DICTIONARY OF CONTEMPORARY SLANG - TONY THORNE
TONY THORNE

DICTIONARY OF CONTEMPORARY SLANG

Автор TONY THORNE
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Slang derives much of its power from the fact that it is clandestine, forbidden or generally disapproved of. So what happens once it is accepted, even in some cases embraced and promoted by ‘mainstream’ society? Not long ago the Oxford English Dictionary characterised slang as ‘low and disreputable’; in the late 1970s the pioneering sociolinguist Michael Halliday used the phrase ‘anti-language’ in his study of the speech of criminals and marginals. For him, theirs was an interestingly ‘pathological’ form of language. The first description now sounds quaintly outmoded, while the second could be applied to street gangs – today’s posses, massives or sets – and their secret codes. Both, however, involve value judgements which are essentially social and not linguistic. Attitudes to the use of language have changed profoundly over the last three decades, and the perceived boundaries between ‘standard’ and ‘unorthodox’ are becoming increasingly ‘fuzzy’.



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