2.Origin of Slang
3.Features of Slang
4.Evaluation of Slang
5.Internet Slang
6.For language learners
8.Further Readings

Slang is the language which is regarded as non-standard in the speaker’s language by using informal words and expressions. It exists in uncountable amount and can be found at all levels of society; usually, it is used to identify with one’s peers and groups. Generally speaking, slang is not used in formal speech or written language, unless the speaker has the intention to achieve a deliberate effect by using it.(4)
Origin of Slang
Initially, slang came into existence as group-specific argot, which had a strong link with jargon. However, unlike jargon which referred to a collection of technical terms used by specialized people which is beyond laymen’s understanding, argot was used to differentiate members of a group from others by which to enhance a sense of belonging among its members. Besides, using argot was also a good way to commit questionable and unlawful activities without being noticed. (7)As time went on, when one kind of group-specific argot started to spread to other groups and no longer be limited within only one group, it becomes slang.(1) For example, "bone" in argot means "drug" and "money", and to say something is "near no bone" is to say something is worthless.

Examples of money Slang:
"fiver"="five pounds"
"monkey"="five hundred pounds""pony"="twenty-five pounds" (5)

Features of Slang
1. Typically speaking, slang is humorous, bald and startling. It is designed to make speeches or writings more causal and humorous. For this reason, slang is more often than not inappropriate to used in formal situations. For example, we will never hear a President use "kick the bucket" to express his condolence to somebody's death in a formal speech.(1)
2. Slang is usually not a language of long life, and many of it just fades away before being made into the dictionary.
3. Slang can express an extra meaning from its original literary one, take “cool” for example, while its literary meaning is related to temperature, when it is used as slang, it can also express the meaning of “very good”, “impressive” and so forth.(2)

Evolution of Slang
Although it is a general rule that slang is short-lived, there are some exceptions. While some slang fall out of use over time, there are some growing more and more common until jumping from slang to accepted common language, as is the case with “ok”. (1) In some cases, when some slang terms evolve into mainstream language, their meaning or usage may undergo some change.
As often as not, when some slang spread beyond the group who originally uses it, its original user will coin a piece of new slang or just adopt a less-recognized slang to replace the gap in order to maintain the group identity. (2)

Internet Slang
A very modern type of slang is those special terms widely used on mobile phones and the instant messaging on the Internet, such as “LOL” which is short for “laugh out loud” and “ROFL” which is short for “rolling on the floor laughing”. (6)

For Language Learners
Learning how to use slang appropriately could be rather difficult for language learners, because the terms used in slang are often nonsensical and difficult to understand. However, if someone can master this kind of special linguistic phenomenon, he or she can fit it with native speakers much better. (1)


(4)http://baike.baidu.com/view/75004.htm(5)http://www.learnenglish.de/slang/moneyslang.htm( 6 )http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LOL( 7 ) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argot

Further Readings: