Psychologically, most good slang harks back to the phase in human civilization when animism was a world-wide faith. At that clip, it was believed that all objects had two facets, one external and aim that could be perceived by the senses, the other unperceivable ( except to talented persons ) but indistinguishable with what we today would name the “ existent ” object. Human endurance depended upon the use of all “ existent ” facets of life — hunting, reproduction, warfare, arms, design of habitations, nature of vesture or ornament, etc. — through control or influence upon the animosity, or unperceivable stage of world. This influence was exerted through many facets of sympathetic thaumaturgy, one of the most powerful being the usage of linguistic communication.
Wordss, hence, had great power, because they evoked the things to which they referred.Civilized civilizations and their linguistic communications retain many leftovers of animism, mostly on the unconscious degree. In Western linguistic communications, the metaphor owes its power to reverberations of sympathetic thaumaturgy, and slang utilizes certain properties of the metaphor to arouse images excessively near for comfort to “ world. ” For illustration, to mention to a adult female as a “ wide ” is automatically to increase her girth in an country in which she may visualize herself as being thin. Her reaction may, therefore, be one of choler and bitterness, if she happens to populate in a society in which slender hips are considered indispensable to feminine beauty. Slang, so, owes much of its power to floor to the superimposition of images that are incongruous with images ( or values ) of others, normally members of the dominant civilization. Slang is most popular when its imagination develops incongruousness surrounding on societal sarcasm. Every slang word, nevertheless, has its ain history and grounds for popularity.
When conditions change, the term may alter in significance, be adopted into the standard linguistic communication, or go on to be used as slang within certain enclaves of the population. Nothing is flatter than dead slang. In 1910, for case, “ Oh you kid ” and “ 23-skiddoo ” were rather fashionable phrases in the U.S. but they have gone with the hobble skirt. Children, nevertheless, unaware of mistimings, frequently revive old slang under a bombardment of older films rerun on telecasting.
Some slang becomes respectable when it loses its border ; “ kindling, ” “ hiss, ” “ spent, ” “ hit the topographic point, ” “ wind, ” “ funky, ” and “ p.o. ‘d, ” one time thought to be excessively indecorous for feminine ears, are now household words. Other slang survives for centuries, like “ castanetss ”for die ( Chaucer ) , “ beat it ” for run off ( Shakespeare ) , “ togs ” for apparels, and “ liquor ” for spirits ( Dekker ) . These words must hold been uttered as slang long earlier looking in print, and they have remained slang of all time since. Normally, slang has both a high birth and decease rate in the dominant civilization, and inordinate usage tends to dull the luster of even the most colorful and descriptive words and phrases.
The rate of turnover in slang words is doubtless encouraged by the mass media, and a term must be progressively effectual to last.While many slang words introduce new constructs, some of the most effectual slang provides new looks — fresh, satirical, flooring — for established constructs, frequently really respectable 1s. Sound is sometimes used as a footing for this type of slang, as, for illustration, in assorted phonic deformations ( e.g. , hog Latin footings ) .
It is besides used in riming slang, which employs a fortunate combination of both sound and imagination. Therefore, baseball mitts are “ Stictopelia cuneatas ” ( the gloved custodies proposing a brace of charging doves ) , a miss is a “ turn and kink ” ( the motion proposing a miss walking ) , and an contemptuous imitation of fart, produced by blowing air between the tip of the protruded lingua and the upper lip, is the “ raspberry, ” cut back from “ raspberry prostitute. ” Most slang, nevertheless, depends upon incongruousness of imagination, conveyed by the lively intensions of a fresh term applied to an established construct. Slang is non all of equal quality, a considerable organic structure of it reflecting a simple demand to happen new footings for common 1s, such as the custodies, pess, caput, and other parts of the organic structure. Food, drink, and sex besides involve extended slang vocabulary.
Strained or synthetically invented slang deficiencies verve, as can be seen in the despairing attempts of some sports writers to avoid adverting the word baseball — e.g. , a hitter does non hit a baseball but instead “ swats the horsehide, ” “ plasters the pill, ” “ heave the old apple over the fencing, ” and so on.The most effectual slang operates on a more sophisticated degree and frequently tells something about the thing named, the individual utilizing the term, and the societal matrix against which it is used. Pungency may increase when full apprehension of the term depends on a small inside information or cognition of a term already in usage, frequently on the slang side itself.
For illustration, the term Vatican roulette ( for the beat system of birth control ) would hold small impact if the look Russian roulette were non already in broad use.