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Features of American slangs

 

Widely regarded as an informal variety of speech, slang is prone to be looked down on and is rarely used except between friends or family members in some cultures, from Chinese, Vietnamese, to French, German, etc. However, almost everyone in the USA knows a word or two of American slangs, and many even consider it “fab” to use them in daily social network life. How did American slangs overcome social taboos and achieve such widespread popularity? This success might owe itself to some special features of American slangs.

       American slangs are original, and young people love them. Most American slangs will play on the phonetic aspect of words, using rhyme as a common means to create original new words with vivid imagery. Some examples are, bee’s knees (outstanding people or things), fender-bender (a trifle), etc. The originality in slangs appeals a great deal to young people, who are not afraid of experimenting new words and new rhyme schemes to express themselves and to break away from the usual speech conventions.


       Another important feature of American slangs is their conciseness, and this makes almost everyone love slangs. To attain this conciseness, a phonological process called apocope, in which one or more sounds at the end of a word are lost,, resulting in a shorter word, could be used. Examples for this case would be vamp for vampire, t-rex for tyrannosaurus rex, etc. Many slangs could also be created by replacing the original word with a simpler monosyllabic one. Examples of this type include zed for zombie, simp for a stupid person, etc. This feature of slangs is attractive to not only the young, but also some older people as it helps to reduce the length of  the words by a hefty amount.       

        As a summary, American slangs see a widespread usage partly thanks to their originality and their conciseness. Seeing this non-discriminatory treatment that American slangs receive, one could not help but wish that all slangs in the world will one day cast off their stigmas, and shine with their own originality and ingenuity.       

      At LingoFocus Co., Ltd., we strive to provide you with not only the best translation service, but also a culturally immersed adaptation of the texts. Our cultural experts will ensure that your texts are culturally appropriate, especially in the use of slangs. If you ever have needs for qualified translation services, we at LingoFocus, a team of Nordic experts, are ready to cater to them! Check out our website at Lingofocus.net for more information.

Reference:

Zhou, Y. & Fan, Y. (2013). A Sociolinguistic Study of American Slang. Theory and Practice in Language Studies3, pp. 2209-2213

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