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доклад Slang, style-shifting and sociability; controversial, spectacular social phenomenon. Elements of a colloquial variant of professional or social group. Defining slang, extent and origins of slang. Distinction between slang and colloquialisms, etymology.


Тип работы: доклад. Предмет: Ин. языки. Добавлен: 10.02.2010. Сдан: 2010. Уникальность по antiplagiat.ru: --.

Описание (план):

Tony Thorne

Slang, style-shifting and sociability
Encounters with what is loosely called `slang' in speech or in print are ubiquitous. In the UK `well-brought-up' speakers move easily in and out of slang in conversation and the previous reluctance by the print and broadcast media to admit slang terms has given way to a tendency to embrace and in some cases to celebrate this extremely informal level of lexis. Interest in collecting and analysing slang is keen especially among adolescent learners, but in Britain, as opposed to the US and certain European countries, teachers and academics have hitherto paid it little or no attention. Although there may be valid reasons for this - it is obvious that the study of non-standard varieties of language is of little use in teaching communication skills or preparing for examinations - we should remind ourselves that any disapproval of slang can only be a social and not a linguistic judgement. Indeed, there are grounds for seeing slang, diffuse and ill-defined as it is as a category, as a particularly interesting aspect of language, both formally in that it mobilises all the morphological and metaphorical possibilities of English (Eble 1996 25-60) - rather as poetry does, but without the dimension of allusiveness and ambiguity - and functionally in that it often occurs in association with heightened self-consciousness and charged social interactions. Lexical innovation is also, of course, a function of cultural change, notoriously raising problems of decoding by `non-natives' (and some natives, too), but worthy of attention for that very reason, especially for working or trainee teachers and translators.
An obvious reason for choosing to concentrate on slang is that it is itself a controversial and spectacular social phenomenon, an `exotic' aspect of an otherwise predictable language environment. An even better reason is that it is a variety which belongs (to a varying degree - of course some young people are quite innocent of non-standard usages) to young people themselves.
The recorded slangs of the past have been quite rightly characterised by Halliday in terms of `antilanguages', the secretive codes of transgressive or deviant subcultures - criminals, beggars, travelling entertainers - with their salient features of relexicalisation and overlexicalisation (Halliday 1978). Later sociolinguists have focused on the role of adolescent slangs in the construction of social identity, among for example street gangs or high school students (Labov 1982, Eckert 1989), showing how acceptance into and exclusion from peer-groups is mediated by slang nomenclature and terminology.
Researchers into adolescent language usage have tended to concentrate on the links between language and hierarchies, status and deployment of social capital. More recently, however, some specialists have started to look at such `carnivalesque' manifestations as profaning, mischief, banter and teasing, the borrowing of ethnically marked codes to signal empathy and solidarity in `crossing' (Rampton 1995), and anticipated a change of emphasis in Bernstein's words `from the dominance of adult-imposed and regulated rituals to dominance of rituals generated and regulated by youth' (Bernstein, cited in Rampton 2003). None of these studies has taken slang into account although there has been a plea, again by Rampton, for more attention to `the social symbolic aspects of formulaic language'.
Eble, in the only book-length study in recent times devoted to North American campus slang, has shown that the slang of middle-class college students is more complex and less a product of alienation than has been assumed in the past (Eble 1996). Her recordings of interactions reveal, too, that the selective and conscious use of slang itself is only part of a broader repertoire of style-shifting in conversation, not primarily to enforce opposition to authority, secretiveness or social discrimination, but often for the purposes of bonding and `sociability' through playfulness.
Eble's tally of student slang, collected at Chapel Hill, North Carolina since 1979, prompted the compiling of a similar database at King's College London. A crude categorisation of the London data (as in the American survey largely donated by students rather than recorded in the field) by semantic clusters gives a picture of student preoccupations that can be compared with the US findings (Thorne 2004 forthcoming). Interpretation is problematical - for example, the large number of terms for intoxication do not prove that London students are necessarily drunkards, but suggest that they do enjoy talking about excessive behaviour.
Tentative insights from the lexicology have been bolstered by analysis of conversations in which slang is used extensively. This also shows in many cases that speakers are operating not as deficient or restricted linguists but as empowered actors, not exactly, in Claire Kramsch's phrase, the `heteroglossic narrators' of recent myth, but enabled to vary their language strategies just as they use assemblage and bricolage in their presentations of self through dress, stance, gesture and accessorising.
By bringing the study of slang into the classroom and helping students to reflect upon their own language practices - especially on how they are potentially or actually able to style-shift and thereby play with identities - we can sensitise them to issues of register, appropriacy and semantic complexity. At a deeper level we can explore together what Bhabha calls the `social process of enunciation' (Bhabha 1992, cited in Kramsch 1997) and bring into play students' values, feelings and allegiances.
If we turn from the mainly monolingual, although multi-ethnic environment of the London campus to that of the international learner, there seem to me to be potential experiential links which suggest themselves in terms of Byram and Zarates' notion of the intercultural learner (1994) and more especially Kramsch's promotion of the `third space' or `third place', a metaphorical or actual setting in which language learners move beyond appropriation or assimilation and explore the actual boundaries between themselves and others, and begin to focus less on the formal features of language and more on the ludic, aesthetic or affective qualities of encounters across languages and cultures (Kramsch 1997). It has been prop и т.д.................

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