Chapter 1. Theoretical framework
1.1 Origin of slang and its definition
Slang, being one of the integral parts of English vocabulary, has recently energetically penetrated into books, everyday speech and the film industry. In the modern world, language is constantly developing. Language is inseparable from culture, being a product and reflection of the culture of its bearers. Events that relate to humanity directly affect the development of spoken language, are reflected in various languages of the world and add more and more phrases and expressions to the vocabulary of modern society. Political elections, wars or technological progress are all examples of the constant changes of the modern world that affect the emergence of new, more modern slang.
In the Middle Ages, such writers as Jeffrey Chaucer, William Caxton, William Malmesbury revealed territorial differences in pronunciation and dialects. This was the first definition of the concept of “slang”. However, the modern meaning of the concept of “slang” did not appear earlier than the 16th-17th centuries. At the end of the 16th century the English Jargon appeared. It was a new kind of speech used by criminals and scammers in drinking establishments and gambling houses. At first English Criminal Jargon was considered foreign. So, many scientists assumed that it either originated in Romania, or had something to do with the French language.
There are several works devoted specifically to the thieves’ language, dating back to the 15th-16th centuries. One of the most significant works in this area is the dictionary by H. Harm (London, 1565), whose work was inspired by the work of R. Copeland (Coplend R. The Hye Way to the Spyttel Hous, 1530-1540).
Later, numerous works followed, in which, along with jargon, “slang” vocabulary was used. Among them, the most prominent are: Greene R. “A notable discovery of coosnage” (1591); Th. Dekker “The shoemaker’s holiday” (1599); R. Head “Canting academy, or villainies discovered” (1674); “The dictionary of the canting crew, ancient and modern, of gypsies, beggars, thieves”, London, 1699 2.
In 1736, “Canting Dictionary thieving slang” by N. Bailey was published, which contains many examples of slang related to sex, prison slang and even street slang expressions of the 17th century.
As of today, there is no consensus on the interpretation of the concept of “slang”. It does not contain terminological precision, and different linguists define it differently. Numerous dictionaries offer different interpretations of this concept. For example, “Oxford Dictionary & Th?s?urus of Current English” gives the following definition: “… a type of the language of a variety of words and phrases that are considered as very informal, are more common in speech than writing, and are restricted to a particular cont?xt or group of people “6.
The “Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English” offers another interpretation: “… very informal, sometimes offensive,” that is, especially people who belong to the particular group, such as young people or criminals. “5.
Among the researchers of slang there is also no shared view on the interpretation of the concept of “slang”. One of the famous explorers of slang
E. Partridge, as well as his followers J. Greenock and K.I. Kittridge defines slang as “… the quite unstable, not codified, and often completely disorderly and random totality of lexemes that reflect the public consciousness of people belonging to a particular social or professional environment” 2, p. 9.
Thus, slang is seen as the deliberate use of elements of the literary standard in colloquial speech for purely stylistic purposes:
– to create the effect of novelty, unusualness, difference from universally recognized samples;
– to reflect a certain mood of the speaker, to give the utterance a concreteness, liveliness, expressiveness, brevity, imagery.
Such stylistic means as metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, euphemism, litota help to achieve these goals.
Another well-known researcher of slang J. Hotten describes slang as a street language full of humor.
Often slang is looked upon in the so-called “psychological aspect”. Slang implies a certain product of individual linguistics of representatives of certain social and professional groups. It is the linguistic formulation of the social consciousness of people belonging to one or another medium.
The etymology of the term “slang” also creates a huge amount of controversy among researchers. It is one of the most controversial and intricate issues in English lexicology. The difficulty in revealing the origin of the term lies in its multivaluedness and different interpretation of slang by the authors of dictionaries and research over the last two hundred years. The term “slang” was first mentioned in the literature, such as: “Language of a low or vulgar type” in 1756. Thus, it is possible to trace the evolution of the development of this concept. Since 1802, slang has been understood to mean: “The cant or jargon of a certain period”, and since 1818 the definition «Language of a highly colloquial type, considered as below the level of standard educated speech, and consisting either of new words or of current words employed in some special sense» 3, ?. 381.
One of the earliest interpreters of the etymology of the word “slang” was
J. Hothen, who claimed that it comes from the gypsy word “slang”, meaning “secret language”.
In addition, some researchers are confident that the word “slang” is of Scandinavian origin. For example, G. Wilde and E. Weekley believe that it has a common origin with the Norwegian “slénja-ord” – “a new slang word”, “slénja-namm” – “nickname” and “slänja-kjeften” in the sense of “scolding, insult someone’. In English there is also a similar idiom with the same meaning “to sling the jaw”, which at the moment is already obsolete.
It can also be assumed that the English word “slang” emerged as a result of contamination of several roots. First of all, it goes back to the root “length”.
Md Greek “elegho” – “I scold, I offend”; “Eleghos” – “reproach, swearing.” In modern English territorial dialects, “slang” is found not only in the meaning of “abusive language, impertinence”, but also in the meaning of “talk, conversation”.
1.2 Slang word-formation
Some main word-formations of slang are compounding, clipping and blending.
Compounds can be created from individual words of various parts of speech. Probably the most common type is NOUN + NOUN pattern: hometown, boyfriend, music box, tennis court, etc. Other popular and ordinary parts are ADJECTIVE + NOUN pattern: short story, heavy water, heavy traffic, big toe, etc, and NOUN + VERB pattern: placekick, home run, baby- sit, clockwork or heart attack, etc.
The ordinary processes of compounding are a major source of new words in slang. The WORD + WORD structure for many slang items is obvious and the meaning can be easily derived from the parts: dough-brain “someone who acts stupidly or as if not thinking”, all-nighter “a session of studying or writing that lasts all night” or do-right “a helpful deed”.
A very large number of verbs in slang are formed by the addition of a short and invariant word like out, on, up or off to a word of any part of speech: harsh on “criticize”, mommy up “love, hug, comfort”, blow off “miss class, ignore responsibility”, beam out “daydream”, blow out “shock, embarrass”, bomb out “fail, perform poorly”, check out “look at, scrutinize”, chill out “relax, calm down”, etc.
The most frequent pattern of clipping is the loss of sounds from the ends of words. The most common pattern is back-clipping, in which the beginning of a base lexeme is retained (lab from laboratory, exam from examination, doc from doctor, pop from popular music). Other patterns are fore-clipping, in which the final part of the word is retained (phone from telephone, chute from parachute, pike from turnpike, gator from alligator), middle clipping in which the middle part of the word is retained (flu from influenza, tec from detective), and complex clipping or clipped compounds in which one part of the original compound most often remains intact (cablegram from cable telegram, op art from optical art, orgman from organization man).
Clipping is also common in slang. They are primarily shortenings of nouns and adjectives: coke from cocaine, cred from credit/credibility, crim from criminal, fave from favourite, hyper from hyperactive, bro from brother, rehab from rehabilitation, etc.
Blending is a combination of shortening and compounding, the process of blending puts together pieces of words and their meanings. Thus brunch is formed from breakfast and lunch and means “a meal that combines breakfast and lunch”.
Blending slang though is not much but they are still popular in use: buel (body + fuel) “to eat voraciously”, droned (drunk + stoned) “unaware because of alcohol or drugs”, froyo ( frozen yogurt), polislide (political science + slide)” easy political science course”, etc.
The term “gender” came to linguistics from anthropology in the early 70s of the twentieth century. For the first time G. Rubin used it in the article “Exchange of women. Notes on the “political economy” of the sex” and is defined as “a set of conventions that entail a regulatory influence on the biological sex as an object of social activity “1, 108. The purpose of the term “gender” is demarcation of sociocultural (gender) and purely biological (sex) characteristics of a person 2, 7.
A gender stereotype is a separate type of stereotype, which reflects culturally and socially conditioned thoughts and presuppositions about indicators, attributes and norms of behavior of representatives of both sexes in the language. Each society in a certain period of its historical development forms stereotyped standards of femininity and masculinity, in other words, stereotypes of “typical woman” and “typical man”, that is, features, norms, roles, typical or desirable for those whom society singles out as men or women.
English-speaking society turned out to be controlled by men who occupy the main positions in public life, business, politics. All these realities were represented by the term male-dominated society 3. A woman, according to gender stereotypes, is weak, passive, depends on the man, serves as a keeper of the hearth. Such inequality in gender linguistics has been called “gender asymmetry”, which became the core of feminist linguistics research.
Gender asymmetry in the language is an uneven representation in the language of different sexes. The basis of this statement was formed by one of the main postulates of feminist linguistics: language illustrates the picture of the world from a male point of view, so it is not only anthropocentric (focused on human), but also androcentric (focused on a man). Thus, language creates a picture of the world based on the male point of view, from the point of view of the male perspective, where the female appears mainly in the role of the object, in the role of “another”, “alien” or even ignored 4, 55.
Studies of gender asymmetry of language have also contributed to a deeper study, and in some cases even revision, of word-formative and nominative language systems. The main achievement of feminist linguistics lies in the fact that it allowed the woman to “see herself differently” through language, overcome some male asymmetry and dominance in the language.
Socioeconomic changes in the world, demographic trends, crucial changes in the workforce structure, redistribution of family duties and roles, women’s struggle for their rights and feminism altogether led to an enhancement of the women’s role and status in the modern world, particularly in English-speaking countries, which has been reflected in the language at the lexical level as well.
Modern scientists (M. Blokh, N. Kobrina, M. Kolpakchi, I. Lalayants, etc.) agree that the category of gender in modern English should be considered not grammatical, but semantic, that is, based on the lexical meaning of the word. Therefore, a significant role in the definition of the gender category in English play gender-marked units -“nominative units that subject the main participants to a gender-relevant subject-referenced situation – referents a man and a woman” 2, 61.
According to the means of gender expression in the vocabulary of modern English, we can distinguish several types of gender markers: semantic and structural (morphological and syntactic) gender markers.
Semantically labeled nominative units do not contain gender markers, but are mainly used with male or female reference, conventionally assigned to them in the lexical system of the English language. According to the gender classification of nouns the following subgroups on semantic level are distinguished:
• inanimate nouns of a neutral gender (neuter): table, nature, love, forest 5;
• animate nouns of a general gender (common): doctor, teacher, inhabitant, individual, president, guest 5;
• animate nouns of masculine gender (masculine): father, brother, son, husband, bachelor, ox 5;
• animate nouns of feminine gender (feminine): mother, sister, daughter 5.
Structurally marked nominative units contain gender markers of two types: morphological and syntactic.
The morphological markers are the suffix morphemes -ess, -trix, -euse, -ette, -ine, -enne, -ene, -en, -e, -a, which form the feminine derivates from generic nominations, for example: actor – actress, waiter – waitress, poet – poetess, hero – heroine 5, as well as semantically marked nominative foundations with male and female reference categories, which form complex nominations. As part of a complex word, a gender marker can be represented both in pre- and in postposition: male-frog, bell-boy, milkmaid, businesswoman 5.
Syntactic markers include the male and female reference lexemes: male, man (men) / female, woman (women), lady, boy / girl, which form word combinations of different levels of stability: from free: lady doctor – a woman licensed to practice medicine, male prostitute – a man who engages in sexual intercourse for money 8, 635, to the phraseological: lady of easy virtue – promiscuous woman, one easily seduced and bedded 8, 452, family man – a man who is married and has children, devoted to his family 8, 243.
“Female” markers are used to form the nominations, which designate the prestigious, or so-called “male” areas of activity, where men predominate, for example: woman astronaut, woman priest, female lawyer, woman police constable 8.
“Male” markers occur among a small group of nominations that denote auxiliary professions: a male secretary, a male nurse, or are related to attractiveness: male model, or providing of sexual services: male prostitute, male stripper 10, 45.
Structured gender markers can give a gender reference to a nomination explicitly or implicitly. If there is an explicit gender marker, the gender reference of a nominative unit is stable and does not depend on the linguistic (extralinguistic) context: waitress, schoolboy.
In case of an implicit gender marker, referential attribution of a nominative unit is unstable and is determined by both the linguistic and extralinguistic context of the discourse.
As a kind of marker can serve grammatical forms of personal (he / him, she / her), possessive (his, her / hers) and reflexive (himself / herself) third person singular pronouns, correlated with male or female referent.
One of the cases of structural marking is the gender differentiation of conventional identifiers, which stand before the surname (less often the name and surname) of the referent-person, for example: Mr White-Mrs / Miss White. These gender identifiers are called titles of courtesy or titles of respect.
While English codes natural gender primarily through lexical items (e.g., girl–boy) and through some pronouns (e.g., she–he and him– her), it does not assign a gender to all nouns that refer to animates (e.g., doctor) or to nouns that refer to inanimates (e.g., apple). Languages such as Ukrainian, however, have a grammatical gender system because they mark gender with morphological information that is carried by pronouns, nouns, and adjectives. In Ukrainian to form the words denoting their activity, specialty, occupation the suffixes -??, -???, -??, -???(-???), -??(-??), -??, -??, -??(-??), -?, -???(-???), -???? are the most productive (???????, ??????????, ????????, ???????, ?????, ??????, ?????, ????????, ???????, ??????????, ????, ????, ???????, ??????, ???????). The feminine nouns denoting the profession are created from the masculine nouns. To the noun stem suffixes -?(?), -??(?), -?(?), -??(?) are added (????? — ???????, ???? — ?????, ???? — ???????). In spoken language, the suffix –? is also used: ??????? – ?????????.