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The Power of Slang by Tom Dalzell

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The Power of Slang by Tom Dalzell
American slang has existed for over a century and is constantly changing from one generation to
the next. The ephemeral nature of slang makes it to constantly evolve with each generation of
youth, which makes it more appealing to them. Moreover, it creates in its speakers a sense of
commonality and identity. Despite the language being admonished by ardent lovers of perfect
English, slang has continued to be prominent among American speakers, especially the youth.
The slang supporters and its charged critics have constantly disagreed on its relevance
and importance as both a form of culture and means of communication. Among pro-slang
individuals, slang improves the English language by introducing new words that are more
understandable to a specific generation, and that communicate specific meanings more
appropriately given the environment and time in which the words are spoken. The critics have
accused slang of degrading the English language by inappropriately mixing English words with
foreign terms, especially those from African-American vernacular. Moreover, the use of
vernacular in slang makes the language to lack originality. While lovers of slang believe that it is
a unique language, those who are against it allege that in most cases, it is usually a repeat of
phrases that were popular in the past. For example, words such as groovy and boss, which were
popular among the youths of the 1960s had also been popular among those of the 1940s. To
some extent, therefore, the manner in which one generation of the youth communicates is similar
to how another spoke many years back.

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One of the major impediments to the growth of slang is its lack of acceptance in the
academic fraternity. Rarely is slang used formally in school. For example, there are no class
lessons on slang language and academic papers, such as those in sciences and mathematics are
never written in slang. Another major barrier to the growth of slang is its ability to create some
sense of commonality among speakers. The type of slang spoken varies with the community of
the speaker, a person’s neighborhood, social setting, and income. These many stratifications
create a barrier to the creation of a standard national form of slang. Therefore, although slang
like all languages is constantly evolving, its rate of change is usually too fast for it to be
standardized. Finally, social pressures and the lack of formal acceptance are major impediments
to the standardization of slang. In most cases, people stop speaking slang when they are past their
twenties. Interestingly, this is the period when most people get employment. Therefore, the lack
of acceptance of slang in the formal employment is a major hindrance to its growth.
Furthermore, most slang speakers always face the pressure of fitting to their new status at work
and thus adopt a more professional form of communication.
The growth and spread of slang is more of a social issue. Youths are always creative and
always desire to look and feel unique. Therefore, they normally develop forms of art, dressing,
and even speaking that are slightly different from those of the rest of the society. In addition,
youth also desire to look like their celebrities. To achieve this, they usually copy their icons
behaviors, dress codes, and even how they speak. In the 1950s and 1960s for example, slang was
influenced by mostly fast-talking AM radio disk jockeys, who were popular among the youth
(Dalzell.). Finally, the interaction of cultures and languages is a major contributor to the
development of slang. In particular, the African-American vernacular has mostly being used to
create various words in slang.

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Surname 1 Surname Tutor Course Date The Power of Slang by Tom Dalzell American slang has existed for over a century and is constantly changing from one generation to the next. The ephemeral nature of slang makes it to constantly evolve with each generation of youth, which makes it more appealing to them. Moreover, it creates in its speakers a sense of commonality and identity. Despite the language being admonished by ardent lovers of perfect English, slang has continued to be prominent among American speakers, especially the youth. The slang supporters and its charged critics have constantly disagreed on its relevance and importance as both a form of culture and means of communication. Among pro-slang individuals, slang improves the English language by introducing new words that are more understandable to a specific generation, and that communicate specific meanings more appropriately given the environment and time in which the words are spoken. The critics have accused slang of degrading the English language by inappropriately mixing English words with foreign terms, especially those from African-American vernacular. Moreover, the use of vernacular in slang makes the language to l ...
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Very useful material for studying!

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