The Vulgar Tongue: Greens History of Slang

Hardcover | September 10, 2014

byJonathon Green

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Once the language of thieves and beggars, slang is an ever present part of today's culture for people across the strata. It allows us to connect to others, to express otherwise guarded thoughts, and to convey humor in the everyday. But how did slang escape its stigma as the language of thestreets and integrate itself so seamlessly with "standard English?"The Vulgar Tongue tells the full story of English language slang, from its origins in early British beggar books to its spread in American and Australian culture in the eighteenth century. The aim is not to record the history of the over 125,000 English words that make up the lexis. Rather, theauthor focuses on the common, often profane themes that run through the word-list - crime, sex, bodily parts and functions, insults, and drink and drugs - and their scope and function throughout the various cultures and overlapping subcultures of English language history, from the sporting world tothe university campus to ethnic communities. In tracing its development and trajectory throughout the English-speaking world, Jonathon Green offers an impassioned defence for its vitality, showing how slang has grown into a modern, versatile vocabulary that has nevertheless established its own rolein contemporary English.Drawing on thirty years' worth of research, The Vulgar Tongue is a celebration of the words and phrases of an overlooked aspect of human language and interaction.

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Once the language of thieves and beggars, slang is an ever present part of today's culture for people across the strata. It allows us to connect to others, to express otherwise guarded thoughts, and to convey humor in the everyday. But how did slang escape its stigma as the language of thestreets and integrate itself so seamlessly with...

Jonathon Green is a lexicographer and author of Green's Dictionary of Slang, Cassell's Dictionary of Slang, and Chasing the Sun: Dictionary-Makers and the Dictionaries They Made.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:432 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:September 10, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199398143

ISBN - 13:9780199398140

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Introduction: Slang: A User's Manual2. In the Beginning: The Prehistory3. Lewd, Lousey Language: Beggars and Their Books4. Crime and Punishment5. Play's the Thing6. The Sound of the City7. Flash: This Sporting Life8. Down Under9. Sex in the City10. Cockney Sparrers11. America: Pioneers12. Keeping Score: Nineteenth-century Slang Lexicography13. Gayspeak14. American Century15. African-American Slang: The Flesh Made Word16. Campus and Counter-Culture17. War18. Conclusion: As It Was in the BeginningNotesBibliographyAcknowledgementsIndex