Why Slang Is Good For You

Friday, October 26, 2012

Today's program puts special attention on language and identity — how they coincide and why those intersections matter. Michael Adams is an associate Professor of English at Indiana University who studies one important intersection of language and identity: slang. He says slang keeps us sharp — and that there is creative value in the creation of new language among different social groups.

"It's not just slang, but any language that's significantly different from what we expect exercises the brain and engages us," Adams says. "We've got lots of room in language to be creative, to twist a word around a little bit, or the form of a sentence around a little bit to be clever." 

"We are engaged when we're using slang. It's not a laziness," Adams says. On the contrary, slang can be inventive, and even poetic. But it can also be political. One of the controversial things about slang is that certain language is often acceptable within a community, but not outside of it — or vice versa.

"Slang has its place, and other forms of discourse have their places too," Adams says. "We're a little chameleon-like, we change our language as we move from place to place in our lives, and there's nothing wrong with that at all. It just shows how versatile a human being can be."


Michael Adams

Produced by:

Mythili Rao

Comments [3]

Jimmy C from NYC

If you are interested in slang or other informal language you should check out www.slargon.com it presents video interviews where participants define their favorite non-main stream language.

Nov. 04 2012 04:01 PM
Ray Neff from vegas

Are you talking about the crude ignorant slang like F####K and other curse words that (mostly) young folks use wherever and whenever they are? If thats what you mean, It's knotheads like you who have failed the education process. These folks don't have the language skills that shoud have been taught to them so they can express themselves without crude ignorant language.

Ya knucklehead

Oct. 26 2012 04:14 PM
Larry Fisher

All language started as slang...Think about the caveman grunting through his day till he made some sound which everybody said,"Hey, that cool sound that Felix just grunted for that clucking bird. He called it 'Chicken' I think I'm gonna call it a 'chicken' too.

Oct. 26 2012 02:00 PM

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