The Life of Slang

The Life of Slang : A History of Slang

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This book traces the development of English slang from the earliest records to the latest tweet. It explores why and how slang is used, and traces the development of slang in English-speaking nations around the world. The records of the Old Bailey and machine-searchable newspaper collections provide a wealth of new information about historical slang, while blogs and tweets provide us with a completely new perspective on contemporary slang. Based on inside information from real live slang users as well as the best scholarly sources, this book is guaranteed to teach you some new words that you shouldn't use in polite company. Teachers, politicians, broadcasters, and parents characterize the language of teenagers as sloppy, repetitive, and unintelligent, but these complaints are nothing new. In 1906, an Australian journalist overheard some youths on a street-corner: Things will be bally slow till next pay-day. I've done in nearly all my spond. Here, now; cheese it, or I'll lob one in your lug. Lend us a cigarette. Lend it; oh, no, I don't part. Look out, here's a bobby going to tell us to shove along. What, he wondered, was the world coming to. For the 411, read on more

Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 142 x 218 x 32mm | 559.99g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Figures
  • 0199571996
  • 9780199571994
  • 97,368

About Julie Coleman

Julie Coleman was born in Coventry and attended Finham Park Comprehensive. She studied at Manchester University and King's College London, taught at Lund University in Sweden, and is now a Professor in the School of English at the University of Leicester. She has written several books about more

Review quote

This book offers an entertaining and informative insight into the living and ever-developing creature that is slang in the English language. The title is particularly fitting, given that the book provides a natural history of slang, i.e., how it is created, how it develops, how it adapts and survives, and how it spreads into wider use. Forum for Modern Language Studies Enjoyable and succinct. Rarely, since Eric Partridge, has any scholar evinced such pleasure in the vulgar tongue... Coleman is a "top banana". Robert McCrum, The Observer Completely fascinating ... immensely enjoyable ... Coleman's thinking lifts this book above the usual semi-disposable level of writing about rude words. James McConnachie, The Sunday Times Coleman relishes slang in all its chewy, vigorous glory, and gives a sociological insight ... This book is the 'cat's whiskers' The Independent on Sundayshow more

Table of contents

1. What is Slang? ; 2. Spawning ; 3. Development ; 4. Survival and Metamorphosis ; 5. The Spread of Slang ; 6. Prigs, Culls, and Blosses: Cant and Flash Language ; 7. Jolly Good Show: British Slang to the Twentieth Century ; 8. Whangdoodles and Fixings: Early American Slang ; 9. Bludgers, Sooks and Moffies: English Slang around the World ; 10. Top Bananas and Bunny-boilers: The Media and Entertainment Age ; 11. Leet to Lols: The Digital Age ; 12. Endsville ; Acknowledgements ; Explanatory Notesshow more
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