Words and Language

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This activity demonstrates not only the connection between language and culture, but also the differences between cant, jargon, argot, and slang. You should gain an understanding of what each term means and how it is or is not specific to a certain cultural group. Write your definitions for the words listed below and post them. Try to do all of them- some are really hard. Make use of Google and other online research methods. The first two are answered for you.

Then answer these questions:

• Why are these words generated and used by a particular co-culture? (any culture in the U.S. that is within our national culture). How do they function for a co-culture? Can you think of other words that these co-cultures use?

• What experiences have you had where you did not understand the English that was being spoken because of the use of cant, jargon, argot, or slang?

• What other co-cultures have a distinct cant/dialect, jargon/branding, or argot? What are some examples?

Cant/Dialect, Jargon/Branding, Argot, and Slang

Term Definition Type Co-culture

1. hotty someone attractive slang no one in particular

2. demo musical release before a CD argot musicians

3. bird

4. first chair

5. header

6. off case

7. swallows

8. Bottom Woman

9. jam

10. can

11. Harry

12. Mary Jane

13. transformer

14. scrub

15. T

16. bitchin

17. Phat

18. John Waynes

19. Donnicker

20. slum

21. PT

22. flat backer

23. merchant

24. bug juice

25. 2-top

26. mustangs

27. macking

28. high ‘n tight

29. GL ticket

30. shift

31. skins

32. bonbon

33. Bill

34. oiled

35. schemiel

36. float

37. yetna

38. chicken coop

39. IRA

40. seat covers

41. Tijuana taxi

42. one L’s

43. Ginger

44. 86

45. grat

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