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Slang and Idioms What is slang? A simple online
What is slang' A simple online definition is, "The nonstandard vocabulary of a given culture or subculture, typicaly consisting of transitory coinages and figures of speech." (Catchword) What is an idiom' From another online source, "Idiom refers to a grammatical construction unique to a certain people, region, or class that cannot be translated literally into another language." (Pearson Canada) When learning any language, these two concepts are an important part of complete understanding. The first hurdle a language student must overcome is grammar. After getting a basic understanding of how to string a language´s words together to form something understandable to an average native speaker, the next step is vocabulary. While grammar and vocabulary are definately an important part of a language, slang and idioms equally deserve as much attention. To complicate the situation, slang and idioms do not always follow the conventional rules of grammar. That, coupled with the fact that slang and idioms are not to be interpreted literally make the learning of these concepts confusing and dificult to an average language learner. Let´s start with a typical idiom used in the English language. "I have been working my fingers to the bone." At first, it may seem that the person stating this has been using their hands so much that the flesh is falling from them! This is definately not the case, as anyone who´s ever heard someone say this can attest to. Thinking about this idiom, it is hard to imagine how this phrase came in to common use. The whole purpose of an idiom is to more interestingly describe a person or situation. In this case, the speaker is expressing how hard they have been working on something. An idiom makes a listener stop and think about what is being said, making the conversation more pleasing to be involved with. Slang is slightly different from an idiom in that slang usually refers to a single word and not an entire phrase. Some of it can be regional as in the case of "boot" being used to refer to the rear storage compartment of a car in the UK, or "trunk" which refers to the same thing in the United States. Some typical English slang when referring to a friend or associate are, "dude," "homie," or "peep." While the origins of some of these words is hard to see directly, "dude" for instance, some of them can almost be logically explained. "Homie" can be seen as being a variation of "homme" from French, which can be translated as "man" in English. "Peep" can be seen as being a short form of "people." Slang, just like idioms, is used to decorate speech and text. Learning about and understanding slang and idioms used in a certain language is a way to understand the general attitudes and beliefs of a group of same language using people. The people who use the language personalize it by injecting their life experiences in to it. Slang and idoms are the result of this personalization. By investigating a few items of slang or idioms, along with their uses and meanings, an aspiring language user will be well on their way to becoming a convincing sounding native speaker. Works Cited Catchword. "Glossary of Naming Techniques and Linguistic Concepts." 2005 . Pearson Canada. "Glossary of Useful Terms." 2006