How does slang affect the way people communicate?



Nowadays teenagers use a good amount of slang that adults would never understand.

Ella F., Writer


Take a moment to think about the way people speak nowadays. Many teens use slang words when communicating online and in real-life conversations. But when and where do these words appear? And how did their usage start? 

The word ‘slang’ itself is rooted from the Norwegian verb slengja, meaning “to throw recklessly,” which is what people do everyday around the world. Currently, many slang words originate from social media apps and music, mainly hip hop and rap. Music artists use slang in an effort to better express themselves and their emotions. 

Many popular movies such as Ghostbusters and Star Wars can also be credited with the creation of slang words that have become popular. The phrase The Dark Side from Star Wars is commonly used today to refer to something that is negative or unpleasant and is even used to describe someone’s personality. For example, “She is really kind, but has a dark side, too.” In the movie Ghostbusters, Bill Murry exclaims, “All right, this chick is toast!”  The term toast is commonly used to refer to something being finished or completed. 

Perhaps Carl Sandburg captured it best when he said, “Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work.” And studies show that it works the most among 10-25 year olds. Many people in this generation feel that it is acceptable to use slang when communicating with other generations because it will help older people understand how young people communicate.This will also help older generations more effectively communicate with younger generations.

Some slang words that originated from the past are still in use today. A  recent article shared the history of garbage (1950s), chill (1960s), vibes (1960s), gross (1970s), no brainer (1970s), and bling (1990s). Perhaps these slang words will continue to be used in the future, or maybe they’ll be forgotten in a few years and replaced with something new. For example, our parents’ generation used rad which has thankfully been replaced with the word bussin

There are many arguments that debate the necessity of slang, and if it hurts or benefits society. Some argue that slang is good because it allows people to better express themselves and be more creative. On the other hand, some think that slang is corrupting the English language and should not be used. 

There are many interesting slang words that have evolved over the years, some of which are still used today. Unanswered questions remain about the next generation of slang, whether they will make it into mainstream communication or simply stay on the fringe. Most questions can be answered with a quick check of the Urban Dictionary. Or you can always ask a junior higher.