Impact of Slang usage among university students of Nigeria


Impact of Slang usage among university students of Nigeria

General Introduction

Slang is an informal expression used by people especially students to communicate with one another. Nigerian students are known for Slang usage. There are different examples of slang used by students.

Language can be used both in formal and informal setting. According to Agbedo (2015), language is defined as a human system of communication that uses arbitrary signals or symbols. The use of language in a formal setting is what we referred to as official language. Language is an indispensable tool for communication. In human communication, the ties between meaningful elements and their meanings are arbitrary and a mater of convention (cf. Agbedo, 2000). Slang is an informal expression used by different groups of people such as students, teachers, peer group, age group etc. slang, according to Ahamefula (2016) is used most importantly to eliminate communication barriers. Slang is used for secrecy.

Slang is an informal language which might be impolite, used by a particular group of people which may stay in use only for a short period of time. It is usually spoken more often than written, though emails and texts often contain many conversational slang terms. It is the vocabulary that is used between people who belong to the same social group and who know one another well. It can offend people if it is used about other people or outside a group of people who know each other well. Slang normally refers to particular words and meanings but can include longer expressions and idioms. They are not considered appropriate for formal occasion. It is a subset of a language used by one particular group. It consists of words and expressions which will not be found in the dictionary, and can be distortions existing words or entirely invented terms.

Slang is used by all kinds or groups of people who share situations, interests or common goal. The group which uses these words for example, Students of University of Ibadan use slang, is always in the minority and often use slang to set them apart or make it difficult for ordinary people to understand them. When a particular new expression is known and used by a large majority of the population, it is no longer slang but part of the regular language usage. It is like a linguistic laboratory where new words and forms can be tested out, applied to a variety of situations and then either abandoned or incorporated into regular language. It is used by limited groups with something in common. Slang promotes cohesion within a community. Language is an integral part of culture, and slang helps identify those who are native to that particular culture. Slang is particularly popular among teenagers and college students in general (Finegan, 2008). Akmajian et al (1998) also added that slang has some salient features; first, slang is part of casual informal styles of language use, second slang is like fashions in clothing and popular music, changes  quite rapidly, third specific areas of slang are often associated with a particular social group, and hence one can speak of teenage slang, underworld (criminal) slang, the slang of the drug culture and so on. The speaker uses slang in order to achieve social dynamics with the people to whom he/she is speaking and slang outlines social spaces, and attitudes towards slang helps identify and construct social groups and identity (Adams, 2009:57). It means that when someone uses slang, he/she exposes ideas, feeling, attitude as how she/he wants to perceive the people that talk to and how he/she wants those people to perceive her/him, to infer what she/he means. 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.