Language Matters: Slang — Not Too Cool For School

It’s the part of learning another language that can be the most difficult to pick up — slang.

If something is hip, then it’s cool… or is it hot?  Somehow, being “down to” do something is the same as being “up for” doing something.  And what the heck is “twerking?”

Many English language learners move to the United States to perfect their language and learn American slang.  While they can speak English fluently, they know that their speech is more formal and proper than that of their American peers, and they want to change that.

Stephen Mayeux, teacher of English as a Second Language at UC Davis, has written lessons based around 90′s hip-hop to teach students American ways of speaking.  ”Straight Outta Compton” is a perfect example to teach language learners about variations on pronunciation, substituting the sound “outta” for the words “out of.”

Other language teachers are doing similar things, incorporating slang into their lessons to give students a more complete picture of the language and allowing them to fit in more easily with their native-speaking friends.

How much English slang do you know?  Would you want to take a whole class on slang?

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