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Special Colloquial Vocabulary.

The colloquial layer of words as qualified in most English and American dictionaries is not infrequently limited to a definite language community or confined to a special locality when it circulates. It falls into the following groups: 1. common colloquial words; 2. slang; 3. jargonisms; 4. professionalisms; 5. dialect words; 6. vulgar words; 7. colloquial coinages. They all have a tinge of informality or familiarity about them. There is nothing ethically improper in their stylistic colouring, except that they cannot be used in formal speech.

1) Slang . Slang is part of the vocabularyconsisting of commonlyunderstood and widely used wordsand expressions of humorous and derogatory character – intentional substitutes for neutral or elevated words and expressions. Slang never goes stale, it is replaced by a new slangism. The reason of appearance of slang is in the aspiration of the speaker to novelty and concreteness. As soon as a slangish word comes to be used because of its intrinsic merits, not because it is the wrong word and therefore a funny word, it ceases to be slang – it becomes a colloquial word, and later perhaps even an ordinary neutral word. Here are instances of words which first appeared as slang, but are quite neutral today: skyscraper, cab, taxi, movies, pub, .photo

Slang is not homogenious stylistically. There are many kinds of slang, e.g. Cockney, public-house, commercial, military, theatrical, parliamentary and others. There is also a standard slang, the slang common to all those who though using received standard English in their writing and speech, also use an informal language.

Here are more examples of slang. Due to its striving to novelty slang is rich in synonyms.

FOOD: chuck, chow, grub, hash;

MONEY: jack, tin, brass, oof, slippery stuff.

Various figures of speech participate in slang formation.

2) Jargonisms is a recognized term for a group of words that exists in almost every language and whose aim is to preserve secrecy within one or another social group. Jargonisms are generally old words with entirely new meanings imposed on them. Most of the jargonisms of any language, and of the English language too, are absolutely incomprehensible to those outside the social group which has invented them. They may be defined as a code within a code, that is special meanings of words that are imposed on the recognized code—the dictionary meaning of the words.

Thus the word grease means 'money'; loaf means 'head'; a tiger hunter is 'a gambler'; a lexer is 'a student preparing for a law course'.

Jargonisms are social in character. They are not regional. In Britain and in the US almost any social group of people has its own jargon. The following jargons are well known in the English language: the jargon of thieves and vagabonds, generally known as cant; the jargon of jazz people; the jargon of the army, known as military slang; the jargon of sportsmen, and many others.

3) Professionalisms are the words used in a definite trade, profession or calling by people connected by common interests both at work and at home. Professionalisms are correlated to terms. Terms, as has already been indicated, are coined to nominate new concepts that appear in the process of, and as a result of, technical progress and the development of science. In distinction from slang, jargonisms and professionalisms cover a narrow semantic field, for example connected with the technical side of some profession.



Professional words name anew already-existing concepts, tools or instruments, and have the typical properties of a special code. The main feature of a professionalism is its technicality. Professionalisms are special words in the non-literary layer of the English vocabulary, whereas terms are a specialized group belonging to the literary layer of words. Professionalisms are not known to simple people.

4) Dialectal words are those which in the process of integration of the English national language remained beyond its literary boundaries, and their use is generally confined to a definite locality. We exclude here what are called social dialects or even the still looser application of the term as in expressions like poetical dialect or styles as dialects.

Dialectal words are normative and devoid of any stylistic meaning in regional dialects, but used outside of them, carry a strong flavour of the locality where they belong. DW has application limited to a certain group of people or to certain communicative situations.

5) Vulgar words or vulgarisms:

1) expletives and swear words which are of an abusive character, like 'damn', 'bloody', 'to hell', 'goddam' and, as some dictionaries state, used now, as general exclamations;

2) obscene words. These are known as four-letter words the use of which is banned in any form of intercourse as being indecent.

The function of expletives is almost the same as that of interjections, that is to express strong emotions, mainly annoyance, anger, vexation and the like. They are not to be found in any functional style of language except emotive prose, and here only in the direct speech of the characters.


Date: 2015-12-17; view: 1594


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Colloquial coinages (words and meanings) | Poetic and Highly Literary Words
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