My Thoughts On Slang

Language is nothing but a channel by which we convey a message or thoughts and I’ve always believed that all language is powerful as long as communication takes place. Well as we know communication barely takes place. Communication is when the receiver of the message gets exactly what the sender meant.


Now I read an article by my colleague Ernest Mackina on slang. He happened to criticize the use of slang. While I agree with him in some aspects, I beg to differ in other aspects on the subject. I think slang is creative as street code; it may not have made it to “formal” language, but then again, who’s to decide what language is formal or informal? Does language became irrelevant because it has been made by groups of low social status or low “education”?  Given that the role of language I society is to convey a message to intended receivers it’s only intelligent for these people to have a code they identify with amongst themselves. This creates bonds and identity. I can tell someone is from Bulawayo (my hometown) by the slang they use, therefore whenever I feel forsaken in a city that’s not mine I can raise my head when I hear people from my city. They will care.


If the whole hip-hop community understands what the word swagger is, there is no need for it to be formalized in the dictionary by a group of people who probably don’t like the movement in the first place. Anyone who is not part of that culture must not be worried about not understanding that dialect because they do not have to. The message is not for them. Organizations and governments likewise have codes laymen should never know for security reasons.


Creating slang is in fact a form of intelligence and since the masses cling onto slang fast, I suggest that opinion leaders begin to grasp these trends to be one with the people. How do politicians claim to represent people whose code they do not understand? We love your education, but leadership is more than suits, ties, Latin, fluent English and degrees. Those are all good things, they show your level of organization but when you’re confined in them, they show us your closed mindedness and lack of creativity.


I wouldn’t walk to a vendor in the street and say,” May I purchase some credit for my cellular phone.”… no, I’d go and say, “airtime!” brief… but the message reaches. Now tell me, do I not get the credit? Is the motive not fulfilled?

In conclusion all I’m saying is, when slang is used appropriately it can change minds faster that your so called formal lingo.


Every article here is a discussion. Air your view in the comment area and yes you can criticize my view but don’t confuse slang with vulgar language by the way.


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