3. Development of slang
4. Creators of slang
6. Linguistic processes forming slang
7. Characteristics of slang
8. Diffusion of slang
9. Uses of slang
10. Attitudes toward slang
12. Position in the Language
III. Youth Subcultures
1. The Concept of Youth Subcultures
2. The Formation of Youth Subcultures
3. The Increase of Youth Subculture
4. The Features of Youth Subcultures
5. The Types of Youth Subcultures
6. The Variety of Youth Subcultures
IV. Rock Music
1. What is rock?
2. Rock in the 1950s
3. Rock in the 1960s
4. Rock in the 1970s
5. Rock in the 1980s and '90s
V. Rock subcultures
Dictionary of youth slang during 1960-70’s
Dictionary of modern British slang
graduation paper is devoted to the study of the topic “Slang, youth
subcultures and rock music.” This work consists of 5 parts. The
first part is about slang. What is it?
informal, nonstandard words and phrases, generally shorter lived than
the expressions of ordinary colloquial speech, and typically formed
by creative, often witty juxtapositions of words or images. Slang can
be contrasted with jargon (technical language of occupational or
other groups) and with argot or cant (secret vocabulary of underworld
groups), but the borderlines separating these categories from slang
are greatly blurred, and some writers use the terms cant,argot,
in a general way to include all the foregoing meanings.
Origins of slang
Slang tends to originate in subcultures within a society. Occupational groups (for example, loggers, police, medical professionals, and computer specialists) are prominent originators of both jargon and slang; other groups creating slang include the armed forces, teenagers, racial minorities, ghetto residents, labor unions, citizens-band radiobroadcasters, sports groups, drug addicts, criminals, and even religious denominations (Episcopalians, for example, produced spike, a High Church Anglican). Slang expressions often embody attitudes and values of group members. They may thus contribute to a sense of group identity and may convey to the listener information about the speaker's background. Before an apt expression becomes slang, however, it must be widely adopted by members of the subculture. At this point slang and jargon overlap greatly. If the subculture has enough contact with the mainstream culture, its figures of speech become slang expressions known to the whole society. For example, cat (a sport), cool (aloof, stylish), Mr. Charley (a white man), The Man (the law), and Uncle Tom (a meek black) all originated in the predominantly black Harlem district of New York City and have traveled far since their inception. Slang is thus generally not tied to any geographic region within a country.
A slang expression may suddenly become widely used and as quickly dated (23-skiddoo). It may become accepted as standard speech, either in its original slang meaning (bus, from omnibus) or with an altered, possibly tamed meaning (jazz, which originally had sexual connotations). Some expressions have persisted for centuries as slang (booze for alcoholic beverage). In the 20th century, mass media and rapid travel have speeded up both the circulation and the demise of slang terms. Television and novels have turned criminal cant into slang (five grand for $5000). Changing social circumstances may stimulate the spread of slang. Drug-related expressions (such as pot and marijuana) were virtually a secret jargon in the 1940s; in the 1960s they were adopted by rebellious youth; and in the 1970s and '80s they were widely known.
In some cases slang may provide a needed name for an object or action (walkie-talkie, a portable two-way radio; tailgating, driving too close behind another vehicle), or it may offer an emotional outlet (buzz off! for go away!) or a satirical or patronizing reference (smokey, state highway trooper). It may provide euphemisms (john,head,can, and in Britain, loo, all for toilet, itself originally a euphemism), and it may allow its user to create a shock effect by using a pungent slang expression in an unexpected context. Slang has provided myriad synonyms for parts of the body (bean, head; schnozzle, nose), for money (moola,bread,scratch), for food (grub,slop,garbage), and for drunkenness (soused,stewed,plastered).
Formation of slang
Slang expressions are created by the same processes that affect ordinary speech. Expressions may take form as metaphors, similes, and other figures of speech (dead as a doornail). Words may acquire new meanings (cool,cat). A narrow meaning may become generalized (fink, originally a strikebreaker, later a betrayer or disappointer) or vice-versa (heap, a run-down car). Words may be clipped, or abbreviated (mike, microphone), and acronyms may gain currency (VIP,AWOL,snafu). A foreign suffix may be added (the Yiddish and Russian -nik in beatnik) and foreign words adopted (baloney, from Bologna). A change in meaning may make a vulgar word acceptable (jazz) or an acceptable word vulgar (raspberry, a sound imitating flatus; from raspberry tart in the rhyming slang of Australia and Cockney London; Sometimes words are newly coined (oomph, sex appeal, and later, energy or impact).
Position in the Language
Slang is one of the vehicles through which languages change and become renewed, and its vigor and color enrich daily speech. Although it has gained respectability in the 20th century, in the past it was often loudly condemned as vulgar. Nevertheless, Shakespeare brought into acceptable usage such slang terms as hubbub,to bump, and to dwindle, and 20th-century writers have used slang brilliantly to convey character and ambience. Slang appears at all times and in all languages. A person's head was kapala (dish) in Sanskrit, testa (pot) in Latin; testa later became the standard Latin word for head. Among Western languages, English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Yiddish, Romanian, and Romani (Gypsy) are particularly rich in slang.
The second part of my graduation paper is about youth subcultures.
"Subcultures are meaning systems, modes of expression or life styles developed by groups in subordinate structural positions in response to dominant meaning systems, and which reflect their attempt to solve structural contradictions rising from the wider societal context"
next part is about rock music in the 1950s – ‘90s. What is rock?
group of related music styles that have dominated popular music in
the West since about 1955. Rock music began in the United States, but
it has influenced and in turn been shaped by a broad field of
cultures and musical traditions, including
country-and-western music, classical music,
and the popular music of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In addition
to its use as a broad designation, the term rock
commonly refers to music styles after 1959 predominantly influenced
by white musicians. Other major rock music styles include rock and
roll the first genre of the music; and rhythm-and-blues music,
influenced mainly by black American musicians. Each of these major
genres encompasses a variety of substyles, such as heavy metal, punk,
alternative, and grunge. While innovations in rock music have often
occurred in regional centers—such as New York City, Kingston,
Jamaica, and Liverpool, England—the influence of rock music is now
The fourth part is about different rock subcultures such as hippie, punk, skinhead, goth, hardcore, grunge, heavy metal and others. I discribed their fashion, style, bands, music, lyrics, political views.
And the last part contains two dictionaries. The first dictionary is about youth slang during 1960 –70’s and the second dictionary consists of modern British slang.
Slang ... an attempt of common humanity to escape from bald literalism, and express itself illimitably ... the wholesome fermentation or eductation of those processes eternally active in language, by which froth and specks are thrown up, mostly to pass away, though occasionally to settle and permanently crystallise.
Walt Whitman, 1885
Etymology: origin unknown
1 : language peculiar to a particular group: as a : ARGOT b : JARGON 2
2 : an informal nonstandard vocabulary composed typically of coinages, arbitrarily changed words, and extravagant, forced, or facetious figures of speech
- slang adjective
- slang·i·ly /'sla[ng]-&-lE/ adverb
- slang·i·ness /'sla[ng]-E-n&s/ noun
- slangy /'sla[ng]-E/ adjective
intransitive senses : to use slang or vulgar abuse
transitive senses : to abuse with harsh or coarse language
: slang in which the word intended is replaced by a word or phrase that rhymes with it (as loaf of bread for head) or the first part of the phrase (as loaf for head)
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
nonstandard vocabulary composed of words or senses characterized primarily by connotations of extreme informality and usually by a currency not limited to a particular region. It is composed typically of coinages or arbitrarily changed words, clipped or shortened forms, extravagant, forced, or facetious figures of speech, or verbal novelties.
Slang consists of the words and expressions that have escaped from the cant, jargon and argot (and to a lesser extent from dialectal, nonstandard, and taboo speech) of specific subgroups of society so that they are known and used by an appreciable percentage of the general population, even though the words and expressions often retain some associations with the subgroups that originally used and popularized them. Thus, slang is a middle ground for words and expressions that have become too popular to be any longer considered as part of the more restricted categories, but that are not yet (and may never become) acceptable or popular enough to be considered informal or standard. (Compare the slang "hooker" and the standard "prostitute.")
Under the terms of such a definition, "cant" comprises the restricted, non-technical words and expressions of any particular group, as an occupational, age, ethnic, hobby, or special-interest group. (Cool, uptight, do your thing were youth cant of the late 1960s before they became slang.) "Jargon" is defined as the restricted, technical, or shoptalk words and expressions of any particular group, as an occupational, trade, scientific, artistic, criminal, or other group. (Finals used by printers and by students, Fannie May by money men, preemie by obstetricians were jargon before they became slang.) "Argot" is merely the combined cant and jargon of thieves, criminals, or any other underworld group. (Hit used by armed robbers; scam by corporate confidence men.)
Slang fills a necessary niche in all languages, occupying a middle ground between the standard and informal words accepted by the general public and the special words and expressions known only to comparatively small social subgroups. It can serve as a bridge or a barrier, either helping both old and new words that have been used as "insiders' " terms by a specific group of people to enter the language of the general public or, on the other hand, preventing them from doing so. Thus, for many words, slang is a testing ground that finally proves them to be generally useful, appealing, and acceptable enough to become standard or informal. For many other words, slang is a testing ground that shows them to be too restricted in use, not as appealing as standard synonyms, or unnecessary, frivolous, faddish, or unacceptable for standard or informal speech. For still a third group of words and expressions, slang becomes not a final testing ground that either accepts or rejects them for general use but becomes a vast limbo, a permanent holding ground, an area of speech that a word never leaves. Thus, during various times in history, American slang has provided cowboy, blizzard, okay, racketeer, phone, gas, and movie for standard or informal speech. It has tried and finally rejected conbobberation (disturbance), krib (room or apartment), lucifer (match), tomato (girl), and fab (fabulous) from standard or informal speech. It has held other words such as bones (dice), used since the 14th century, and beat it (go away), used since the 16th century, in a permanent grasp, neither passing them on to standard or informal speech nor rejecting them from popular, long-term use.
Slang words cannot be distinguished from other words by sound or meaning. Indeed, all slang words were once cant, jargon, argot, dialect, nonstandard, or taboo. For example, the American slang to neck (to kiss and caress) was originally student cant; flattop (an aircraft carrier) was originally navy jargon; and pineapple (a bomb or hand grenade) was originally criminal argot. Such words did not, of course, change their sound or meaning when they became slang. Many slang words, such as blizzard, mob, movie, phone, gas, and others, have become informal or standard and, of course, did not change in sound or meaning when they did so. In fact, most slang words are homonyms of standard words, spelled and pronounced just like their standard counterparts, as for example (American slang), cabbage (money), cool (relaxed), and pot (marijuana). Of course, the words cabbage, cool, and pot sound alike in their ordinary standard use and in their slang use. Each word sounds just as appealing or unappealing, dull or colourful in its standard as in its slang use. Also, the meanings of cabbage and money, cool and relaxed, pot and marijuana are the same, so it cannot be said that the connotations of slang words are any more colourful or racy than the meanings of standard words.
All languages, countries, and periods of history have slang. This is true because they all have had words with varying degrees of social acceptance and popularity.
All segments of society use some slang, including the most educated, cultivated speakers and writers. In fact, this is part of the definition of slang. For example, George Washington used redcoat (British soldier); Winston Churchill used booze (liquor); and Lyndon B. Johnson used cool it (calm down, shut up).
The same linguistic processes are used to create and popularize slang as are used to create and popularize all other words. That is, all words are created and popularized in the same general ways; they are labeled slang only according to their current social acceptance, long after creation and popularization.
Slang is not the language of the underworld, nor does most of it necessarily come from the underworld. The main sources of slang change from period to period. Thus, in one period of American slang, frontiersmen, cowboys, hunters, and trappers may have been the main source; during some parts of the 1920s and '30s the speech of baseball players and criminals may have been the main source; at other times, the vocabulary of jazz musicians, soldiers, or college students may have been the main source.
To fully understand slang, one must remember that a word's use, popularity, and acceptability can change. Words can change in social level, moving in any direction. Thus, some standard words of William Shakespeare's day are found only in certain modern-day British dialects or in the dialect of the southern United States. Words that are taboo in one era (e.g., stomach, thigh) can become accepted, standard words in a later era. Language is dynamic, and at any given time hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of words and expressions are in the process of changing from one level to another, of becoming more acceptable or less acceptable, of becoming more popular or less popular.
Slang tends to originate in subcultures within a society. Occupational groups (for example, loggers, police, medical professionals, and computer specialists) are prominent originators of both jargon and slang; other groups creating slang include the armed forces, teenagers, racial minorities, ghetto residents, labor unions, citizens-band radiobroadcasters, sports groups, drug addicts, criminals, and even religious denominations (Episcopalians, for example, produced spike, a High Church Anglican). Slang expressions often embody attitudes and values of group members. They may thus contribute to a sense of group identity and may convey to the listener information about the speaker’s background. Before an apt expression becomes slang, however, it must be widely adopted by members of the subculture. At this point slang and jargon overlap greatly. If the subculture has enough contact with the mainstream culture, its figures of speech become slang expressions known to the whole society. For example, cat (a sport), cool (aloof, stylish), Mr. Charley (a white man), The Man (the law), and Uncle Tom (a meek black) all originated in the predominantly black Harlem district of New York City and have traveled far since their inception. Slang is thus generally not tied to any geographic region within a country.
A slang expression may suddenly become widely used and as quickly date (23-skiddoo). It may become accepted as standard speech, either in its original slang meaning (bus, from omnibus) or with an altered, possibly tamed meaning (jazz, which originally had sexual connotations). Some expressions have persisted for centuries as slang (booze for alcoholic beverage). In the 20th century, mass media and rapid travel have speeded up both the circulation and the demise of slang terms. Television and novels have turned criminal cant into slang (five grand for $5000). Changing social circumstances may stimulate the spread of slang. Drug-related expressions (such as pot and marijuana) were virtually a secret jargon in the 1940s; in the 1960s they were adopted by rebellious youth; and in the 1970s and ’80s they were widely known.
3. Development of slang
Slang emanates from conflicts in values, sometimes superficial, often fundamental. When an individual applies language in a new way to express hostility, ridicule, or contempt, often with sharp wit, he may be creating slang, but the new expression will perish unless it is picked up by others. If the speaker is a member of a group that finds that his creation projects the emotional reaction of its members toward an idea, person, or social institution, the expression will gain currency according to the unanimity of attitude within the group. A new slang term is usually widely used in a subculture before it appears in the dominant culture. Thus slang--e.g., "sucker," "honkey," "shave-tail," "jerk"--expresses the attitudes, not always derogatory, of one group or class toward the values of another. Slang sometimes stems from within the group, satirizing or burlesquing its own values, behaviour, and attitudes; e.g., "shotgun wedding," "cake eater," "greasy spoon." Slang, then, is produced largely by social forces rather than by an individual speaker or writer who, single-handed (like Horace Walpole, who coined "serendipity" more than 200 years ago), creates and establishes a word in the language. This is one reason why it is difficult to determine the origin of slang terms.
- ... -American youth during the 1970?s such as: styles of language, ?street-slang ... dancing, music and their colourful attitude and fashion. Rap music is therefor a subculture to the ... of music and the intent of the lyrics, to the culture, gender and race ...
- ... of dress, language (slang), and music. Today, many people ... music. Many youth in America today are considered part of the rap subculture ... much more overlooked influences originated from outside of the R&B and rock ... infiltrated mainstream soul and rock as well. ...
- ... culture or subculture in which it is found and of ... CB operators, and the working slang of watermen and doctors. It ... - fertility and prosperity, in Japan - the future, a youth and energy, in ... very much «свой человек в России» [‘one of ours’ in Russia] still ...
- ... form a youth culture comes out of a combination of fashion, style and music. A subculture is ... around British cafe racer motorcycles and rock and roll music. Until the post-World ... (for example, references to British slang terms or people who are ...
- ... a variety of different youth cultures. Youth culture and youth subcultures have been a subject ... slang), listening to music and gathering in similar places i.e. bikers at race meetings and bars and ... is too much diversity for any single youth subculture to ...