DICTIONARY OF CONTEMPORARY SLANG

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DICTIONARY OF CONTEMPORARY SLANG

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Slang and Society 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....

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