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THE INFLUENCE OF STREAMED YORUBA FILM DIALECTS ON THE FORMATION OF SLANGS LANGUAGES AMONG NIGERIAN UNDERGRADUATES

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  • Background to the study

In this modern era, there are a lot of variations of language used in the community. According to Ferdinand de Saussure, language is a very noticeable distinguishing quality; language makes each social group feel like an entity separate from another. The language used in society nowadays varies greatly. Language diversity is a form of language to engage with that is tailored to specific functions and contexts. This means that the language used by speakers is graded on a formality scale. According to Aslinda and Syafyahya (2010), language variance or diversity results from the community’s usage of multiple languages to engage with one another. Every community activity has a significant impact on the development of language variety. Language variety is caused not only by varied contacts and social activities, but also by differences in speakers and the fact that speakers are not homogeneous. Joos (Chaer and Agustina, 2010:70) classified language diversity according to formality level, which includes frozen, formal, consultative, intimate, and casual forms.

Language variety can be classified into several grades, ranging from extremely formal to extremely informal. A formality scale is used to characterize language variety, which is the form of language that speakers use. Language styles vary from formal to informal. As stated by Burridge and Stebbins (2015:106), the official and most formal language variant is frozen language. Long sentences and unchangeable, inflexible grammatical structures are features of frozen languages. Therefore, in addition to speaking, other written forms of communication such as letters or formal documents, prayers, and legislation also use frozen language varieties. Casual language, on the other hand, is the most laid-back kind. According to Chaer and Agustina (2010:71), casual language is the type of language used in informal situations, such as chatting with family or friends while taking a break, exercising, taking a walk, or doing other recreational activities. This variety of language is not appropriate when applied to foreigners or people who have never met before. Casual language is often used in informal settings, such as songs, books, and movies.

One example of casual language style is slang. According to Chaer and Agustina (2010:67), slang is a special and secret social variation. Slang words are not always in the official English dictionaries. It is commonly used in informal conversation. Usually, teenagers use this type of language, but nowadays adults and the elderly also use it. The characteristics of slang usually take the form of shortening or omission of some letters in a word, or even changes in sound and meaning.

According to McArthur (2003), the transmission of information is rarely the goal of utilizing slang. Slang is used more frequently for social functions including group identification and lowering the formality of conversation. Sharing and maintaining a dynamic slang vocabulary promotes group cohesiveness and serves to include and exclude individuals. Slang is a highly colloquial language consisting of either new or established words used imaginatively to secure a vivid or comic effect. Slang usually is metaphorical in that it substitutes a colorful image for a standard word. Slang begins as the talk of insiders, people who share a common experience or attitude, and sometimes spreads to the general vocabulary.

The origin of slang dates back to 1800 and was used in England as a ‘special vocabulary” by any set of persons of a low or disreputable character. With time, its use gained acceptance and spread to other parts of the world. According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2004: 1113), slang refers to ‘very informal words and expressions that are more common in spoken language especially used by a particular group of people, for example, children, criminals, soldiers etc’. It is a general consensus that slang terms are informal, transitory, limited in reach and connotative in outlook since it is applicable to members of a social group or group of friends (Myers 2004; Jowitt 2005; Fromkin et al. 2007; Finegan 2008; McGregor 2009). This feature sets members of a group apart from non-members with the result that when a non-member tries to use these terms, he is easily spotted as not using the term effectively and efficiently.

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