Slang saves time and effort, but some may go too far

Slang saves time and effort, but some may go too far

Ben Hodapp and Woody Hieb shorten their conversation by using slang.

By Dayna Pittman, Staff Writer

For years students across the country have attended English class so they could know the English language as completely as possible: how to write, how to read and, of course, how to speak.

The problem, though, is that most people don’t actually speak in a completely proper way. They modify and shorten words and develop what is known as slang, something that has developed in every language in the world.

In short, slang terms are informal phrases or words that originate in subcultures within a society. Slang often suggests that the person saying the words is familiar with the vernacular of the listeners and is often a distinguishing factor of identity for members of a particular community.

Inevitably, Fairmont students have opinions about slang – the positives, the negatives, and, of course, how it affects their lives.

Sophomore Rose Defluri doesn’t think too much of slang. “I think that slang can be helpful in defining a generation, but it also hinders that communication between past and present generations,” she said. “Some of it is OK, as long as it isn’t a generalized insult.”

Sophomore Tyler Cook agrees and doesn’t think about the slang he uses either. “It really isn’t helpful while speaking, but it isn’t unnecessary either,” he said. “Slang is just for fun; it doesn’t really do anything to affect anyone.”

With the burgeoning, fast world of texting and instant messaging, many new “words” have become regular words and are considered slang. For example, the word “noob” means “a newbie.” Even older words from the sixties are still used today, such as “chill,” “cool” and “ditch.” Some words, though, have fallen out of favor such as “groovy” and “jam.”

“Slang is sometimes OK when they’re harmless words, like the word ‘dude,’” said sophomore Tiffany Hill. “But some words just degrade people.”

Sophomore Brittney Rolen agrees and thinks that slang is helpful in using Instant Messages. “Slang makes things a lot shorter,” she said. “When you type a message, you tend to type whatever is easiest. No one is going to use proper English for casual messages.”

Freshman Faith Rhule sees things similarly. “Slang definitely helps me while I’m texting,” she said. “It’s faster to text ‘OMG’ instead of actually writing it out. It also helps when you’re texting your friend to put ‘lol.’ It seems that everyone I know speaks slang.”

While talking with friends or in a casual social setting, slang is acceptable because everyone uses it, but slang isn’t considered the appropriate when writing an oral report or having a discussion in a formal situation.

Hill believes that even though slang is handy at times, too much may be a problem for younger generations. “People use slang terms as if it’s modern English,” said Hill. “These terms are making our society corrupt and giving children the wrong impression about how society really is after they graduate. If people choose not to speak correctly, it may lead them to not graduate, and they won’t get a job because they’re using slang at the wrong times.”         

Sophomore Cory Barlow agrees with Hill. “Slang isn’t a good way to talk to people,” he said. “It’s damaging the way our youth speak and it’s unnecessary.”

Some are especially troubled by slang terms such as “rape.” The term is sometimes used to mean “to defeat,” as in “I really raped that math test today,” or to “to abuse,” as in “I raped my credit card at The Greene.”

Many think that using these terms nonchalantly is wrong; Defluri is one of those people.

“It’s crossing the line,” she said. “It’s past an insult and going into being rude and inconsiderate, since the actual term ‘rape’ has both emotional and fear connections.”

Even though slang is widely used, everyone seems to agree that there are definitely inappropriate times to use slang.

“We use slang so much, we forget that they’re not real words,” said Rolen. “Sometimes in English class we forget to stop using slang, and our teachers get angry with students when they see shortened, lowercase words. It shows teachers how much we text and how we don’t pay attention in class.”

Rhule agrees with Rolen on the appropriate times to speak slang. “You shouldn’t speak slang if you’re at a job interview or talking to a teacher,” she said. “It’s highly inappropriate to use slang in any professional environment. I think that people need to learn how to sit down and actually have a conversation, instead of texting and e-mailing. Slang isn’t everything.”