Slang, especially as an indicator of the evolution of language, is fascinating. Slang is defined as “the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker’s language or dialect but are considered acceptable in certain social settings. Slang expressions may act as euphemisms and may be used as a means of identifying with one’s peers.” Needless to say, slang changes as the times change. Dude, the slang used when I was growing up is way different from the slang used now. Slang also varies epically by region.
I recently came across two different articles about current American slang. One described how the punctuation slash (/) has not only entered our vocabulary to mean two or more of the same thing, but is now being written out as “slash” to mean the same thing as “/”. Example: “Does anyone care if my cousin comes and visits slash stays with us Friday night?” Not only has this piece of punctuation turned into a spoken word, but its written form is now being used. More confusingly, the word is now being used to add something as a follow up phrase. Example: “I really love that hot dog place on Liberty Street. Slash can we go there tomorrow?”
The second new slang phenomenon is how young people in Baltimore are using the word “yo” to replace “he” or “she” in instances where the gender of the person is unknown. A study ‘found the kids used “yo” instead of “he” or “she” when they didn’t know the gender of the character. But they also used “yo” as a substitute even when they did know the gender.’ For example: “Yo threw a thumbtack at me” (instead of he/she threw a thumbtack at me).
It takes a wickedly talented author to convincingly incorporate slang into yo books without sounding like a derp (like I do in this post). These sick books explore slang in all its fantastic glory. Grab a book, sit back, and just moss. YOLO, right?