, vulgar terms completely incompatible with standard language. Lots of slang terms were derived from standard, formal language but they acquired new metaphorical meaning due to its imaginative, flexible character. The sources of its vocabulary include: - comparison with other words; - changing the order of syllables or sounds within a word; - abbreviations, play upon words (also called pun) based on allusions comparison or polysemy - the ironical interpretation of certain words.
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