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August 14, 2014

When Does Slang Die?

The English language absorbs words and terms from every other language, and lots of sub-cultures, vocations and technologies.

But what happens when a word loses its meaning or its context?

Words establish their meanings from events or...

...some kind of cultural framework.

But what happens when a term or word is pulled out of its original context and used in a public way that has no relation to the forces that brought it into being?

If you pay attention to language, you can see very quickly what kills any given slang term.

Think of a slang term as a plant; when taken out of its native soil, it withers and dies. Words are much like that; a word taken out of its context loses it true and full purpose.

Here's a link to an article that explores this idea - http://www.salon.com/2014/08/10/miley_cyrus_murdered_twerk_when_does_slang_finally_die_partner/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialflow.

It takes years I know, but once you have a good 'feel' for a slang term, you can get a sense of how current - or dated - it is.

Be careful how you use slang; it might be popular now, but even a year from now it will mark you as a poor learner and a weak communicator.

If you have any linguistic questions or disputes, please send them our way. We'll do our best to sort them out.

All I can say is, tread carefully through this language, and be sure to send me any language usages or historical nuances that interest you, and be sure to let me know what it is about language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.


P.S. Morf might be available to visit your school or program this September. Email address is mmorf@mail.com.

Posted by mmorf at August 14, 2014 11:36 PM


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