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6 Reasons Slang is Important For Language Learning

Content 6 reasons why slang is important

Slang words and phrases are often viewed with derision. Many view them as being only used by the young, uncultured, and uneducated. In truth, there’s a lot of value in slang, meaning that cultures have used slang as well as idiomatic speech and colloquialism for centuries. Refusing to learn slang and related aspects of languages is utterly foolish. In fact, any decent language learning strategies will recognize the importance of learning slang. Here are six reasons this is so.

  1. Effective Language Learning Means Being Able to Communicate With Everyone

You cannot really say that you have mastered a language if you can only effectively communicate with a portion of the people who speak that language. Slang is everywhere. Imagine trying to navigate a city where you can only truly understand half of the people you encounter. Whether you are learning a language as a tourist, student, or business professional understanding slang is key to communicating with people you may encounter.

  1. Slang And Idioms Often Have Deep Ties to Culture

Slang isn’t simply words and phrases concocted by silly people for frivolous reasons. Slang is often developed from the cultural experiences of each generation. It helps them to establish their own shared language. Slang terms are coined by authors, poets, artists, musicians, soldiers, and protesters. Slang along with colloquialisms and idioms also go hand in hand with sub groups within majority cultures. It helps these groups create and maintain a unique identity.

  1. Today's Slang Could Easily Become Mainstream Language Very Quickly

If someone used the word ‘neat’ to describe something, you wouldn’t accuse them of basely using a slang term when something more proper would have been a better choice. The same goes for the word ‘cool’. These are no longer words used by fringe groups or teenagers trying out the latest words and phrases they picked up on the street. Instead, they have long since moved into the mainstream.

That’s happening even faster today. In fact, new words are added to dictionaries every year. Some of these come into common use because they are related to technology. Others because they move from different cultures into the mainstream.

  1. Learning Slang Language Improves Cultural Experiences

Slang is in art. It’s in music. It’s in literature, movies, television shows, even advertising. If you don’t understand it, you can miss out on some great cultural experiences. Worse, what you do experience may be full of holes, leaving you struggling to enjoy it. If you master all of a language, including slang going to the theater, watching movies, even attending sporting events are that much more fulfilling.

  1. Slang Can be Used For Creative And Romantic Expression

Imagine trying to write an impassioned essay on a socio-political issue in your native language. The only constraint is that you must use the most formal, academically accepted language. Now, imagine trying to write a romantic letter using the same limitations. Chances are, that impassioned essay would read like boring treatise. That romantic letter would be stiff and overly formal.

Slang can add passion and intensity to your writing. It can express emotions more effectively than words and phrases that are older and deemed by some as more acceptable. Remember that even Shakespeare used slang in his plays.

  1. Knowing Slang Can Prevent Misunderstandings
  • Phat
  • Dope
  • Killer
  • I’m Weak

These are just a couple of English, slang terms that could potentially be misinterpreted as being offensive or insulting. However, these are anything but fighting words. The first three are complimentary, and the last refers to someone who is laughing so hard at something that they feel as if they could fall over. By understanding slang, you can avoid becoming offended where no offense was intended. You can also avoid using terms that may cause others to be upset or confused.

Conclusion

To truly learn and understand a language, you have to master every aspect of that language. This includes slang, idioms, and regional dialects. In some cases, it is even desirable to understand words and phrases that are no considered to be archaic. When we review translation services, we make an effort to recommend those that have shown a propensity for using translators that understand this. After all, the ability to provide translation and localization services that meet the needs of businesses and individuals requires the ability to understand slang as well as ‘proper’ language.