Point Counter-Point: Is the use of slang corrupting language?
March 22, 2016
People use slang in everyday language all the time, and that’s not always a bad thing. Teenagers and college students are typically prone to new slang trends, both acceptable and baffling, and it is with this generation that some question what is happening with modern language. Read what our columnists think on the issue of this slang thang:
Perhaps it is because I am a writing major and am particularly fond of and wish to make my living through the use of words that this topic, or more specifically slang, can sometimes irritate me to great degrees.
I hear people say they “can’t even,” with that being the entire thought, and my eye twitches a little bit because that doesn’t even make sense. You ‘can’t even’ what? Finish a thought? What are you even saying!?!
I admit, I am no stranger to slang in casual language. However, when I use it, it either makes sense in the situation or the way in which it is being used is clearly as a joke.
Let me explain: Have I said the phrase, “I can’t” before? Yes. In the context of discussing something of mounting frustration and then using it with the implied meaning already explained beforehand so it actually makes sense.
Have I used the ridiculous “totes” before? Yes. As sarcasm, when replying to something my mom asked me, and I said, “Oh, totes,” and she rolled her eyes at me because she knows I’m being a jerk.
But when I constantly hear people using any of the following words, it makes me cringe: can’t even, awesomesauce, cray, amazeballs, totes, or any other stupid words or word combination.
Why does it make me cringe? Because you sound like an idiot and you are ruining the English language.
Some might argue how is language ever supposed to evolve if it does not change and morph? This is a valid point. It is true that this is how language has evolved in the past and has to happen in order for the advancement of language to occur.
But the crap that I am hearing and talking about, that is polluting my ears today, this junk is going to be responsible for the inevitable de-evolution of language.
So for those of you that can’t even, I won’t even. And if your first thought on reading that was ‘won’t what?’ as it rightly should have been, then I think I’ve made my point.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.” I find slang as a way for humans to express their true feelings through their words. That’s right, you have a right to slang.
Others may find slang vulgar, sloppy or repetitive, but realize you do not need to listen to it. Stop eavesdropping on it, or express your dislike to the hip-and-happening cool cat you are talking to. If I’m chilling with my homies and you overhear us say some slick words you don’t know, don’t throw off my groove. Simply change the channel, you don’t need to understand every conversation, let alone approve of it.
Slang is casual speech simply out of place for formal occasions, but in everyday speech it holds importance. You can use different styles of language at different times with different people, and you should. You don’t have to talk like you’re in a meeting with friends, but definitely do not be raunchy at the office.
Slang is the freedom to express ourselves on our own terms. It can spice up any conversation because it defies our expectations and sparks our brains. Slang takes you by surprise and challenges your typical form of thought to try and figure out what the wiggety-wiggety-whack someone is talking about.
The people who need the brain exercise of slang the most are those who resist it: older people and those who are stuck in their ways. These people tend to hate surprises, it cramps their old-fashioned style. Some people don’t want the brain work that slang requires, they want things to be easy and predictable. But where’s the fun in that?
Expand your horizons and expand your vocabulary, pick up a few slang words and try to drop them in your daily conversations. The English language is an ever-changing work of art that could use some spice.