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Aprile 2013
Il linguaggio si evolve in continuazione, soprattutto quello informale: lo slang. La tv, la musica, l’incontro di più culture generano una serie infinita di nuovi termini di cui è impossibile tener veramente traccia, ma che sono molto importanti se si vuole imparare una lingua... o se si vogliono comprendere i giovani!

di Sally Trowbridge © British Council

File audio:


Speaker: Derek Allen (Standard British accent)

Slang is very informal language which is often used by young people. It’s hard to keep up to date with it as new words and phrases appear and evolve.
Living in a multicultural society has an effect on language, especially on the young, whose friends are often from a mix of backgrounds. TV and music also have a big impact. A complete list of slang words is difficult to make; by the time it was finished, the list would be out of date!


However, here are a few examples: Safe, sorted, sound, cool or wicked all mean That’s good or I understand.
Instead of using different tag questions like isn’t it? can’t you? or don’t they? people use innit. For example: He can dance really well, innit? (meaning: He can dance really well, can’t he?) or They always say that, innit? (meaning: They always say that, don’t they?)
Instead of saying very, really or completely, use well. For example: I’m well tired or You got it well wrong!
Whatever means I don’t care. For example: A: But the teacher says we can’t leave until we’ve finished. B: Whatever. I’m going.
He’s fine or he’s fit both mean He’s good-looking. Fine and fit can describe a boy or a girl.


Not everybody uses slang and not everybody likes it. A school in the north of England recently told its pupils to stop using slang words, if they wanted to get a place at university, or a good job. The slang words the school mentioned were hiya (hello), cheers and ta (both meaning thank you).


When British people use language like this, it’s no surprise that some say they can’t understand native speakers. But perhaps learners don’t need to worry so much. Research shows that most of the English spoken around the world today is between non-native speakers of the language.


So, how important is it to understand these slang words and expressions? If you watch films or TV in English, read magazines in English, chat online in English or are interested in English song lyrics, then understanding slang can be very useful. You probably won’t see much slang in your English examination, though.

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