slang

Micmanz Lanugage Improvement series

Does the number 1661 mean anything to you?  In American slang it refers to woman said to look 16 years old from the back and 61 years old from the front! In other words,an older woman, who dresses in fashions meant for youngsters.

What is slang? It is an informal,non-standard, variety of speech, characterized by newly coined and rapidly changing words and phrases. You can use slang only with people whom you know well. Slang expressions are usually not written and not used in formal kind of communication.

According to Micheal Swan, slang expressions come in handy when we want to express strong feelings relating to sex,famil, emotional-relationships,drink,drugs, conflict between social groups,work,physical and mental-illness and death.

For example:

I spent the weekend at my gran’s. (grandfather’s)

I’ve some sort of bug. (illness)

Shut your gob! (mouth)

Slang varies from country to country. In Australia and New Zealand, slang for girlfriend is Sheila . In South Africa, slang for traffic light is robot. In the West Indies you refer to your girlfriend as goose or cherry.

However remember that it is usually a mistake for outsiders(foreigners) to try deliberately to use slang. This can give the impression that they are claiming membership of a group they don’t belong to.

The history of slang is quite fascinating. Some words,which were once respectable, have been reduced to the level of slang. The modern English word shove was in regular use in the old English period. In the  Middle English period, it was replaced by push, derived from the French pousser considered to be more genteel and respectable. On the other hand, during the eighteenth century, the word kidnap was a slang term. Its application was restricted to the practice which the word literally suggests: “kid nabbing” or child stealing, then a very lucrative trade. Now it has become a respectable trade with a slight change of meaning. You can kidnap adults too!

Sms has given rise to a new kind of  slang. You could use these next time you send an sms to a teenager:

xoxoxoxo Hugs and Kisses

KIT Keep in touch

TIC Tongue in cheek

IDK I dont know

AB Ah! Bless!

ABT All the best


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