Slang in colleges


Slang and jargon.


   Off all the skills that human beings possess, language is the most quintessentially human. The practices and institutions that we take for granted, such as law, religion and science, would not be possible without communication of symbolic and abstract meanings that language makes easy. No other animal has anything even approximating human language, and this is no doubt the reason for the complete absence of such institutions even among our closest relatives, the great apes.

   In spite of the fact that we all use language intensively every day and are constantly surrounded by its spoken and written forms, most of us are completely unaware of its true nature and structure. This is because it is so close for us, so much a part of our daily lives, that we use it unconsciously. It is a skill we take for granted like walking and breathing. But this easy, largely unconscious skill is very deceptive, for all human languages are highly complex systems for communication, with greatly elaborated structures and rules. Linguistics is the discipline that takes language as its particular object of study, to uncover its structures and rules and to understand how these are used in human acts of communication.

   Linguistics studies the full range of aspects of human language. It investigates the phonetics, grammar and semantics of individual languages, the 'linguistic universals'. Various linguistic theories have been proposed which attempt to characterize this underlying structure of all languages; these theories are then used as a guide for the description of individual languages and revised accordingly. Languages, which seem on first view to be very different, may turn out, on closer investigation, to share many important deeper similarities in terms of their overall structural patterning.

   Linguistics occupies a privileged position in the field of humanities and sciences in that it touches on many of the central issues that concern a number of disciplines. Because language is concerned with communication between humans, it is relevant for the social sciences like anthropology and sociology, but because it is the central instrument for thinking and other cognitive tasks, it is also important to psychologists. Problems of language also take large part in fields like philosophy and literary criticism. Finally linguistics has many practical applications in fields like language teaching, general education and computer science.

   Perhaps the most important in linguistics is reasoning about language, and its writing and speaking forms. And of course, an understanding of language is useful in many jobs.

   Every language has phrases or expressions that cannot be translated literally. Even if you know the meanings of all the words and understand the grammar completely, the meaning of the phrase may still be confusing. Many proverbs, slang phrases, phrasal verbs and common sayings offer this kind of problem. A phrase or sentence of this type is usually said to be idiomatic or slang.

   Nowadays in mass media and in our speech we come across a lot of new words. Some of them we can understand from the context but other words or phrases need explaining. As we know there are a lot of dictionaries that try to help us with this problem. Slang is widely used by people in every country. So far as I am a representative of youth I can say that the slang is very often used in my social section. Not every dictionary can reflect all the spectrum of slang meanings.  I decided to write my work about modern speech and slang because, as for me, it is very actual nowadays. A lot of people often use these words even if they are not familiar with their meanings. Slang has obscene words, so we have to be careful with meanings of all of them and try to learn and to use them correctly. That is why I decided to learn more about slang and some speech features.

    But sometimes in different English speaking countries the slang differs even if the language is the same. The striking example of this we can find in American and British English. As we know, the United States of America has never had an official language, and the biggest number of immigrants were from Britain and British Islands, that is why English is the most widely spread language in America. But there were also immigrants from other countries, so the languages were mixing. And nowadays as a result we can observe American English as an independent language, which is deeply rooted with English, Latin, and the ethnic language of American Indians.

   Nowadays there are a lot of words, which are pronounced with changes, and new born words. Also there are a lot of differences in Canadian, Australian, New Zealandian English, etc. And of course a lot of various new meanings of the words can be found out in non-English speaking countries and all of them had their influence on American English.

    But let's return to the slang, which has its own history and a lot of institutions that are exploring it.

   Slang is widely used in every branch of human's occupation. It is very popular in schools, universities and in various educational institutions.

   Slang and History of its Appearance.

   Slang, according to the American poet, Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) is 'a language which takes off its coat, spits on its hands - and goes to work'. The Oxford English Dictionary provides a more judicious account: 'language of a highly colloquial type, considered as below the level of educated standard speech, and consisting either of new words or of current words employed in some special sense'. In a related definition, it also describes slang as 'language of low or vulgar type' and 'the special vocabulary or phraseology of a particular calling or profession'. This sums up the paradox of slang very well. People look down on it, but can hardly avoid using it, for everyone has some 'calling or profession', even if the 'call' is only watching football, collect stamps, or go drinking. There is upper-class slang alongside lower-class slang, the slang of doctors and of lawyers, the slang of footballers and philatelists, as well as the slang, which cuts across social class and occupation, available to anyone as the most colloquial variety of language. The word 'most' is important. Let's have a drink is colloquial, but not slang. Let's dip the bill, which means the same thing, belongs to slang.

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