The nature of slang and HDAS

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jun 24 03:01:08 UTC 2003

At 12:04 PM -0400 6/20/03, Geoff Nathan wrote:
>At 09:53 AM 6/20/2003 -0400, Frank Abate wrote:
>>still hold out, saying that slang is fundamentally and essentially oral --
>>in its **origin**.  Please reply if you can show that this is not the case.
>IMHO there is now **written** slang.  I'm not sure what other category we
>could put things like what you see at the beginning of this sentence, not
>to mention things like
>cu, l8r, ymmv
>and all the stuff used in Instant Messaging.  (I note, incidentally, that
>Eudora 5.2 did not flag the first two items above (i.e. the spell-checker
>didn't underline them), which, I suppose, counts against my claim that this
>stuff is slang.  AFAIK linguists haven't classified this stuff yet (but I
>may be wrong--I'm a newbie on this list).

We might be quibbling here, but I've always taken _cool_ to be a nice
refutation of the claim that slang is evanescent, and in this context
I'd assume that Eudora would "accept" (slang) _cool_ as a word even
if the temperature sense dropped out of the language.  It is
interesting, though, that "l8r" is and "cu" are standard enough to be
entered in Eudora 5.2's dictionary.  The former gets underlined in my
Eudora 4.3, and while the latter doesn't, maybe it thinks we're
talking copper.


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