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Frankly I think it depends on who you're talking to.  You'd not use slang in a professional environment but walking around the street with friends I'd assume it's okay.

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What I meant to say was- "is slang preventing us from using "proper" english/french or any language?"

I remember an author saying that "slang is a metaphor and metaphor is poetry".

However some of my English teachers claim that by using slang we are "corrupting" English/french or whatever language. I wanted to know your opinion.... what are views?

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What I meant to say was- "is slang preventing us from using "proper" english/french or any language?"

I remember an author saying that "slang is a metaphor and metaphor is poetry".

However some of my English teachers claim that by using slang we are "corrupting" English/french or whatever language. I wanted to know your opinion.... what are views?

I agree.  Slang can be quite colorful and creative, and indeed poetic at times.

What began as slang sometimes will eventually become accepted as the standard vocabulary. Languages do evolve over time.  What I am calling "evolution" perhaps others might call "corruption." 

Either way, the language changes as people speak it, over the course of decades and centuries.  It's an undeniable fact.  We need only remember that we might be proficient in present-day Standard English but yet, we might have a difficult time following the conversation if we were to time travel back to the days of the Middle English of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. 

Likewise a time traveler from that era would have quite the challenge understanding our contemporary English!  Some of those changes over the centuries are attributable to colloquialisms, slang, dialects, etc.  Language is not static.  I think that's what makes it so fascinating, especially when we trace the origins of words and phrase. 

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I strongly believe that slang is the main catalyst in language change. If you have a slang word or phrase that becomes so commonly used that in a generation or two it becomes an accepted part of the language, then what you have is a language change in progress.

For example, the Latin word for "head" was "caput" (the source of the English words "capital, captain. capitalism etc.). Yest about two thousand years ago, Roman soldiers begun using the word "testa" or "pot" as a slang word for "head"! What happened next was that the slang word became so much more common than the original Classical Latin word that it replaced it entirely in some(but not all) of the daughter languages that evolved form Latin. So in Italian, "head" is now "testa" and in French, "tête". The Spanish retain "cabeza", ultimately derived from "caput". The Latin slang word became the formal word in Italian and French but not in Spanish.

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While I would agree that slang is inapproriate in more formal situations, on the whole I think it is a good thing as long as it's not disrespectful. Language is constantly evolving and it's pointless trying to stop these linguistic changes from happening. While I think it would be a shame to lose more 'correct' terms in favour of slang, it's important to remember that many words have become obselete in this way. No word is really superior or inferior to what it's replaced with, but rather it's just different. It's peoples attitudes which decide whether a word is "proper" or not, and if we can get over this, then communication will be much more free.

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Being able to properly use appropriate slang is pretty much the moment when you have mastered the language. Slang is something that has to fit in very well into the context, also your accent is important. When a foreigner tries to sound British by using slang it just sounds inappropriate and rather cringey. I think that slang and local dialects are great because they help to separate not only various countries that speak the same language, but also individual regions within that given country.

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I agree that mastering the slang of a language shows to a certain extent that you are about to "master" a language. It is the same with jokes. if you can get jokes and irony in foreign languages, your skills must be pretty decent :=)

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Well, what do you mean by 'slang'? If we include any colloquialisms under that umbrella, than it's very important to get comfortable with them if you want to reach fluency in a given language. Above and beyond that, understanding idioms and common phrases (i.e. 'screwed the pooch' or 'jumped the gun') displays real communicative fluency in a foreign language.

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In general I think slang is good for languages as a whole. Many words which people now use commonly started out as slangs and are not accepted widely.

Of course though you should take care of when and where to use slang words. Depending from person to person and how much you need to respect them.

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I agree with the comments here that slang is a normal part of a language and I feel that, at some point, slang words should be embraced and accepted as part of the language. It seems that if some many people are using a slang word as part of their everyday vocabulary, that word should no longer carry the stigma of a slang word that should be avoided.

Something else that I completely agree with and struggled with myself is the statement about trying to use proper English versus free communication. When I was younger, I felt obligated to use proper English and pronunciation any time I spoke, so I really felt like I was constantly being judged and focused more on my word and sentence structure than the ideas behind my communication. I ended up sounding like a fool. When I allowed myself to be okay with slang or enunciating my words in a flowing conversational manner, I was able to express myself much more freely.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'll begrudgingly allow a bit of slang so long as it is understood that it is slang, and so long as whoever uses it also knows the correct way of speaking. Correct language must be taught and learned in school and at home and if in the street people wish to become a bit sloppy, please do it quietly. I don't think slang should be promoted as it is on many TV programmes - TV and cinema should enhance language, not dumb it down.

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I think slang has a lot to do with sub cultures and growing up. If you notice contemporary sub cultures like hip-hop, skate boarders, dread/rasta, metal heads, etc all have their own slang going on. I used to have a lot of slang in my vocabulary, I think I started to speak proper slang free English when I was 22. Now I just find it amusing and sometimes annoying.

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  • 3 months later...

I think that slang is a very welcome classification or group of words in my opinion, because you can easily weed out the formal conversations from the informal ones just by the use of certain slang words. Plus it does sound "cooler" to use, especially if you're a teen. Because it wound sound weird if a teen started to use lots of formal words in a casual conversation.

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I think there is a time and a place for it. You don't want to go and use it in a job interview. I think it can be beneficial for young people because it makes you feel like you belong. It is useful when you socialize as a teen and it can help you fit in.

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I rarely use slang, even when I'm with friends or people around my age, for some reason most slang words in spanish are so vulgar, lol, specially here in Mexico!  So, no, I really don't like using slang, at least not when I speak in spanish.  Things are different when I speak english, I use slang and I really enjoy it.  I think some slang words and verbs in english are really cool, I specially love using phrasal verbs :)

I'm actually trying to expand my vocabulary and learn more slang words and phrasal verbs.  There still are several slang words and cultural references I don't quite get!

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Slang has its place and when use in an informal setting and not overdone it has its merits.  I believe it expands a language and allows a language to grow.  It also embellishes language and gives a distinctive quality to regional dialect.

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