Slang is lit
Should we teach slang - for teachers; A Guide to American College Slang Words in 2022 - for students; Personal experience - Asmik Stepanyan.
TEACHING SLANG AND NEOLOGISMS
English teachers are well aware of the vast difference between formal English and ordinary spoken English. Nevertheless, for teachers who speak a native or exceptionally high degree of fluency, this is simple to overlook.
We seldom realize how much slang comes into ordinary English because we encounter it everywhere - while chatting with native speakers, on TV, in mainstream music, and so on. Indeed, many English learners may have only been exposed to colloquial English before doing any their language studies.
Yet, this exposure might have issues of its own: these learners will probably not be aware of when to use English slang and will frequently speak in either very informal ways in settings that need a more serious tone or be too formal in a casual setting. For those who have had little to no contact with slang or neologism, however, huge chunks of casual speech may be hard to grasp.
Understanding English native speakers, from either the United States, the United Kingdom, or somewhere else, is extremely difficult without knowing fundamental English slang. However, textbooks frequently fail to incorporate it, partly because slang is continuously evolving, meaning that what was trendy two years ago may no longer be used.
If you want to include slang into your curriculum, you need be prepared to undertake some extra research ahead of time to ensure your slang is up to date and to discover creative methods to help students remember them.
By teaching slang you can:
broaden their vocabulary to incorporate additional idioms and phrasal verbs
assist them in becoming more natural in the way they speak and express themselves
help your students in developing speaking fluency and listening comprehension
introduce your students to various styles of speech observed in media
help your students to develop communicative skills and listening comprehension
assist your students in becoming more comfortable with common conversation
It is critical to clarify when it is OK to use slang and when it is not. Slang is often not suitable in classrooms. Would you say to your teacher or instructor, "Yo dawg! How's it hanging?" I don't believe so. Similarly, you should encourage your pupils to address some people officially rather than casually.
Choosing which slang terms to teach might sometimes be difficult. English dialects are so unique and diverse that it would be difficult to teach students the intricacies of each. A teacher must select whether to concentrate on a certain geographical location from which to pull their slang or to present a sampling from several places. When dealing with this conundrum, I believe a teacher should allow the learners' interests lead them. If a large number of students exhibit enthusiasm to learn about Australian culture and a wish to go there, the teacher could make an attempt to include Australian slang into the course.
Slang terms can be taught through a variety of methods. One entertaining and engaging approach is to display a popular TV show or movie clip and have pupils identify unknown terms. Alternatively, before seeing the film, the instructor might pre-teach slang from it. This may be too advanced for beginners.
Slang terms, on the other hand, can be supplied alongside the more standard words. When teaching students how to introduce themselves, for example, a teacher can use the greeting "What's up?" in addition to "How are you today?"
Do you teach slang to your students? Why (not)? When do you think it is appropriate?
A Guide to American College Slang Words in 2022
“YOLO!” “I can’t even…” “Epic!”
For international students, learning a new language like English can be tricky, especially American slang. You may hear dozens of slang words around your college campus. You might even hear some current trendy words and phrases at your internship or job. Our guide to college slang and American slang 2022 will help you better understand new slang words and how to use them.
What Is Slang?
Slang words are specific words or phrases that have a cultural definition that is different from the literal definition. For example, when you “keep your cool,” you are not talking about the temperature. You are saying that you will stay calm under pressure.
Cool slang changes constantly. Some phrases, like “what’s up?”, have been around so long that they have become idioms, or common expressions where the meaning of certain word combinations are really different from their literal meaning. An example of an idiom is “out of the blue” to indicate something that happened without warning.
Other slang words are trendy, or come from current music, TV, or movies, and are only used for a short time. For example, try saying Wazzzup to one of your classmates and see how they respond. (They might laugh, and not in a good way.)
Knowing how and when to use slang words or college slang will help you connect with and better understand American students. As a general rule, you can use current trendy words and phrases with your friends and classmates, but should use more formal English when speaking to professors and coworkers. If you use current slang in more formal settings, like at work, people might see you as rude or unprofessional.
Origin of Slang Today
Pop culture and youth culture tend to create new slang words and trends. Historically, that meant that the TV shows, pop and hip-hop music, movies, and video games popular with kids, teens, and young adults influenced current slang. While those forms of media still shape new slang words and cool slang, young people now tend to spend more time online – and with that shift, the internet, and especially social media, drive the majority of American slang in 2022.
So, if you want to get a sense of the most up-to-date and trendiest American slang, it’s all on the social media platforms that young people use the most: Get a sense of the latest cool slang and college slang by watching how TikTok and Instagram creators speak. Note which hashtags are used frequently. Pay attention to the context in how slang words are used online. Nowadays, most current trendy words and phrases get their start – and take off – on social media.
American Slang by Region
While the internet and pop culture have created common American slang around the country (and often the globe), keep in mind that different areas of the country may use different slang words. This means the Northeast, South, Midwest, Southwest, Pacific Northwest, and West Coast will likely have their own local cool slang.
So, for example, if you go to school at the University of the Pacific in California, you may hear slightly different college slang from current slang at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Or, sometimes, the same slang word may have slightly different meanings in different places – so a college slang word that is cool at Adelphi University may not be at Louisiana State University, or vice versa.
For examples of regional slang words, you may hear a student in Boston say something is “wicked good” (which just means something is very good). A student in Texas or South Carolina may say “y’all should come to the game later” (meaning you or the group of you). And in Philadelphia, “jawn” can be substituted for almost any noun (“we’re taking this jawn to the bank”).
Wherever you decide to study, you’ll quickly hear the local current slang – and it may even become part of your own vocabulary!
Of course, there are always American slang words that will be used across the country. Here’s a list of just a few college slang words you’ll hear, no matter where you go.
Top 10 American Slang Words in 2022
Adjective - Rich, luxurious, special, fancy.
Example: “She’s so boujee with that Louis Vuitton bag.”
Adjective - Amazing, really good.
Example: “Those potato chips are bussin’.”
Adjective - Stylish, sophisticated clothes or appearance.
Example: “Li’s shoes and belt are dripping today.”
Adjective - Dramatic, attention-grabbing, too much.
Example: “You don’t have to be so extra about it!”
Adverb - To become an obsession, to dominate someone’s thoughts.
Example: “Since I saw Shang-Chi, Simu Liu is living rent-free inside my head.”
Adverb - To overreact.
Example: “He got so salty after I didn’t text back right away.”
Adjective - Stunned, shocked.
Example: “That Oscar slap has me shook.”
Verb - To make sure someone is having a good time.
Example: Sanjit: “Hey, Amir, vibe check!”
Amir: “Vibe all good.”
Adjective - Socially conscious, culturally aware.
Example: “After his Modern Perspectives in Poetry course, he became woke to different points of view.”
Other Common Slang Words
Our list of American slang includes some of the more common slang words along with their definitions. If you are not sure about whether you should use these slang words, you can check with a friend or research specific slang phrases online using a site like UrbanDictionary to make sure it is OK for the setting.
All the ___ (phrase)
An exaggeration to show strong feelings, usually in a positive way.
Example: “This song gives me all the feels.”
Example: “I’m so amped for tonight’s basketball game!”
An insult that means something or someone is boring or uncool.
Example: “Let’s get out of here. This party is basic.”
Blow off steam (phrase)
Get rid of extra energy, stress, or anger.
Example: “She’ll be OK after she blows off some steam.”
Break a leg (phrase)
A way to wish someone good luck, often before a performance of some kind.
Example: “She’s so nice, she told me to break a leg on stage tonight.”
Short for “brother,” “bro” is used instead of first names among friends, typically men.
Example: “What’s up, bro?”
Chill or chill out (verb)
Relax, calm down, or be easygoing.
Example: “We’re done with exams, so let’s just chill tonight.”
Cray or cray cray (adjective)
Shortened version of crazy – something wild or out of control.
Example: “The new Beyoncé album is cray.”
Curve ball (noun)
Something tricky or unexpected, like trying to hit a curve ball in baseball.
Example: “I wasn’t expecting that assignment to be so hard.” “Yeah, it was a real curve ball.”
To leave a place or person unexpectedly, or to not show up to prior plans.
Example: “I had to ditch study group because my dad called.”
A casual greeting used instead of first names.
Example: “Hey dude, how’s it going?”
Especially awesome, big, strong, or incredible.
Example: “Did you see that movie? So epic.”
Someone who really likes a particular thing. Short for fanatic.
Example: “All the college football fans must be excited for the big game.”
For real (phrase)
To agree with someone, emphasize a statement, or ask if someone is serious.
Example: “This is my favorite class so far!” “For real?”
Get off my back (phrase)
When you want someone to stop bothering or pressuring you about something.
Example: “Get off my back about wearing my pajamas in the dining hall. They’re really comfortable!”
Greek life (noun)
The collection of campus social organizations for male (fraternities) or female (sororities) students. Each fraternity or sorority is named with Greek letters, such as alpha or beta.
Example: “I heard the Greek life on campus is pretty fun.”
Hang out (verb)
Spend time or do something with friends.
Example: “I’m going to hang out with my best friend this weekend.”
Hit the books (verb)
To study. Can also mean to do homework (or assignments meant to be done outside of class).
Example: “The big test is coming up. Time to hit the books.”
I can’t even (phrase)
Expression of being overwhelmed with something, usually in a somewhat joking and positive manner. Short for “I can’t even handle…” or “I can’t even deal…”.
Example: “I can’t even with these French fries. So good!”
I dunno (phrase)
The short form of “I don’t know.”
Example: “Where are my sneakers?” “I dunno.”
I’m down (phrase)
You agree or are interested.
Example: “Want to go to the movies tonight?” “Oh yeah, I’m down.”
K or KK (abbreviation)
Short for “okay.” Pronounced “kay.” A way to agree with something or to confirm what someone asks, without showing too much excitement.
Example: “Want to go to the mall later?” “K.”
Keep your cool (phrase)
Staying calm in a stressful situation.
Example: “I know you’re worried about the test, but you’ll do better work if you keep your cool.”
Something that is good or worthwhile. Short for legitimate (meaning authentic or real).
Example: “That 65% off sale at the campus store is totally legit.”
Short for magazine.
Example: “Have you read this sports mag?”
A mistake or misunderstanding that causes confusion.
Example: “There was a mix-up and I accidentally grabbed the wrong book for today’s class.”
No problem or no worries (phrase)
A way to answer when someone says thank you. It reassures the person that whatever you did was not difficult.
Example: “Thank you for holding the door.” “No worries.”
Abbreviation for “Oh my god.” Pronounced oh-em-gee. Often used to express surprise, excitement, or disgust.
Example: “OMG, I got an A on my final exam!”
Finished, all done.
Example: “I don’t want to hear another word from you, period.”
With friends, many US students call their professors “prof” – but calling professors “prof” to their faces is typically considered too informal.
Example: “My economics prof checks our attendance every single day!”
An outdoor gathering space surrounded by buildings, often on a college campus.
Example: “Meet me after class on the quad so we can play soccer.”
Example: “My roomie and I are going to the concert tonight.”
Root for (verb)
To cheer for or support something or someone, such as a sports team.
Example: “I can’t go to the football game this Saturday, but I’ll be rooting for them anyway.”
A picture you take of yourself, either alone or with other people.
Example: “Did you see the cute selfie Emma posted to Instagram?”
Third wheel (phrase)
Someone who is not needed or wanted in a situation, typically with a romantic couple.
Example: “Why is your friend on this date with us? He’s kind of a third wheel.”
Short for “totally” and often used to agree with someone.
Example: “I should finish my reading assignment before we play video games.” “Totes.”
Used to describe something that is ordinary, boring, or uninspiring. Based on vanilla ice cream being seen as a very normal flavor.
Example: “Last week’s class lecture was really exciting, but this one was a little vanilla for me.”
Someone who is shy and tries to remain unnoticed at parties.
Example: “So are you a wallflower, or do you just like hiding behind the couch at parties?”
What’s up?or What’s good? (greeting)
A way to say hello or ask someone what they are doing.
Example: “Hey, what’s up?” “What’s good, my man?” “Not much, just got out of math class.”
A not very serious motivational phrase, short for “you only live once.” Pronounced “yo-low.”
Example: “I know I shouldn’t eat that whole pizza by myself but YOLO.”
Zone out (verb)
To get distracted and not pay attention to what is happening around you.
Example: “I zoned out during the TV show and missed how it ended.”
Do you study slang terms? Which phrases/words are your favourite?
Hello! My name is Asmik, and I have been an English teacher for more than six years. My students are of different ages and have different educational and professional background. One thing that they all have in common is that they all of them want
to master real-life language, and learning slang and neologisms is the integral part of any language. That’s why frequently incorporate them in my classes.
First of all, it’s important to understand the difference between slang and neologisms.
Slang is words or phrases which are considered informal and are typically used in speech more often than in writing. They are usually specific to a particular group of people or context; therefore, the meanings may not be apparent to all people.
Some examples of modern slang: “Lit” refers to something that is awesome or amazing. “The party was lit” means that it was on fire and full of energy. “Gucci” means good or going well. “Ann is coming home tomorrow, so it’s all gucci”. “Epic” is used to describe something impressive. “The view is epic”.
Neologisms are newly created words used in expressions. Language constantly evolves, and new words are added to the language. However, not all neologisms are new: some are formed from new uses of old words, others are combinations of
new and old words. For example, two words are blended and a completely new word has been created: smoke+fog=smog or breakfast+lunch=brunch, spoon+fork=spork. Another example of popular neologisms are “Banana Republic” and “Freelancer”.
The first one was first used in a short story by O’Henry. Later the politicians started exploiting this term in referring to non-stable countries that depend upon exported products. Walter Scott devised the term “Free Lancers” in one of his novels for
people hired as militants.
My students, teens in particular, are really keen on learning slang and neologisms. They frequently ask me the meaning of this or that slang or neologism which they see in literature, music lyrics, movies or TV shows, and even in adverts. Having learned the most common words, they become more confident as it improves their cultural experiences and prevents them from being misinterpreted.
Let me tell you a story that happened with one of my students called Ann. She
was communicating with a foreign friend and after telling him a funny story, she got a message from him: “I am so weak”. So, she wrote back: “Oh, so bad, get well. Did you catch a cold?”. Her friend couldn’t understand at first, but then he realized that
Ann just didn’t catch the meaning of the phrase and kindly explained that by saying “I am so weak” he meant that he was amused by the story. Origin could be from the fact that while laughing so hard your body becomes weak. Therefore, I always try to keep track of new slang terms. I get information from different Internet sources, often watch new TV youth shows and movies, listen to new tracks to keep up with new trends and transmit information to my students.
To truly learn and understand the language, you have to master all the aspects of it. It includes slang, neologisms, and even various dialects. New words and phrases will always come up in the communication. However much or little you like it; I truly believe that they’re an essential part of the language and should be taught to help the students learn how to speak English naturally as they hold casual conversations with native speakers.
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