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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Slang and its Interaction with Language


Case Study 1: Slang in the EFL/ESL Class

SITUATION: Mr. Kevin Smith has been appointed EFL/ESL instructor for a group of young adults who will be participating in an exchange program in the United States next year. Mr. Smith will be working on the students' language development for the next few moths to shape their language skills: reading, speaking, writing, and listening.

During the first two weeks of class, Mr. Smith discovered that his students' level of English is quite satisfactorily and looks forward to expanding their vocabulary and skills way beyond what he expected at the beginning of the program.However, in the speaking section of the course, through one of the book units, the group was confronted to slang language, and they reviewed the following definition provided by Mr. Smith.



Most of the class members have voiced their disposition to work on slang expressions that may be of good use while being exchange students in the US. Mr. Smith is kind of reluctant to take time of his speaking class to teach what he calls "bad language."

What should be done in this particular EFL/ESL class case?

Consider answering the following questions before you voice your final opinion.

  1. How do you feel about the usage of slang in your native language or in a foreign tongue? Do you feel comfortable using that kind of language?
  2. What's the difference between "slang" and "mainstream" language? Are these language variations similar?
  3. Why do you think "slang" is not a priority for EFL/ESL teachers? Should slang be taught as part of a course curriculum?
  4. How would "colloquial" language be defined as apposed to slang? Should this language variation be overtly taught in language classes?
  5. As a language learner, would it be advisable to learn slang instead of formal English? (What's your viewpoint?)
  6. Why do you think slang is considered "taboo" in more formal contexts? Do your particularly use slang in your native language? Who do you use it with?
  7. What's the difference among "street talk," "youth-speak," and slang? Who's more likely to use "street talk?"
Now after you have considered the answers to the above questions, what's your final verdict in regards to overtly teaching slang in English as a Foreign Language classes. Should Mr.Smith work on those language areas suggested by most of the students in his language class?