Slang as a part of spoken English

Defining the notion "slang"; origins, sources and diffusion. Spoken English and Slang. Tracing the origin and sources of slang. Singling out the classification, forms and characteristics of slang; nalyzing the its use. The Cockney language and Polari.

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Polari (also seen as 'Palare') is a gay slang language, which has now almost died out.

Gay slang in Britain dates back to the involvement of the homosexual subculture with the criminal "underworld". The homosexual subculture of the Eighteenth Century mixed with the gypsies, tramps & thieves of popular song to produce a rich cross-fertilization of customs, phrases and traditions. As the Industrial revolution dramatically changed settlement patterns, more and more people drifted away from villages and small communities and moved to larger towns in search of work and opportunity. In these larger urban locations, the scope for the development of communities of outcasts substantially increased. The growth of molly houses (private spaces for men to meet, drink, have sex together and practice communal rituals) encouraged the creation of a molly identity. A linguistic culture developed, feeding into that profession traditionally associated with poofs and whores: theatre.

Polari itself was never clearly defined: an ever-changing collection of slang from various sources including Italian, English (backwards slang, rhyming slang), circus slang, and Yiddish and Gypsy languages. It is impossible to tell which slang words are real Polari. Linguists still argue about where it came from. The larger part of its vocabulary is certainly Italian in origin, but nobody seems to know how the words got into Britain. Some experts say its origins lie in the lingua franca of the shores of the Mediterranean, a pidgin in use in the Middle Ages and afterwards as a medium of communication between sailors and traders from widely different language groups, the core of this language being Italian and Occitan. Quite a number of British sailors learnt the lingua franca. On returning home and retiring from the sea it is supposed that many of them became vagabonds or travelers, because they had no other means of livelihood; this threw them into contact with roving groups of entertainers and fairground people, who picked up some of the pidgin terms and incorporated them into their own canting private vocabularies.

However, other linguists point to the substantial number of native Italians who came to Britain as entertainers in the early part of the nineteenth century, especially the Punch and Judy showmen, organ grinders and peddlers of the 1840s. Much of parlarey, the traveling showmen's language, appears to be derived from the lingua franca or the vocabulary of traveling actors and showmen during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Specifically theatrical Palare included phrases such as joggering omee (street musician), slang a dolly to the edge (to show and work a marionette on a small platform outside the performance booth in order to attract an audience) and climb the slanging-tree (perform onstage). Nanty dinarly (having no money) also had a peculiarly theatrical translation in the phrase "There's no treasury today, the ghost doesn't walk."

The disappearance of large numbers of traveling costermongers and cheapjacks by the early twentieth century effectively denied the language its breathing space. As many of the traveling entertainers moved sideways into traveling circus, so the language moved with them, kept alive as a living and changing language within circus culture. By the mid-twentieth century, there had also been a cross-over to a recognizably gay form of slang, with polari used by the gay community to communicate in code in elaborate forms. Words such as trade and ecaf (backslang for face, shortened to eek) became part of gay subculture. Blagging trade (picking up sexual partners), zhoosing your riah (doing your hair), trolling to a bijou bar (stepping into a gay club) and dishing the dirt (recounting gossip) all became popular coded phrases to describe and encode an emerging homosexual lifestyle. By the 1950's, with secret homosexual clubs emerging in swinging London and the Wolfenden Committee discussing the possibility of law reform around (homo) sexuality, it seems appropriate that polari should raise its irreverent head. Polari became an appropriate tool with which to confuse and confound the naff omees (straight men). It traveled the world via the sea queens, who incorporated navy slang into a new version of the language and also accommodated local dialects and phrases.

Polari, as the language came to be known was a collection of words, which when strung together by those most proficient at it, were incomprehensible to those who didn't understand it. It was mainly used for conversations that were high in gay "content", so if you wanted to point out to your friend that the man on the tube train next to you seemed to be particularly well-developed in the "menswear" department, you could say "vada the bona cartes on the ommee ajax" and your friend would know what you meant. If the man with the big "cartes" was also gay, he'd know what you were talking about too, and Polari would serve as an "introduction" which could lead to "other things".

Because Polari died out in the 1960s when the Wolfenden Report legalized homosexuality (to an extent) in England, the only people who remember it tend to be distinguished older gentlemen Polari has almost vanished from gay circles. Mention it now and you'll more likely than not to get a blank look, especially from anyone under 30. And those who do profess to have heard of it are likely to only know a handful of words.

Finally, there emerges a question, which really seems to be disputable: What is the point of calling the Cockney language Rhyming slang if the rhyming part is practically not used? Or, why there should be a separate language for gays, if they, nowadays, have no need to encode their speaking (with acquiring equal rights), and therefore they do not need this language. This fact makes these languages extinct. Perhaps, these languages will come into an ordinary slang vocabulary some day and lose their original value (as being rhyming or gay slang). But as long as these ;languages have not vanished completely yet, one should be aware of them too in case s/he comes across them, for they are also types of slang, and the knowledge of such slang promotes the development of the linguistic competence too, what again proves the hypothesis suggested.

2. The use of slang units in literature, songs, movies and Internet

Literary works, songs, movies and even Internet can serve as a source of slang: an author, a singer or a speaker while describing something, creates a new word or uses an existing one in some new meaning; and then readers, TV spectators or Internet users begin using this word in their speech. Thus it can become a slang item and then even get a standard status. But users of slang basically use it to create some specific and fresh tone in their description or speaking. The aim of the analysis described below is to present the most typical examples and situations where slang can be revealed and how it can be applied; and to prove that it is very hard to figure out author's intentions and ideas, if one does not know slang.

For this analysis different sources are selected: literary works, songs, movies and Internet.

Among literary works the following ones were analyzed:

1. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger;

2. A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler;

3. Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes;

In The Catcher in the Rye Salinger writes about a teenager Holden Caufield and his relations with his parents and friends. Moreover the story of Holden is told on behalf of Holden himself, which helps a reader to see what language this character uses to reveal his thoughts and act out his feelings. Holden's speech is characterized by a unique colloquial tone achieved by the use of slang and colloquial expressions.

Holden is a very interesting teenager with an unusual way of thinking and outlook. Sometimes it is hard to understand him when he uses normal words, but when he uses some slangy words it causes some greater difficulty to understand his thoughts, although some of these slang expressions have already become standard ones.

It is very noticeable that Holden's speech is full of epithets when he evaluates something or somebody. These epithets sound very slangy. For example: phony - (phony bastard, phony smile, phony girls); lousy- , , (lousy childhood, lousy personality, lousy teeth, lousy movie); crumby or corny- , (crumby old razor, crumby nails, corny shoes, corny jokes).

Get your lousy knees off my chest!, I told him. Go on, get off me, ya crumby bastard.

She kept saying these very corny, boring things, like calling the can the little girls' room.

These evaluative slangy epithets sound rough and rude but nevertheless they help a reader to understand when Holden disapproves of something. Such slang expressions as to shoot the bull, to chew the rag, to chew the fat, to shoot the crap, to shoot the breeze have their Russian slang equivalents and are translated as , . Judging by Russian equivalents these slang expressions can be understood as those meaning to lie but this meaning is hidden in other slang items. For example: to snow somebody (, ), to chuck (, ), to give a lot of horse manure about (, , ). By the way speaking about horses some expressions with this word can be singled out: to horse around is understood as , , in the following sentence:

Sometimes I horse around just to keep from getting bored

But the phrase to horse around with in the sentence: You shouldn't horse around with her at all obviously means , , . This meaning also can be found in such phrase as to hang around and to hang out.

Take it easy! does not mean only Don't worry! but also So long! (! !) when somebody is leaving. Moreover this somebody does not just leave but clears the hell out or beats it, which is understood as , .

Stink or to stink in different contexts have different meanings. For example: to stink something up means , , but to make a big stink means , .

The meaning of thing (as an abstract notion) is presented by the following slang items: job - junk - stuff - crap, where job is the most is the most innocent and crap- the rudest.

For example:

They were these little hard, dry jobs you could hardly even cut

That kind of junk is sort of fascination

That stuff bores me

or I had to sit there and listen to that crap

As it has been already mentioned lousy means something bad and is mostly used in a rude sense, but to be lousy with something means to have a lot of something. For example:

He is lousy with money - , .

Speaking about money this word almost does not emerge in Holden's speech, he mostly says dough (, , , ).

If one hears Holden say: I've never given it to anybody but Ackley sometimes gets some old bag, then he starts giving her a feel and necking her knockers and then he gives her the time, it is very hard to see what he is talking about, but thanks to a knowledge of slang his language is not that complicated. Making a profound study it is evident that to give it or to give the time means to have sexual intercourse, to neck means to kiss, knockers stand for breasts, to give a feel denotes to touch () and at last an old bag means a woman ( . ).

So a bag does not always mean a sack but a sack does not necessarily denote a bag. For example:

Nobody was around anyway. Everybody was in the sack

Here to be in the sack stands for to sleep ().

Since knockers as parts of an old bag's body have ben mentioned, it is necessity to mention a can, which stands for butt or ass. But if a reader gets at such sentence as: It was steamy in the can. Or I walked around the can or I went to the can to wash up, he will probably think that it has something to do with butt. But it is wrong. Can is used here in the sense of bathroom. Thus a reader should bear in mind that there can be slang homonyms.

When Holden speaks about a booze hound, who boozes and gets crocked, he talks about an alcoholic, who drinks a lot and then gets drunk.

Although Holden's language is difficult to perceive, what is typical of teenagers' language, a reader can easily understand him, if he has a good command of slang.

Another literary work A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler has been written in the XXI century. Thus the freshest slang items may be traced here. In comparison with The Catcher in the Rye told on behalf of Holden, a teenager, A Patchwork Planet is narrated on behalf of Barnaby, who is about 30-35 years old. However, despite the age of the main character, slang phrases can be found in his speech.

Many slang examples with hang were figured out in The Catcher in the Rye, here in A Patchwork Planet a reader can find no less ones. For example: to hang around also means here , , . The same meaning is found in the slang expression to goof around.

You'd better do some more serious stuff instead of hanging and goofing around

Hang up is a core component in some slang expressions. For example: to be hung up on somebody or something stands for - -; to hang up on somebody means , - but to hang up on somebody also stands for - for example:

You hung up on me! Why?

Booze, which was once singled out in The Catcher in the Rye also means here alcohol drink (); and to booze, therefore is understood as , . People, who like to booze, tend to pay a visit to somebody, but this sounds very conventionally, they do not visit but drop up to somebody, which is understood as -.

As it is obvious, many slang expressions in A Patchwork Planet reflect relations between people and their attitude to somebody or something. For example, among such slang items expressing relations one can find the following expressions: to hook up with somebody- , -; to stand somebody up - , -; to pick somebody up - -.

Speaking about expressions reflecting people's attitudes one can single out sharp! (Wow! Sharp!), which is understood as Cool! - !, or if one finds a sentence where Barnaby says: That's tough, it is obvious that it stands for .

If one heard Barnaby say: I stashed my money but somebody swiped it, it would be probably clear that to stash means to hide - , , and to swipe stands for , .

Less slang expressions are traced in Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes- about 120-130 units. The main heroine of the work is a twenty-seven-year-old Rachel Walsh. Rachel desperately tries to find a soul mate to lovebut her only drawback is that she is some sort of junkie (drug addict). Here to watch a love story is as possible as to watch a life of a junkie. Rachel's Holiday combines two points:

1) Love is a serious thing and it does not admit such a language as slang, it needs a more elevated and poetical language;

2) The world of drugs is a good sphere for development and use of slang. Thus, here two opposite pints fight, what caused almost a 50/50 outcome.

So it is obvious from the description that Rachel is a junkie, which stands for drug addict (). Moreover drugs in slang can be substituted by hash ().

Anna, who'd never had a real job, sometimes sold hash to make ends meet.

She is not a goody-goody. Just because she's not a, ajunkie who can't get a job and whose husband leaves herunlike some, he finished.

Paul was obviously referring to Claire, who managed to get hitched by her husband on the same day that she gave birth to their first child

In the last example to hitch stands for to abandon (). Maybe for somebody getting hitched is `no big banana or maybe it really pisses one off. Here it is apparent that no big banana means no big problem, while to piss somebody off is a substitute for to get on one's nerves. These two slang phrases can be figured out in the following examples:

I had a toothache, that's all, no big banana.

No. She is a fine, big, tall girl. You know, strong, they said. I was always described as strong. It really pissed me off.

Hey there stands for Hi though it may sound a little impudent. The same meaning is revealed in What's up?. Both should be used when addressing a very close person.

Hey there, girl!

Yo, girlfriend, what's up?

But get lost should not be mistaken here for go away. In the following example it is obvious that it means you are kidding ( , ).

Thus summing everything up it would be correct to state that a knowledge of slang considerably simplifies comprehension of such literary works and gives a reader great opportunities to assess a style of an author and to understand an idea of a work.

It is necessary to mention that such works contain many slang units and a reader has a good chance to get acquainted with them and the use them in his/her speech thus filling a gap between him/her and native speakers.

english slang cockney polari

2.1 Songs

Even though slang is a speech phenomenon and is used mostly in Spoken English, and even though it found its place in literary works (mostly in dialogues), it does not necessarily mean that slang cannot be found in songs. Songs are also a good means in spreading of slang. Thus when hearing a song containing slang units, an English learner can include them in his/her active vocabulary and then recognize them when watching a movie or talking to somebody; or use them when producing his/her own speaking. This brings to the conversation some informal and relaxing spirit; it pushes off traditional and limited character of a common talk.

Of course most songs are about love and mostly a romantic and elevated language full of serious things is used here, and it seems that there is no place for slang in them. But slang is a fast-running thing trying to find any way to come into notice.

Mostly producers of songs apply slang in their works to also establish an easy atmosphere. Sometimes slang words are used in songs because they perfectly fit into a verse line without destroying or altering the meaning of the whole, thereby remaining a rhythmic tempo and rhyming tone. In other cases slang is used because it accurately reveals ideas of a song and because no other words can express these ideas. Sometimes slang is applied in songs in imitating something like a conversation, i.e. when a duo-song is performed or when a solo-singer reveals the ideas in such a way that reminds of talking to someone.

Of course context or the plot of songs must be of major importance. Most songs, as it has already been mentioned, are about love, but it does not always mean that they cannot contain slang words. The question is what love is the subject of a song. Mostly it is unshared love. And when being frustrated a hero, on whose behalf a song is sung, cannot find suitable words to blame himself or damn everything that put him in this state. Speaking about emotions, it is mostly some negative spirit which is found in the cases of slang in songs, i.e. it is mostly applied when a negative attitude toward something is expressed. It can be again unshared love, it can be jealousy it can be envy, it can be anything that is difficult to express by means of simple words. In many songs slang is used in its rude meaning, the so-called vulgar slang. It intensifies the negative meaning and atmosphere of a song or a verse. Of course this may be considered silly to suggest listening to such songs and selecting vulgar slang words, but it is not necessary to use them in one's speech but at least it helps to recognize and identify them when seeing or hearing them, because knowledge of any slang words is of much importance in the development of one's linguistic competence.

For the analysis of the use of slang in songs different pop songs were selected. In the course of investigation various slang unites were figured out but also some grammar, sound and syntax deviations, which together make text-messaging slang. All this again has a slangy meaning and brings informal character to the verse.

For example in walking away performed by Craig David coz is employed instead of because

coz I saw them with my own eyes This is due to its ability to fluently link this verse with the preceding one. As a result the two lines flow smoothly non-stop. Because is not always substituted by coz, it can take different forms, but all of them are pronounced in the same manner and no differences are distinguished. Because can take its form as 'cause, cus and cuz. A lot of these because-forms were figured out in songs.

So hold you close to set you free

Coz I just wanna see you smale again (Talk to Me by Smash)

There must be another way

Cause I believe in taking chances (Overprotected by Britney Spears)

And if it's good let's just make something cooking

Cus I really wanna rock with you (Superstar by Jamelia)

And I don't really know what to do

Cuz I've got a thing about you (A thing about you by Roxette)

All these because-forms, as it has been said, are applied in verses as a linking component between two verse lines making a song go easy. Besides they keep the rhyming and rhythmic effect better than the whole because would.

Among other deviations found in songs and characterizing slang one may point out the use of wanna, which serves as a substitute for want to. It proved to be a very popular form in songs. Such forms as gonna' (=going to) and gotta (=have got to) have the same ability of fitting the best into a verse line. They also do not alter themeaning of the whole verse line but on the contrary they serve as a linking element between the words.

Some people don't wanna compromise or and well I don't wanna live and lie too many sleepless nights

(Walking Away by Craig David)

Is the love I gave her in the past

Gonna be enough to last

If tomorrow never comes

(If Tomorrow never comes by Ronan Keating)

You gotta tell me what you need from me

So hold you close so set you free (Talk to Me by Smash)

I'm gonna wake up, yes and no

I'm gonna kiss some part of

I'm gonna keep this secret

I'm gonna close my body now

(Die Another Day by Madonna)

Ain't was also distinguished among grammatical characteristics of slang. This form may stand for am not, isn't and aren't. The aim of the use of ain't is the same as that of cos, wanna and gonna. But this form as considerably rare:

I ain't gonna hold out either

I'ma give it all to you baby

(I know what you want by Mariah Carey)

My loneliness ain't killing me no more

I'm stronger (Stronger by Britney Spears)

That was a different thing

No it ain't (Shut Up by Black Eyed Peas)

All the forms described above, as it has been said, are characterized as slangy. And it is not a single example where these slangy forms can be revealed. They also can be found in movies and literature, though considerably less, but they are popular in songs due to their ability to make a song sound more easy and fluent.

The verses suggested above show good examples where slang forms can be revealed and how to use them. And these forms are not necessarily to be used in text messaging, i.e. to be used only while printing, they can successfully be applied in Spoken language making one's speech flow smoothly and uninterrupted.

But all the examples described above are slang examples regarded from the grammatical and orthographical point of view. As for the sheer lexical slang units they are used comparatively less in songs, apart from dirty slang, or vulgar slang. Dirty slang emotionally expresses a negative attitude toward something. Such songs containing vulgar slang words sound more expressive than if these words were substituted by stylistically neutral words. Among such songs the songs performed by Eminem abound in vulgar slang units a lot. Ordinary slang words reflecting almost no negative or rude attitude also find their expression in songs, though less in number.

When somebody refuses doing something or is reluctant to do something s/he may express her/his unwillingness by the slang expression no way. This expression was also figured out in songs when studying them:

I'm falling apart in your hands again

No way

I've got to get away (Objection by Shakira)

If he'd told me, one day

That somebody'd have my heart in chains

Would I believe, no way

Made up my mind I'd never fall that way

(My Father's Son by Rondor Music)

In these two cases the expression no way really fits the verse line and, besides, it carries out its function - to express unwillingness and to retain the rhyme. Sometimes slang words are used not only to perform a rhyming function but also to avoid repetition. This is where synonyms are required. Thus, for example, relax can be replaced by such slang synonyms as chill out, lay back and laugh out like in the song Complicated:

Chill out, what you are yelling for?

Lay back, it's all been done before

Laugh out, when you strike a pose

Take off all your preppy clothes

(Complicated by Avril Lavigne)

All these three slang synonyms contain the same number of syllables and thus, again, they perfectly fit the verse line. Besides the use of them helped to avoid the use of a simple verb relax, which might be applied several times within one song. These verbs also possess some informal spirit appropriate in spoken situations. This is due to the fact that these lines suggested above resemble somebody addressing another person and it looks like speaking to someone. That is why these slang words can be selected by English learners and applied in corresponding situations.

It is apparently noticeable that all songs suggested above mostly contain text-messaging slang, the one applied when typing than when speaking. Lexical slang units expressing neutral attitude rarely emerge in pop songs.

Vulgar slang or dirty English has also gained its place in songs, particularly in rap songs. To display the use of vulgar slang rap songs performed by Eminem are selected. Such songs sound very expressive and inferior. A great number of vulgar slang words or slang words in general, in rap songs is caused by the fact that they are extremely resemble one's speaking . Perhaps because rap songs do not follow the rules of rhyme and tone a lot, as a result the lines go like one's talk - without apparent rhyme and great timbre variations.

The most popular vulgar slang units in Eminem's rap songs are shit, ass and fuck (and its derivatives). These are the words which function in his songs in different meanings. Shit mostly means thing as an abstract notion, which may be easily substituted by stuff. For example this meaning is expressed by shit in the following verses:

You know what I'm saying, cause they don't know shit about this(Infinite by Eminem)

I got them open like marijuana smoke up in your nose

Bucking these hoes, I got that shit down to a science

... You want your shit to blow up?

Well I'ma stuff some dynamite in your ass crack

And blast that shit to kingdom come

(313 by Eminem)

In the last verse shit means shit, while the second shit again means stuff or thing. Shit also can stand for something bad in general, i.e. to do shit would mean to do nasty things. This meaning is revealed in the following verse:

I've seen it turn beautiful people rude and deceitful

And make them do shit illegal (It's OK by Eminem)

A compound bullshit does not mean shit of a bull but lie, nonsense or absurd:

So stop that bullshit and flow

Yo, you need to come with the real skills, and act like you know(313 by Eminem)

Fuck may not serve any syntactical function in the sentence but it serves to intensity Eminem's emotional attitude to what he is singing, actually talking, about:

Inebriated, till my stress is elevated

How is the fuck can Eminem and shady be related?

If you hear a man that sounds like me smack him and ask him where the fuck did he get this damn raps from

(Low Down. Dirty by Eminem)

The derivatives of fuck such as fucking or motherfucking are also applied for emotional expression.

Oh yeah, this is Eminem baby, back up in that motherfucking ass

One time your motherfucking mind, we represent the 313

(Infinite by Eminem)

Dumpin' your dead body inside of a fucking trash can with more holes than Afgan (Just Don't Give a Fuck by Eminem)

The phrase I just don't give a fuck stands for I don't care. But the first sounds more impressive than if it were just I don't care:

But see me on the street and duck

cause you gon' get stuck, stoned, and snuffed

cause I just don't give a fuck

(Just Don't Give a Fuck by Eminem)

When Eminem says your ass it means you, and if it is somebody's ass it just means this somebody: his ass -he, her ass - she, my ass - I.

My rhymes they keep coming like nymph maniacs that masturbate

At a faster rate, yeah I got something for your ass to hate

This puppy is lucky I didn't blast his ass yet

(Criminal by Eminem)

It is noticeable that slang in the songs suggested above is either text-messaging, i.e. which is more apparent when typed than when pronounced, or dirty (vulgar). Neutral slang units reflecting no immorality, at least in the songs analyzed, have not been singled out. It is necessary to mention that although vulgar slang is described in this paper, it does not mean that this paper suggests learning such slang. This analysis has been aimed at suggesting different situations where any slang can be recognized, no matter what kind of slang it is: text-messaging or vulgar.

Another source where slang can come from is a movie. Here one can really observe Spoken English. Different slang kinds were selected while analyzing the movies. The reasons of why slang is applied in movies are the same as in literature. For this analysis the following movies were chosen:

1. Don't be a Menace South Central (while drinking your juice in the hood).

2. Dumb and Dumber

3. Pulp Fiction

4. Finding Forrester

Sometimes in one movie the similar expressions of slang were discovered and it was decided to show only some examples of slang.

The first movie analyzed is Don't be a Menace South Central. It is about one Afro-American guy Ashtray by name. His mother brings him to the black block to his father and wants him to become a real Afro-American man. The movie is hard to understand because of the accent most black people have, but nevertheless due to the fact that most black people in the movie are young it is possible to find some slang terms.

Hang out, which is rendered as , was already singled out in The Catcher in the Rye and A Patchwork Planet, but these are literary works and this time this slang phrase is applied in a movie.

I don't want you to hang out somewhere.

I want you to be a man

Guy, buddy or pal can be substituted by a slang word dude () which is mostly applicable to a male person.

- Are you dating anyone?

- Wellthere was one dude

If What's up? once meant What's happened? then now, as a slang phrase, it stands for Hi and at the same time How are you doing?. That is why it is enough to say just What's up and this will express both meanings, moreover this slang phrase requires the same reply.

- What's up, man?

- What's up, young blood?

If What's up? is used in greeting, there is also a slang expression used in farewell - Take care (, ) and it should not be mistaken for be careful.

Among vulgar slang the following words are singled out: shit, fuck and suck. Shit mostly means stuff and thing.

Pass me that shit over there

She tells me the same shit

He will fuck your head up when he learns that

Here the paper is not able to give the Russian variant, which is the closest to the meaning, but this phrase can be rendered as to punish severely.

Motherfucking and motherfucker are of the same stem, but the first functions as an adjective and the latter as a noun. Motherfucking is actually hard to render but it is mostly used when one is furious:

I tell ya, get off this motherfucking music

Motherfucker can be substituted by bastard, but it is much more offensive. Sucker is also much more offensive than just fool

Dreams are for suckers

Get your ass out of here (, ) sounds rude too though this meaning can be revealed by get out of here or go away.

Dumb and Dumber is about two guys, Harry and Lloyd, who in the course of the whole movie are doing stupid things. The movie itself is a comedy and it allows the use of slang, because comedies tend to create an easy and due to the use of the language people usually speak in everyday life these movies are closer to viewers.

When Harry asked Lloyd: How much dough do we have? some viewers might misunderstand him: why dough and for what? Here dough means the same as in The Catcher in the Rye. It stands for money, though dough belongs to food. Speaking about food there was also a piece of cake which did not mean any food actually, in the following context it denotes an easy thing ().

- She is gonna leave the brief case near the escalator.

You make the pick-up

- Piece of cake

When Lloyd said to Harry Get out of here it did not mean that he wanted Harry to disappear. In the following context it is obvious that saying this he expressed his disbelief. This phrase is applicable in any case of expressing disbelief and can be used instead of simple You are kidding! ( ).

- You know I talked to her

- Get out of here!!!!

To freak out in this movie stands for to get nervous ().

They always freak out when you leave the scene of an accident

Speaking about being nervous the act of making someone mad can be rendered

2.2 What factors promote the use of slang in literary works

Although slang is a speech phenomenon it can be found in literary works too, mostly in dialogues. Thus when reading some work a reader can see a language of characters, and no wonder if slang is chosen s a language. But what promotes the use of slang in literary works? No doubt that characters are of the great role. Their age and social status play no less role. Settings and events also belong to the group of factors influencing slang frequency in literary works. Thus making a study of some works it was discovered that slang rate in different literary works varies due to the factors mentioned above.

For this analysis the following works of about 200-220 pages were chosen:

1. Farewell, my Lovely by Raymond Chandler;

2. To have or Have Not by Ernest Hemingway;

3. Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley;

4. Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes;

5. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

The aim of this analysis is to figure out frequency value of slang units. The judgments are based on the factors described. The work, which abounds in slang most, is, of course, The Catcher in the Rye (about 1000 slang units). This is due to the fact that the work is about Holden Caulfield, a teenager, and relationship with his friends. Thus a language typical of teenagers is found here. For example: dough, can, cut it out!, hang out, lousy. Slang words are revealed not only in the main character's speech, but also in the speech of his friends, for they are teenagers too. And since teenagers are said to be the most active users of slang, a reader can find in The Catcher in the Rye the proof of this assumption.

Slang items in Farewell, my Lovely make about 170-180 units (approximately 1 slang unit per each page). The main character of this detective novel is Phillip Marlow, an investigator, but this is not him, who speaks a language of slang. In this work slang is a language of criminals, who do not only maintain slang expressions but also create new ones, for example: Smokes (Negroes), shine box (Negro), hot car list (a list of stolen cars), to barber ( to gossip), juju or a stick of tea ( marihuana). As it has been already mentioned in this paper that immorality promotes the use of slang a lot, here a reader can see for himself/herself that it is really so. The number of slang items in Farewell, my Lovely is rather high, because these items concentrate around immoral and anti-social lives of criminals.

Less slang expressions, but not the least, are traced in Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes- about 120-130 units. The main heroine of the work is a twenty-seven-year-old Rachel Walsh. Rachel desperately tries to find a soul mate to lovebut her only drawback is that she is some sort of junkie (drug addict). Here to watch a love story is as possible as to watch a life of a junkie. Rachel's Holiday combines two points:

1) Love is a serious thing and it does not admit such a language as slang, it needs a more elevated and poetical language;

2) The world of drugs is a good sphere for development and use of slang. Thus, here two opposite pints fight, what caused almost a 50/50 outcome. The following slang examples were found: to sack (to fire), a junkie (drug addict), to ditch (to walk out on somebody, stiff (the dead), hash (marihuana).

Analyzing To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway brought the following results: 80-90 slang units. The main figure in this novel is Harry Morgan, a fisherman, who goes bankrupt, because he lent his most expensive fishing-tackles to a rich tourist, but who did not pay Morgan. Unable to buy a new net Morgan illegally transports whiskey. Morgan's conditions put him in contact with contrabandists and terrorists, moreover he commits murder. This atmosphere of unfair business, suspicious deals, robberies and murders makes a slang language work. The following slang examples were traced here: goof (a fool), to sock (to hit), chink (Chinese), hot (drunk), stool (spy), to rat on (to betray).

The last work analyzed and having the least quantity of slang units is Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley (5-8 units). The reason of such poor concentration of slang expressions in the work is that there was no atmosphere enforcing the use of slang. Denis Stone, the main figure in the work, is a young and promising writer. He lives in, but not hangs out with, the society of educated people, who speak mostly about some elevated and sophisticated things. Those slang units found in Crome Yellow substitute neutral notions reflecting no immorality, such as: to give a buzz (to phone), loaf (a head), John (toilet), to get hitched (to get married).

Also it is necessary to mention that a narrator plays a great role I the promotion of slang too. All the works except Crome Yellow are narrated on behalf of the main characters, what promotes the use of slang even in the narration. Crome Yellow is narrated from the point of view of an author what excludes the possibility of finding slang units in narration. After making this analysis the following assumption was proved: the use of slang units in literary works depends on the age and social status of characters, their way of life, people surrounding them and a narrator.

Since it has already been mentioned in this paper that uneducated people, teenagers, criminals and drug addicts are active users of slang, this proves to be evidence of concentration of slang words in the literary works analyzed.


The investigation made on the theme Slang as a part of the English language helps to make the following conclusion.

Due to the fact that there is a growing necessity to learn an authentic language, slang should also be learned because it is also a part of the language.

The aim of the paper has been analyzing the importance of knowledge of slang. Accordingly there has been suggested a hypothesis that knowledge of slang is a very important component in the development of linguistic competence, for it simplifies communication and guarantees more accurate understanding.

After studying and systematizing the theoretical material on the theme and after analyzing the use of slang, the hypothesis suggested has been proved and one can come to a conclusion that knowledge of slang really simplifies communication and comprehension and lets a reader evaluate literary works properly.

Slang, as a part of the English language should also be paid attention in teaching. The urgency of this problem consists in the fact that people contact with native speakers more than ever and they feel a great demand to know an authentic language.


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2. Aldous Huxley Crome Yellow.- Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976

3. Anne Tyler A Patchwork Planet .- New York: Ballantine Books, 2001

4. Galperin I.R. Stylistics.- M.: Vysshaya Shkola, 1981

5. Erin Bouma The English of down under.// English.-2001,- 4

6. Ernest Hemingway To Have and Have Not.- M.: International relations, 1979

7. .. .- ,: , 1976

8. Kukharenko V.A. A Book of Practice in Stylistics.- M.: Bysshaya Shkola, 1986

9. Lighter, Jonathan E.; J. Ball; J. O'Connor, edc, Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang. Random House, 1994

10. .. .- .: , 1982

11. Marian Keyes Rachel's Holiday.- USA: Avon Books, 1999

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13. Paul Falla; Collin Howlett The Oxford Russian Dictionary.- Oxford- Moscow, 1999

14. Pavlova N.V. Slang as a part of the English language.// English.-2003,-N32

15. Raymond Chandler Farewell, my Lovely. -M.: Raduga publishers, 1983

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