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Thread: Slang in English vs. other languages

 
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    Default Slang in English vs. other languages

    Does anyone have any opinions as to the richness of English Slang relative to that of other languages? Is English slang more or less rich than Spanish slang, Portuguese slang, etc.?

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    Default What about British vs. American slang?

    While there are some American terms to which I'm partial, being American, I generally get a bigger kick out of British slang, perhaps because it's newer to me and a bigger mystery. For instance, I just thought I heard the word "div" in a song by The Streets, and when I asked my Scottish ladyfriend about it she said it's the British term for "retard". Who knew?

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    Quote Originally Posted by elmeromero
    Does anyone have any opinions as to the richness of English Slang relative to that of other languages? Is English slang more or less rich than Spanish slang, Portuguese slang, etc.?

    If you want to compare English slang to that of other languages like Portuguese, in my opinion practically every single romance language (Spanish included) is richer in every single aspect (slang included) than English. Simply because grammar and lexical structures in most romance languages are more complex, and at the same time more flexible (there are always thousands of ways to say the same thing, and thousands of expressions that convey the same meaning). Now if you are comparing British vs. American slang .you know the old saying …British and Americans have everything in common but the language (jeje) .


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    elmeromero,
    I think on a whole US slang somewhat bland, although when you get into localized slang such as backwoods of Missouri, I bet it can be very interesting.

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    I don't think you can compare slag across countries really. In different regions of the UK you can have very different slang and it changes all the time so you can't compare across languages. 'Div' was quite popular a few years ago. Lots of people use the word 'muppet' these days instead.

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    Default Muppet! Who knew?!

    Thanks, David. I won´t say "div" unless I want to invoke the first years of this millennium.

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    American English slang changes so rapidly. I don't know if it's this way in other countries but I think because we have such a wide variety of cultures here and American slang is so influenced by black culture and hip hop music that new expressions tend to evolve rather quickly. Romance languages are absolutely beautiful but in my opinion there is nothing quite like American slang.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elmeromero
    Does anyone have any opinions as to the richness of English Slang relative to that of other languages? Is English slang more or less rich than Spanish slang, Portuguese slang, etc.?
    All I know is that Argentinian slang is very rich because of the mixture of languages that compose it.

    E.g.: "Chabón" comes from the arabic word "SHABUN". And it means "young man".
    "Parlar" comes from the Italian and French word "PARLARE" OR "PARLER". And it means "to talk"

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    A popular book in Argentina is "Puto El que Lee", a humous dictionary of mostly vulgar expressions. Chile has a bilingual dictionary called, I believe, "Surviving in the Jungle". I bought a copy on Ebay. Mexico has some great books. I had a huge volume that must have weighed twenty pounds. If it had been said at some point during the history of Mexico, the word was probably in the dictionary. No, I can't recall the title of the dictionary. Three other funny books are "La Teoria y Practica del Insulto Mexicano", "El Diccionario del Chingoles", and "Miccionario Morrones". The first has everything you ever wanted to know about insults but was afraid to ask. The second is a hilarious compilation of uses of various forms of "chingar". As I recall, "hijo de la chingada" was defined more or less, "In Spain, one would say 'hijo de puta'. We would say, "hijo de padre desconocido y de madre muy amiga de dar favores sexuales.'" The third is not truly a slang dictionary but rather humorous combinations of words. For example, what do you call a member of a wandering tribe of gays? A "jotano". And an injured finger? A "jodedo".

    Slang in Brazil is called "giria". Slang terms are "girias".
    Giria is a language within a language. It's difficult to imagine a conversation without it. In addition to slang terms that are more or less universally understood throughout Brazil due to publications, TV, films, etc., there are regional slang terms not readily understood by outsiders. I lived in Rio Grando do Sul, the southernmost state. The local slang was called "gaucho" (the accent is on the "u"), gauches (accent on the "e"), or linguajar gaucho. Some of the words were understandable to Spanish speakers in Uruguay and Argentina, but most weren't.
    guri = boy
    guria = girl
    gurizada = a bunch of kids
    cusco = mutt, skinny dog
    Capaz? = No kidding? Really? No shit?
    cacete = a small bun (in many parts of Brazil it means "*****")
    linha = hamlet, village
    vila = slum (what would be called in Rio a "favela")
    pilha = monetary unit
    pichincha = bargain (an Argentine would understand "pechincha")
    pichinchar = to haggle
    facao = large knife (an Argentine would understand "facon")
    prenda = woman, girlfriend (an Argentine would understand)

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    Thomas, I will have to buy this book you have mentioned!

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