Chapter

‘Slang’: the word

Jonathon Green

in Slang

Published in print February 2016 | ISBN: 9780198729532
Published online February 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191796418 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/actrade/9780198729532.003.0001

Series: Very Short Introductions

‘Slang’: the word

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The exact etymology of the word ‘slang’ is unknown. ‘“Slang”: the word’ divides the possible origins and various theories behind the meaning of the term into three groups: (1) Romani; (2) Scandinavian; (3) variations on SE language or lingo or French langue. The shift in slang’s primary meaning of ‘vagrant jargon’ to ‘vulgar speech’ may be attributed to the long-established assumption that if slang is used by those outside social respectability it must be categorized as being outside the linguistic equivalent. The nature of slang—the marginal speech of marginal individuals—naturally makes its recording problematic, especially in its earliest period.

Keywords: French; langue; Eric Honeywood Partridge; Romany; W. W. Skeat; slang; Jonathan Wild

Chapter.  2120 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Dialect, Slang and Jargon

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