Slang in english
If there is one concept that isn’t covered or mentioned very much in language learning, it is the topic of slang. Known as argot in Spanish, slang is a word with a specific meaning that applies to a very broad and general range of words. It’s a term that refers to any word that is used in an informal setting, is more commonly spoken than written, and can be restricted to a group of people, whether it be something as small as a group of friends, or as large as a country. The important thing to understand is that the word in question almost always has no relation whatsoever to its ‘real’ meaning.
For example, let’s consider the word “cool.” The translation of this word would be guay, or chulo. You could say that something is cool; a person can be cool; James Dean defined cool, for example. However, depending on the region or country, there is a plethora of other words used nowadays that are interchangeable with cool, including: dope, sick, sweet, chill (another play on temperature), awesome, fly, wicked…the list goes on and on. Depending on who you ask, even some of these words included in the list can have different connotations depending on how they are used and in what situation, but the root meaning is the same: they are all related to the meaning of ‘cool.’
Another idea we can look at is the word ‘excited.’ If you’re excited, you’re waiting for something or thinking about something in an enthusiastic, eager manner. But if you’re amongst friends, instead of using the word ‘excited,’ you could say: pumped, amped, juiced, stoked, fired up…again, as you can see, there is a long list of options to choose from. However, going back to what was mentioned before, depending on where you are, an explanation of the meaning may be necessary.
In summation, here are a few examples of (very colloquial) slang that one might hear when out and about in an English-speaking country:
– “The concert last night was awesome.”
– “I can’t wait for the game to start; I’m totally pumped!”
– “I had fun at your house yesterday. Your brother seems really chill”
– (watching surfing) “That was a gnarly wipeout!” (here, ‘gnarly’ basically means anything extreme, and a wipeout is when someone falls off their board when surfing)