A Mythunderstanding of Slang

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

  1. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    Sure, all of this happens. In the context of the OP, however, we are talking about a language that tends not to come with perks. This is the slang and patterns of those who have been excluded. Though, of course, it can be cool, in many circles to know their slang.

    To put this another way Gedanken is not complaining - in the examples - about business language and slang. Much of which is less artistically put together and also masquerades as formal and even becomes formal language in ways black street/rap slang does not.

    There we have a near dialect filled with slang that actually is part of a culture that actively excludes people, including the shapers of the the language G is complaining about. Knowing their words can help getting a jog and keeping and getting promotions/thriving. And the utterance of single sentence, like the one G quotes in the OP, would be enough to, for all practical purposes, end an applicants job interview.

    It depends on the context for me. Two people can speak Spanish in a Walmart - the original scenario - and I may feel excluded, but I don't consider them rude.

    I have this wish and counterwishes.

    To me the dissertation is more of a hzing ritual. It certainly can demonstrate certain kinds of thinking and the organization of that. But I think it is odd that it is one of the two gauntlets one must run, generally. That and oral interrogations.
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  3. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    There is a major perk - consider getting lost in a city and ending up in a black neighborhood; or someone threatening you with a gun and you not understanding a word of what they say.
    Although such situations may be statistically rare, when they do happen, and they do, knowing the slang can make the difference between living and dying.

    I was thinking of such language variations as well in my earlier comment. The talk of teenager cliques; the talk of intelligentsia; the talk of the upper class.

    I think psychologically, it depends on how insecure the person feels.
    In the extreme end of the spectrum, someone paranoid would of course be very much afraid of anything they don't understand or sounds foreign.

    Obviously, I am interested in the topic from a more psychological perspective.

    A hazing ritual? Ha!

    Why do you find this odd?
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  5. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    I am pretty sure all muggers know how to talk to people who do not know street slang. On this kind of basic day to day level even the poor and uneducated are bilingual.
    Police slang, doctor nurse slang, military slang, politicians slang.....

    Sure. But then in the context of the OP this could also include intellectual speech and slang, rich speak, surfer slang, heavy metal slang and so on. But somehow when slang comes up as a no no it is usually afro-american slang.

    Yes, am I am reacting less in general but to the specific situation raised by the OP - and not others ones that could be raised.

    So we are at slightly cross purposes.

    I do remember teenage years when I was a master of no slang. Sure, I knew a scattering of phrases and slang words, but I often felt unsure about how to use them. In context from others I would generally understand, with exceptions. But I felt outside because I could not be active with confidence. In the US there are so many groups, each with their own jargons and slangs, so the issue comes up in micro-environments all the time.

    A hazing ritual? Ha!

    Why do you find this odd?[/QUOTE]
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Actually most of these speech variants qualify as jargon rather than slang. Jargon is developed for perfectly reasonable purposes, for example:
    • Convenient, concise terminology ("shorthand") for concepts that require a lengthier description in standard speech.
    • More precise terminology than standard speech offers.
    • Terminology for concepts that outsiders never talk about.
    Teenage slang is routinely criticized by adults, especially parents and teachers, for its crudity, disrespect and sexuality.
  8. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    I don't mean jargon, I mean slang. For example police slang...

    and from a forum...(note most of these are just not jargon)

    military slang....


    by surfer slang I do not mean specific words they use dealing with surfing but words like


    Note: the above sites may mix slang and jargon in their dictionaries, but I think each of the subcultures I mentioned has slang.

    Subcultures tend to make up words to cover everyday situations they have in common, and while some may end up being jargon, I guarantee that the US military does not approve of 'Ali Baba' for insurgents, at least not officially.

    • I wasn't being critical of slang, nor jargon for that matter, in fact I have been defending slang in this thread. I think it is generally creative, often ingenious, often funny. And certainly jargon makes sense in practical terms.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  9. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    I missed these....

    Yes. We went through it, so you should to. Sometimes the skills used in a dissertation are useful in the field. But I would say often not. Unless you end up being an academic. And don't mess up your footnotes!
    I think if one can do what is done in one's field then you deserve a degree. If you want to teach history at a university, then, sadly, writing a dissertation is a good test, since you will have to evaluate these - and papers - in the job. Rather circular, but so it is. But otherwise I think it is a limited approach to seeing if someone can do things and understands things. And note how poor many academics are at teaching. Lecture, grade essays should not a teacher make.
  10. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    Not quite sure why we went from Afroamerican slang to teenage slang. In any case, sure people do this in relation to certain portions of both, but much slang is not crude or disrespectful. And it seems to me people of nearly every age use tired cliche non-formal language - asshole, bitch, the various forms of fuck - when they want to be expressive. And really is there anything more offensive then euphemistic slang/jargon that appears in the business world or gossip when one is describing the suffering of others or cutting them down?
  11. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    I realize that.
    But the OP stated "I hate bad grammar. Despise it." To me, this envokes primarily a psychological perspective rather than a linguistic one. So working from those emotions, I have tried to understand why someone would have them, and so I considered other language-related situations where similar emotions could emerge.

    Imagine if Gendanken were to find herself in a group of academics speaking their own language. Would she be able to keep up? Would she feel like she fits in?

    Perhaps contempt for the "lower" variations of language is a kind of compensation for one's own not being able to keep up with the "higher" variations of language.

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  12. Gustav Banned Banned

    or muddling them up all together by falling over backwards for a working class stiff from the east end

    imagine that
    an american
    a culture vulture

    the right royal gendanken

  13. Gustav Banned Banned

  14. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member


    Strike one.
  15. M00se1989 Banned Banned

    ding ding ding ding ding!

    lol so teach them some respect

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    oke:in em in the mind. we have all done stupid things, just let em know the consequences of paying for it. we all learn the consequences at some point in time, and from there our visions get blurred.
  16. M00se1989 Banned Banned

    teach our children the roots of all languages and they will learn more(=

    and so might you(=
  17. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    Then you might as well despise English.

    Language is notorious for weakening once thrown into that abysmal hole that is the human mouth.

    In the thousands of years we've been speaking language-- regardless of race-- letters have either softened or dropped off, leaving new words in the lexicon.

    You don't even know you're doing it right now: say bottle.
    The language calls for the strong sound of the 't', but only a pretentious little pendant with his thumb in your face would ask you for a 'bo-tuh-ul' of 'wa-tuh-er'.

    You, and every other ordinary speaker in your world, say 'boddle' and 'wader'. Hundreds of years from now, the new words will be 'boddle' and 'wader'

    That aside, you might as well despise French.
    You know, the language of enlightenment and romance.

    French is a lazy motherfucker-- take the word "mature".

    In Latin, from which French is derived, the word for mature is "maturus", with a strong "t".
    In Spanish, the 't' has softened into a 'd' sound so that we say 'maduro'.

    In French, with that lump of meat it uses to knock off consonants and vowels from words in its lazy mouth, the word "mature" became "meur".

    Only the French can take the dignity of being mature and make it sound like a stray tabby mewing.

    To wit, you don't even have to spend the handful of calories to move the dangling meat from the back of your mouth out of the way when speaking this bastard tongue-- we, of course, have a respectable term for this gurgling sloth called a "uvular frictative", and it sounds as disgusting as hacking.

    At least Ebonics doesn't sound like we're being spit on.

    Because somewhere in the male brain is a ganglion neurologically connected to the prostate which prohibits a male from squirting a humble "I mispoke" or "my apologies" .

    Government employees did not coin the term; a university professor did years before it was resurrected in 1996.

    I honestly don't understand Fraggle's antagonism toward me in here. Then ..maybe I do?


    Shaw's Professor Higgins, in his play "Pygmalion" known to the lot of you as "My Fair Lady", did not cringe at the nasal mutilations of Elizabeth's cockney accent because he "feared" her-- what threat could a poor flower girl a third of his weight, from all appearances weakened by poverty, possibly pose?

    You're only repeating what you're taught to believe in your 'liberal education" of pretending quality doesn't exist, or that "distinction" or "judgment" are merely reactionary forms of "elitism".


    So that the loathing of bad food or a bad smell is an intellectual aversion or "fearing" a threat to one's established order, right? For that matter, the cringe around cockroaches and vermin.

    Its a form of elitism, according to this philosophy you have of lumping the respect for quality and order with a liberal vocabulary of 'hate' and 'fear'.

    I think its cultural.

    Leet speek, for example, is a form of slang and not despised the way Ebonics is.

    I've a series of audio files I've been rolling in like catnip-- the lecturer is a vibrant, intellectually contagious wordavoure by the name of John McWhorter. I've listened to him for ages, but only recently decided to look him up and finally see what he looks like.

    He's black.

    I was a expecting a wimpy, middle aged Cherub with thinning curls and sunk cheeks, but he's every bit as black as Will Smith.

    Total surprise.
    And why?

    Because you and I both know we hear the slurping of Ebonics in the lowest forms of society, in the lazy jaws of apathy commonly found in minorities.

    If it was a matter of race or anatomical differences, then Mr. McWhorter could never be the enjoyable maven he is.

    The disdain is therefore cultural-- and as common as Americans despising the Irish or Lithuanian migrants at the turn of the century-- and disappears when the cultures homogenize into a respectable hybrid of assimilation and order.

    You can mistaken the modern Irish for a Philadelphian. You could barely distinguish between a Jew and New Yorker as well, since all have blended to become something phonetically American.

    Ebonics, thus far, is an affront to this order and is therefore despised for its "rebellious" insolence associated with its cultural manifestations of sloth..

    In other words, you neither "fear" nor "hate" it-- you merely find its speaker's indolence absolutely vile until it blends in with Standardized English.

    Not so much the language, but its culture.

    Shakespeare, with his 'eater of broken meats', to mean someone giving a blow job, was a form of broken English or slang.

    Now, tune in to Ludracis with his tongue slurping out highly unimaginative strings of 'eat' 'pussy' and 'dick' to say the same thing.

    Then look at his swollen mouth covered in cold; then down to his pants trying dearly to cling on to his buttocks.

    Awesome word.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2010
  18. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    Your vision's only blurred from all the saliva our Ebonicos keep spitting when asking you what color you is.

    What would those be?
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I was responding to a post (yours perhaps?) saying that the most vehement criticism of slang is directed at Afro-American slang. I disagree, I think that the slang of teenagers is now (and has been throughout my lifetime) much more harshly derided.
    Are you sure you're speaking to an American? The conversion of intervocalic T and D to a flap (equivalent to Spanish R) is a phenomenon in American English. In almost all dialects of British English (and AFAIK also in Australian and Indian English), liter/leader, putting/pudding, metal/meddle, etc., are not homonyms. They use the flap for their intervocalic R's. They pronounce "bearing" approximately the way we say "bedding."
    The professor you refer to did not coin it. He was the first to record a word that was in use among Afro-American scholars. The "government employees" (teachers in the public education system) I refer to are the people who institutionalized the word. I have not found any source that claims to have tracked down the originator of the word "ebonics," but it was definitely not Professor Williams.
    It's hardly unique to Linguistics. You piss off all the Moderators. You're just being disingenuous by pretending that you don't realize it.
  20. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    Allow me:


    This is getting stupid.


    No, its common in almost all the Romance languages as well-- French and Spanish, for two.

    Be a good editor and read-- the entirety- of my last post.

    Who, pray, is saying they're homonyms?

    Certainly not someone that knows what they are-- and that's me. Or did you just want to use the word "intervocalic" and "homonym"?

    Sciforums isn't exactly intellectual fodder for those infamous "linguistic wars".

    You're only hopping mad on account of a Hopi, hoping I'd forget our last run in.
  21. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member


    Society does not marginalize a Dune reading D&D nerd on 4chan "doing it for teh lulz!!!one" the way we it does poorly educated African Americans.

    To think society discriminates against Tyler the way it does Tyrone is, quite frankly, ridiculous.
  22. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    Anyway-- this:

    In the thick morass that's become my little thread, is pretty much what I'm getting at.

    That despite the conscious ululations of intellect processing language, something inside my brain, beneath, in the depths of my subconscious, it was able to move the correct verb in the following sentence to make it into a question:

    "There is a gerbil that is chewing on a polyp in the anus"


    "Is there a gerbil that is chewing on a polyp in the anus?"

    I subconsciously moved the second one, despite consciously proclaiming I moved the first one.

    Thread's dead-- unless Invert Nexus, you negligent little pissworm, show up to reply.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2010
  23. M00se1989 Banned Banned

    i mean.... in all reality is there a gerbal that right now is actually in an anus?

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