Friday, October 25, 2019

More on ever-evolving language

Slang is less academic and current-events-related than the terms related to my last post on the birth of new words and their inclusion in Merriam-Webster. Conversational figurative language is nevertheless quite important to be able to follow if not use-- unawareness of it can lead to misunderstanding of narrative and situations. Let's face it: the teaching of old idioms is only useful for application in standardized tests that measure it, or old texts that try to avoid cliches anyway.

Last spring, a 43-year-old high school teacher began keeping track of slang in a Google Doc that went viral and became the subject of some news coverage. You can find the doc here.


Evolving language is a good thing for all educators and perhaps especially SLPs to track. Probably don't use too much of it to avoid rolled eyes! Last year I wrote up an observation and indicated some confusion about why a high school student kept repeating that he wanted "a snack" in the context of having been offered a snack by a teacher. I literally just realized what that was about as I was writing this post.

Urban Dictionary online is another good resource if you ever need it, but is quite profane, be warned. I pulled UD up to explain to two colleagues why it was important to cut off the use of "yo mama" jokes among a group of teens, who should have been reading the situation better in the presence of teachers.

The list veers into some edginess, nothing like UD, but use your judgment. It is a good resource for making discussion activities around the terms, perhaps a quiz with Kahoot for fun and engagement, and working on narrative language about when/where the terms might be used. I'd add shade/throwing shade, and don't come for me, as a good way to close this post!

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