5 Reasons Slang is Important for Language Learning

by Gloria Kopp

When learning a language, it's essential that you understand text book definitions, and how the language itself works. While a text book plays a huge part in your learning, speaking with people in real life and immersing yourself in the language is the only way you will become fluent.

In order to become truly fluent, you must also learn slang language. There are many benefits to learning slang words in a language you are learning, and the top five are listed below.

1. Make You Stay Current & Understand Local Dialect

Learning a language needs to be about more than just reading text books and learning how to reproduce what you learn. Text books will provide language learners with the basics, including the rules of the language and primary adjectives and nouns. In order to become truly fluent, however, a language learner must understand how to be current.

"Learning slang in language allows you to remain current in your spoken ability, and makes it possibly to hold fluent conversations with people of all generations", - says Mary Walton, a researcher from SimpleGrad. It also helps you communicate with people throughout different regions within a country. Understand slang means you will understand the variations within language, and different dialects, across a nation.

2. Help Avoid Faux Pas

If you don't understand slang in a language you are learning, you are opening yourself up to the chance of major faux pas. For instance, in the Spanish language, there are many words that could be misused if you don't keep in the know about modern slang. For instance, text books tell you that 'estupido' simply means 'stupid' in English, but to Spanish people, 'estupido' is a much more serious insult than 'stupid' in English.

If you don't understand the nuance in the language, and a wide range of slang, then it's possible to create awkward social situations whereby you insult somebody or accidentally say something you don't mean.

3. Creates a Sense of Belonging

Jane Reed, a language researcher from Paper Fellows comments: "Slang is used in order to create a sense of belonging and help create a community. As well as local dialects, groups of people within certain regions will use slang to feel like they are part of a group". If you are attempting to immerse yourself in local life, when living in a country and practicing a language, it's important to understand the local slang. Without it, you will find it difficult to communicate with people and really find a sense of belonging – and this is exceptionally important during your language learning process.

4. Help Learn Local History

Learning slang actually opens a doorway to learning local history. As you are learning your language and you are taught about local slang, not only will you be improving your ability to speak the language, but you will be truly immersing yourself in the area's history.

To understand how slang works, you must understand history and context. When you discover new slang words, you learn more about the region and improve your understanding of local people at the same time.

5. Evokes Emotion

Finally, you mustn't forget just how important slang can be in language, with regards to evoking emotion. When talking to friends and family about serious issues, it can be difficult to really express yourself using only dictionary language.

Think about the most stressful, difficult, happy, or generally emotional times in your life. When you attempt to express your feelings, more often than not a person will use slang language to explain their way of thinking and how they are feeling. The same is true when you speak another language.

Learning local slang allows you to better express yourself, which is key in social situations.

About the writer

Gloria Kopp is a web content writer and an elearning consultant from Manville city. She graduated from University of Wyoming and started a career of business writer, now she works as a part-time blog editor at Essayroo and Ukwritings. Besides, she is a regular contributor to such websites as Engadget, AusralianHelp, Huffingtonpost etc.


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