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Ying Lan | Michael | Aline | Antonio | Michael #2 | Vance | Ying Lan #2 | Moral | Bora

This writing topic started when Ying Lan began to wonder why the list was so quiet for a few days. So she woke the list up!

This is a test.
I wonder why I have not gotten any messages from webheads this week.
Just want to make sure I am still in this e-group. :-))!!

"For being a student in ESL, it is not necessary to learn Slang." John told me last week. What do you think about his opinion?

Have a good day.

Ying Lan, 31 Aug 2000

Michael replies, 31 Aug 2000

Ying - you are still on the webheads mailing list!
It has been quiet this week.

About slang - I don't think it's necessary to learn slang when you're beginning a new language, but more advanced learners (like you!) I think do need to learn some slang because native speakers use it all the time and you are only a really advanced user of that language if you can understand it. You don't have to use it, but you should make some attempt at knowing it.

Besides, usually slang is the more interesting part of a language, and everyone's natural curiosity makes them want to know about it.

What do others think?

Michael Coghlan

Aline's turn to speak, 31 Aug 2000

Hi folks!
Do you remember me?

Well, I agree with what Michael said about slang. I think it makes part of any language, and it's something nice to know, especially because every day new slang appears. And if you talk with a native speaker in a informal way, you'll probably hear some of it.

What do you think of it?

Well that's all for the moment!



Who's next? Antonio, 31 Aug 2000

I think slang is useful. If you know it you will be able to understand an informal conversation

However I think it's better not to use it, or at least to decide whether the people you're talking to are close enough to you as to feel free to express in a less polite way.

Michael again, 01 Sep 2000

This is VERY good point Antonio. Slang is a very informal form of language and generally speaking we use more formal language with people we don't know so well. If you know people very well, like close friends, you can be a lot more informal with your speaking. And this is true of all languages I think - not just English.

Michael Coghlan

Vance weighs in, 01 Sep 2000

I think Antonio has given some good advice here. It's often a good idea not to USE slang unless you think you understand the expression very well because there is a danger of using it in an inappropriate way.

Ying Lan asked if it was NECESSARY to learn slang when studying ESL. I would say it's probably not necessary to have anyone teach it to you, but if you participate in communicative courses like this one, you will probably learn a bit of slang, because we use a lot of it in our online chats. Appropriately of course.

Personally I think that language is changing all the time and I don't think there's any reason to be worried about how people choose to express themselves. In fact, people who study these things can show you countless examples of expressions we accept today that started off as slang a long time ago. But some people are concerned about maintaining a correct or proper form of the language. I don't think we have people like that in this group, but if you talk to such people, you would avoid using slang.

Does anyone out there have a favorite slang expression? If so, tell us about it. Or did you hear some slang that you don't understand? We can explain it (or try to).

Thanks Ying Lan for waking up the list, and to all who respond.


Ying Lan returns, 01 Sep 2000

Thanks for your response.

I don't think students need to spent their time learning slang. You may go through slang by chatting with friends or watching movies. Because slang will be changed over time, it is getting different. Many slang expressions are popular with teenagers. Some are weird. It is about time to learn it when the slang becomes an accepted phrase. It is more important to learn accepted phrases than to study slang.

I wanted to study a book which I bought titled as slang file until John told me his opinion. I changed my mind and decided to study a phrase file. But I think it is funny to learn slang. Like phat.

**phat= great

By the way, let me say hello to new friends, Mari Hirasawa, and Bora.

Have fun

Ying Lan

Moral writes, 01 Sep 2000

Speaking of slang, I just learned two phrases.

Phrase A Week from


Meaning: during good times as well as bad times

Ted and Nancy have been married 50 years. They have been together through thick and thin. They even stayed together after Ted had an affair with the housekeeper.



Meaning: Let's forget about our past problems and not think about them anymore.

I know I had an affair with the housekeeper, but that was 5 years ago. That's over now. Let's just let bygones be bygones.

From Bora, 01 Sep 2000

Here is a definition of 'slang':

slang [slang ] noun (plural slangs)

  1. very casual speech or writing: words, expressions, and usages that are casual, vivid, racy, or playful replacements for standard ones, are often short-lived, and are usually considered unsuitable for formal contexts
  2. language of an exclusive group: a form of language used by a particular group of people, often deliberately created and used to exclude people outside the group a word that came from surfers' slang

-from Encarta word English dictionary available at

As you can see, the term 'slang' refers either to something very informal or something negative. In my view, as ESL learners, learning how to use English appropriately regarding time, place and opportunity seems to be very important. Depending on TPO (time, place, opportunity), slang works positively or negatively. Perhaps we could say 'you are what you say'.

Here are some slang words... guess what these mean.

*big mouse

best wishes


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