Through the use of language, each member of a group is able to construct and reflect their identity. Through the language features present in slang and jargon, users are able to communicate their social identity and group belonging. They are also able to portray their cultural heritage and background through ethnolect varieties of English. Language plays a crucial part in enabling the speaker to communicate belonging to a specific social group, reinforcing solidarity.
The use of slang enables the speaker to reinforce group membership and belonging. Slang is often ephemeral in nature; it constantly evolves to suit each generation of users. It is thus harder to understand and follow for an older audience, and can be used exclusively to define group boundaries, simultaneously reinforcing solidarity between members that do belong to the group. There is the use of coalescence “waddup?” and “gotta” making speech less formal and eases conversation flow between speakers. Dysphemisms are also common, where the user might do so to appear cool, as with “oh shit!” or “bitch”. Pop-culture references are common to slang. They allow members to bond of shared or common interests and knowledge, reinforcing group solidarity, such as “winner winner chicken dinner” or “giggidy giggidy”. Blends- the combining of two lexemes- are used, as in “guestimate” or “chillax”, allowing the user to appear imaginative and clever as these soon become outdated and new ones are invented to take their place. There is a proliferation of discourse particles in slang, which enables conversation flow as well as making the conversation more relaxed, such as “like”, “yeah...
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... words in ethnolect varieties, such as Singaporean English, differs from the Standard. There word “got” is used to mean “have” and/or “got”, just as the word “send” is used to mean “take” or “send”. This happens as these words represent more than one meaning or word in the speaker’s first language. The use of ethnolect varieties amongst members enables them to bond over shared cultures, reflecting their identity, and reinforcing their solidarity to the group.
Through their use of language, speakers are able to communicate their belonging to a group. The use of slang, jargon and ethnolect varieties play a crucial part in enabling a speaker to reinforce their group belonging. Through this use of language, members of the group are thus able to communicate and bond over shared and common interests, knowledge or culture, reinforcing and reflecting group solidarity.
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