A Mythunderstanding of Slang

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by gendanken, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. Nasor Valued Senior Member

    "Proper" English used to have a much more complicated grammar. When the Normans conquered England in 1066, French became the language of the educated upper class and English became the "peasant language." The once-noble English language was horribly simplified by all the illiterate peasants, who butchered the language by getting rid of all sorts of verb tenses, changing grammatical rules, etc. in exactly the same way that African Americans are doing when they hurt gendanken by saying "He be lyin', ain't it?" Eventually French stopped being trendy, but by then "proper" Middle English was gone forever, and only our modern, slangy, grammatically-corrupt version remained.
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    Yes, but the Queen's English (RP) of today is not the RP of 50 years ago...even that evolves and changes.

    The truth is that accents, dialects and languages evolve in the same way that species do, and English English did not stop evolving in its homeland when America was discovered. It's wrong to say that any dialect of English is "more pure" than any other just as it is would be wong to say that man is "more evolved" than a chimpanzee. In each case, both the species and the languages evolved over the same length of time, just in different oplaces and under different conditions.

    I recall watching a series of televised master classes on acting in Shakespeare's works, taught by John Barton with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Barton indicated ithat in many ways general American English is closer to Shakespeare's English than anything still surviving in Britain.

    I know that some say that languages which leave their area of origin change less than those that stay put (which may be why England has so many accents, given its small size, relative to far larger but more homogeneous America)
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    My grandparents sailed over from Bohemia in the 1880s. (We call them "Czech" now instead of "Bohemian," I guess because it's so much easier to spell and pronounce.) There was a huge Czech community in Illinois and the Midwest. They had newspapers and eventually they even started making films.

    In the 1950s they managed to smuggle a few of the American Czech language films into Czechoslovakia, which in those days was behind the Iron Curtain. The people in the old country said the Czech-Americans spoke like they had stepped out of a time machine from the Middle Ages. They had a lot of trouble understanding their "archaic" dialect, and eventually the films were dubbed into "modern" Czech.

    My aunt went over there as a tourist in the 1960s, and she had the same problem.
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. superstring01 Moderator

    In the 1.5 years that I was in Spain I missed a lot of vernacular shifting.

    By the time I returned, I found my friends and family had adopted a whole slew of new terms that--were it not for my otherwise significant command of the language--would have left me nonplussed.

  8. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    That's fascinating. I wonder what the mechanism is that causes immigrants to slow the pace of that sort of change. I suppose I can think of two plausible mechanisms. (First, a desire to hold on to a past culture may make people less accespting of changes. Second, the smaller population of speakers in the new location may make it less likely that new "mutations" are introduced into speech, and thus fewer have a chance to catch on.)

    It's something I need to look up, though, as I'm sure it's been studied.
  9. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    Purchasing a frame for your death certificate.

    Fraggle Rocker:
    I'll up you one: who's going to make the obvious joke about the old man who can't walk because he thought his cane was for wagging?

    I doubt that, had we not butted heads in this thread and had I not pointed out an obvious stupidity you regurgitated on the Hopi language, that you'd even be here with that condescending tone you're trying to use on my person.

    Here you are being a total S.O.B. about S.O.V:
    ....completely misunderstanding what I'm saying here.

    You're so busy primping and fussing over the colorful ribbons the human brain ties around language, that you can't even tell its a box with something far more interesting inside.

    I most certainly am not saying that all languages are grammatically identical as that is clearly idiotic: You'd have to read an entire sentence in German to find the verb dangling on the end like an afterthought, or you could smash dozens of nouns together, as in Sanskrit, to indicate number as opposed to the typical suffix of 's' we use in English to pluralize nouns.

    Here's an insane one in German: "Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz "

    And no, that's not a tapeworm, its the German word for, of all things:
    "Beef labeling regulation and delegation of supervision law"

    (And don't ask me to spellcheck that, I'm transcribing notes here.)

    Or you could, if I recall correctly, suffer the rote memorization of about 150 noun endings in Lithuanian just to decline a regular noun even though that poor language has less noun cases than most.

    Pardon the babble, but the subject of language has this tendency of flaring some diode I've no idea how to control.


    You can also, by the mere sound of air pulsing through the lungs, communicate a desire to fuck the very entrails out of someone when all you really wanted was to comment on his grass in Chinese using the low dipping tone for "Cao"

    So read the entire thread, Mr. Fraggle, and put the fucking cane down: I'm stating that the thing inside this little box we call language, all wrapped up with the suffocating flourish of grammar and people like you wagging their fingers and walking canes, is identical in function no matter what culture is speaking it.

    Hence, the comparative metaphor of a stomach digesting food.

    That there isn't a single existence of humanity anytime or anywhere that did not codify a means of expressing complex thought;

    That all languages, from the lowliest pidgin to the loftiest European dialect, articulate a means to describe invisible entities, abstract ideas, and are obsessively compelled to describe who is doing what to whom and where;

    That all languages resemble each other in that compulsion to organize movement and time;

    And that there isn't a single language historically or presently that fails in complexity or structure to another one the way the same speaker's tools or innovations fail to those of more advanced cultures-- in other words, that there is no "Stone Age" languages the way there are "Stone Age" tools;

    That there is none of the above, then this tells me there is something happening in the human brain that is identical no matter what nation, class, caste, or age the person belongs to.

    This is Pinker quoting Edward Sapir, and I think it says it quite beautifully:

    "When it comes to linguistic form, Plato walks with the Macedonian swineherd, Confucius with the headhunting savage of Assam." -- The language Instinct, p. 27

    Is that so.

    Wasn't it you going around correcting people's posts around here?

    Does it now?

    I'm not going to pretend we don't cringe at the sound of 'bad English" and, like Professor Higgins, are conditioned to believe what dregs of society are associated with it.

    Not to mention the look on your face in the presence of stupidity slopping its way through a language expressing everything you don't believe in.

    So don't give me cant about setting myself "outside the universe of discourse on this board", darling.

    Human arrogance is an equal opportunity employer-- and this includes you.

    Ah, you mean like in here:

    "African American Vernacular English (AAVE)—also called African American English; less precisely Black English, Black Vernacular, Black English Vernacular (BEV), or Black Vernacular English (BVE)"

    Or is this another case of you wagging?


    You most certainly cannot.

    What you can, however, argue is that this was just a case of you wanting to drive your new "Shelta" Porsche around in my thread, as this 'Shelta' word is a novelty you've recently acquired in some other thread and like all new, useless things you feel a need to use them becuase, well, its new.

    Your new 'Shelta' schtick reminds me of NASA trying to find useless 'new' ways of using the International Space Station they paid so much money for.

    We picture a monkey named Mona with a Vaseline filled suppository pinched in her rectum a decade from now because NASA has just decided we need to 'study' the effects of grease on the simian colon in zero gravity.


    Robert Williams, a black psychology professor from Washington university was a government employee? Well, lets see:

    Who is a 'government employee?'

    They're all primitive in the sense that they lack the nationalism we call 'standard".

    I love the way linguist Max Wenrich put it-- language is a dialect with a navy and an army.

    And how exactly does this differ from what I said?

    We don't say an English or a Russian.

    And how exactly is this different from what Gendanken said:
    "Creole, like pidgin, is a classification, not a language. "
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
  10. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

  11. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    What the hell is L7?

    Some kind of leet speak?
  12. keith1 Guest

    A successful warrior slang (on the battle field) would communicate the message more rapidly, thereby the edge.
  13. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    Its called 'reconnaissance'.

    What's that to do with Nitzchesomethingorother's "L7"?
  14. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

    You didn't get it? I guess I'll go with plain English then. For my own good.
  15. keith1 Guest

    L7 is foxhole lingo for "the next one to take friendly"
    They gotta dig and get dug.
    L7 is squaresville, man.
  16. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    I don't think so.

    The little brat, on his own, has an instinct to suckle and eat.
    You only teach him to refine or focus it.

    You teach him an organization of language, not language.

    Take the forums.
    The server or database of this place contains millions-- if not billions-- of sentences no two of which are exactly alike.

    Your child will grow up to utter and write millions of sentences unlike any that you-- or anyone else-- have every taught him to recite.

    This means that language isn't just a series of learned responses, but a manifestation of something inherently in the brain able to generate an unlimited number of phrases and constructions from a limited resource: words.

    In other words, the babbling of children is inherent and a precursor to language-- if lanuage was merely something memorized, as you, my dear, contend, then the flow of gorgeous verbosity pouring out of my fingers would be a stacatto of a computer consulting its register for grammatical rules or syntactical order, resulting in the terse, choppy sludge of communicating through hard logic we find in robots and programs.

    It isn't-- its as warm as chinchilla fur, bright as foliage, and as flexible as water pouring out of a conch.

    Also, children, all on their own, create their own grammars. We have children to thank for our creoles.

    Your boy is 15 and you supply him with condoms?
    My girlhood was a bastard theology of cant and old wives tales requiring you rub everything with garlic or stick a tomato up its anus.

    All kinds of reasons and mythos just to avoid simply explaining in plain terms what sex actually is-- the irony of language.

    Are you the same with your girls?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but to paraphrase the above, your son is saying the 'l' in miraculous is a catalyst, right?

    Kind of like the 'l' in "world": a string of words is an adventure-- a reading of Zola is a romp through turn-of-the-century France, or a Dicken's novel through England, thereby creating, through literature, this wonderful alchemy of worlds from words.

    All with the flick of a single letter, our humble 12th letter in the English alphabet, the "L"

    If I am to speak on moral terms, and use its language, then there is nothing more evil, more treacherous and vile, than trying to maim someone's mind.

    Any idiot can chop a head off with a machete, but it takes another mind to destroy another mind or, what's worse, one's own.

    It requires a controlled dosage of poison with all its subterfuge of moral distractions to dismantle, and thereby control, a human mind over time-- but the quickest way to do this is by suffocating the creative impulse and choking that human legacy so threatening to social order and organizational control: curiosity

    So, please, do not ever try "correcting" someone's creativity-- you'll only destroy it.

    It's called 'pejoration' and there's a thread on just this that I participated in that some moron had the gall of dumping into the cesspool.

    Its how the Middle English joy of 'gay' has become the anal thrust of Modern English"gay"

    Slang, I've also found, is much simpler and serves four basic functions:

    We use it to deliberately slur the dignity of formal speech:
    A poet's yearning for "beauteous orbs" becomes a simple desire for 'tits'

    We use it communicate a familiarity with esoterica or 'secret' knowledge of something:
    A Leet geek would call my spanking Fraggle an 'epic pwnage'

    We us it for taboos-- we are not allowed to call our moderators "pompous assholes" or "hypocritical, undereducated pedantic little cocksuckers" so we'll use terms like "authoritarian" and "unfair"

    And we use slang to replace "conventional synonyms", a reason which leaves me perplexed.


    This is why the best writers are those best at something called 'tightening".

    Flaubert was known for this-- he'd spend hours agonizing over the wording of his prose, the effects of which is an almost seamless flow of information snaking its way into one's mind, creating, with a flick of its tail, that sharp 'snap' of a new thought clicking in place as you read.

    This is much unlike reading the long, laborious monotone of someone like Kant where too much thought is placed on what's being said but not how.
    The best writing reveres both.

    This was awesome:
    Read it thrice.

    But still can't get this:
    Darngarl friggin sofdonaznair
    dunby sgaredovva nuvver fung ban

    Translate, please.

    (OR DIE)
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
  17. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Hence the idea of Generative Grammar - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky#Generative_grammar .

    But not translatable ...
  18. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    Chomsky is easier to read by proxy-- I do it through Steven Pinker, a man who's not only able to read Chomsky but works with him as well.

    And yes, Generative Grammar, or 'language instinct', is the thrust of this thread.
    Unbeknownst to our, ahem, language moderator Fraggle Rocking Chair.

  19. M00se1989 Banned Banned

    Ale-mania beer land. mania and psych- go hand in hand in etymology.

    crazy may not be the best word for any circumstance.

    the point of the process is make sense only to those who can keep up with the references used and follow the creative thought patterns. ie... know the references or can insinuate the meaning.

    ya can get it if ya wants it on the skreet that verde ain't goin nowhere.

    are we putting this into actual practice more these days?
  20. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Many plays of words cannot be equally translated from one language to another.
    Something that may seem almost like an ontological declaration in one language (such as "worlds from words, through l, like love") becomes rather pointless in another ("Welten von Worten, durch l, wie Liebe").

    A good example are Rimbaud's Vowels and what happens to the poem in translation:


    A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu : voyelles,
    Je dirai quelque jour vos naissances latentes :
    A, noir corset velu des mouches éclatantes
    Qui bombinent autour des puanteurs cruelles,

    Golfes d'ombre ; E, candeur des vapeurs et des tentes,
    Lances des glaciers fiers, rois blancs, frissons d'ombelles ;
    I, pourpres, sang craché, rire des lèvres belles
    Dans la colère ou les ivresses pénitentes ;

    U, cycles, vibrements divins des mers virides,
    Paix des pâtis semés d'animaux, paix des rides
    Que l'alchimie imprime aux grands fronts studieux ;

    O, suprême Clairon plein des strideurs étranges,
    Silence traversés des Mondes et des Anges :
    - O l'Oméga, rayon violet de Ses Yeux ! -


    A black, E white, I red, U green, O blue:
    vowels, I shall tell, one day, of your mysterious origins:

    A, black velvety jacket brilliant flies which buzz around cruel smells, gulfs of shadows;

    E, whiteness of vapours and of tents, lances of proud glaciers, white kings, shivers of cow-parsley;

    I, purples, spat blood, smile of beautiful lips in anger or in the raptures of penitence;

    U, waves, divine shudderings of viridian seas, the peace of pastures dotted with animals,
    the peace of the furrows whch alchemy prints on broad studious foreheads;

    O, sublime Trumpet full of strange piercing sounds, silences crossed by Angels and by Worlds -

    O the Omega! The violet ray of Her Eyes! ----------
    The star has wept rose-colour in the heart of your ears,
    the infinite rolled white from your nape to the small of your back;
    the sea has broken russet at your vermilion nipples,
    and Man bled black at your royal side.

  21. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    Oral slop?

    Lingual sloth?
    Its as timeless as the scholarly disdain for its......diarrhea.
  22. M00se1989 Banned Banned

    many people communicate with a use of slang. and most of them know it takes both words and hand gestures such as the middle finger to get a point across or rep the blood sign.

    its more of an inside joke thing than a land of "multiple entendre" as the sophisticated would say.
  23. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    Small aside to Riply:
    You don't live in the States, then?

    In what country are you being asphyxiated by its first language? You mention English being its second.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2010

Share This Page