‘Slang’ as a linguistic register

Jonathon Green

in Slang

Published in print February 2016 | ISBN: 9780198729532
Published online February 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191796418 | DOI:

Series: Very Short Introductions

‘Slang’ as a linguistic register

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‘“Slang” as a linguistic register’ considers the definitions of slang and asks what qualifies as slang and what does not. Slang indicates a marginal, contrarian lexis, created and largely used by those beyond the social—and by extension—linguistic pale. Its use may have become more extensive alongside the more relaxed social mores of contemporary speech, but it continues to offend language purists and slang remains tainted by its criminal and underclass associations. The various types of slang are considered: cant (criminal jargon), rhyming slang (including Cockney language), backslang, occupational slang, and obscenities.

Keywords: cockney; Charles Dickens; French; Latin; Oxford English Dictionary; register; rhyming slang

Chapter.  4099 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Dialect, Slang and Jargon

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