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Slang : the people's poetry / Michael Adams.

By: Adams, Michael, 1961-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2009Description: xv, 238 p. ; 22 cm.ISBN: 9780195314632; 0195314638.Other title: People's poetry.Subject(s): English language -- Slang | English language -- Jargon | Rhyming slang | PoetryDDC classification: 427/.09
Contents:
"What it is?" : the essentials of slang -- Fitting in : the social dynamics of slang -- Standing out : aesthetic dimensions of slang -- It's all in your head : cognitive aspects of slang.
Summary: Adams covers this perennially interesting subject in a serious but highly engaging way, illuminating the fundamental question of what is slang and defending slang--and all forms of nonstandard English--as integral parts of the American language. He reveals that slang is used in part to define groups, distinguishing those who are "down with it" from those who are "out of it." Slang is also a rebellion against the mainstream. It often irritates those who color within the lines--indeed, slang is meant to irritate, sometimes even to shock. But slang is also inventive language, both fun to make and fun to use. Rather than complain about slang as "bad" language, Adams urges us to celebrate slang's playful resistance to the commonplace and to see it as the expression of an innate human capacity, not only for language, but for poetry.--From publisher description.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
PE3711 .A33 2009 (Browse shelf) Available

Includes bibliographical references and index.

"What it is?" : the essentials of slang -- Fitting in : the social dynamics of slang -- Standing out : aesthetic dimensions of slang -- It's all in your head : cognitive aspects of slang.

Adams covers this perennially interesting subject in a serious but highly engaging way, illuminating the fundamental question of what is slang and defending slang--and all forms of nonstandard English--as integral parts of the American language. He reveals that slang is used in part to define groups, distinguishing those who are "down with it" from those who are "out of it." Slang is also a rebellion against the mainstream. It often irritates those who color within the lines--indeed, slang is meant to irritate, sometimes even to shock. But slang is also inventive language, both fun to make and fun to use. Rather than complain about slang as "bad" language, Adams urges us to celebrate slang's playful resistance to the commonplace and to see it as the expression of an innate human capacity, not only for language, but for poetry.--From publisher description.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Adams (English language & literature, Indiana Univ.; Slayer Slang: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon) offers word lovers a new perspective. This is not the usual compendium of slang but an explanation of its nature and purpose. Adams intends to engage the nonacademic reader, so he boils down the lexical, social, aesthetic, and linguistic concepts of slang in chapters like "What Is It?" and "It's All in Your Head." Footnotes provide source information in a nonscholarly format for faster and easier understanding. Adams promotes slang as an integral part of American English and categorizes and defines hundreds of new words and examples from current American expressions, with an emphasis on African American slang. He believes that slang springs from resistance to authority, which has perhaps influenced his choices, for most exemplify the more outrageous elements of slang. Verdict The style here will either irritate or entertain; Adams stays within the confines of each chapter's theme but leaps from example to example and topic to topic. These literary gymnastics may not please everyone, but the generous index facilitates access to this lively and informative book.-Nedra Crowe-Evers, Sonoma Cty. Lib., Santa Rosa, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

Book-length studies (as opposed to dictionaries) of slang are few and far between, so with this volume Adams (Indiana Univ.) has done scholars, students, and aficionados of slang a great service. Also author of Slayer Slang (2003), a case study of the lexicon of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Adams has a knack for illuminating both linguistic ephemera and its underlying principles. In four chapters, he shows how slang is a matter of both "fitting in" (chapter 2) and "standing out" (chapter 3), and he addresses both definitional (chapter 1) and cognitive (chapter 4) aspects of slang. Speaking to the general reader, the author uses linguistic jargon sparingly, puts scholarly observations (e.g., the distinction between the "raunchy" and the "hip") in everyday terms, and illustrates key ideas (such as the difference between jargon and slang and the role of slang in play, display, and indirection) with in-depth examples rather than drive-by word citations. Adams also connects slang to poetry and literary history, not only celebrating Walt Whitman's observation that slang is the poetry of everyday language but also adding to it. This book is a must for libraries and lovers of language. Summing Up: Essential. All levels. E. L. Battistella Southern Oregon University

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Michael Adams teaches English language and literature at Indiana University. He is the author of Slayer Slang: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon and, with Anne Curzan, How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction. For several years, he was editor of Dictionaries: Journal of the DictionarySociety of North America. He is currently editor of the journal American Speech.

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