The use of slang in English, Kazakh and Russian languages

Features of using slang in oral speech between friends. Slang as special vocabulary used by any set of people of low or doubtful nature, language of low and vulgar type. The main reasons for the use of slang people. The popularity of slang in Kazakhstan.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
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Язык английский
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The use of slang in English, Kazakh and Russian languages

Kasenova A.K., Mamedaliyeva A.A.

Taraz state university by M. Kh. Dulaty, Taraz

Usually slang is used more in oral language than in written language and used between friends than between unfamiliar faces. But slang belongs to colloquial language. In XVI - XVII th centuries “English Criminal Cant Language” was very popular and used by robbers and offenders. This language developed very slowly and at the end of XVI th century this style of speech called “Without reason or order”. In XVIII th century teachers didn't allow pupils to use “Cant” language and explained that slang languages are taboo words. However slang began to use in plays. At first time slang used in Kicharci's play, than in Sorapa's poems. Also in XVIII th century Westward's expansion, Civil war and other stories gave the way for the quick developing of slang among people [ 2 ].

Slang as "the special vocabulary used by any set of persons of a low or disreputable character; language of a low and vulgar type." In fact, both Crystal and The Historical Dictionary of American Slang point out that Samuel Johnson and Jonathan Swift produced the very first dictionaries partly out of great concern for the corruption of the Standard English language.

"According to the British lexicographer, Eric Partridge (1894-1979), people use slang for any of at least 7 reasons: [ 1 ].

1. 'Just for the fun of the thing'; in playfulness or waggishness.

2. Usually for self-display or snobbishness

3. To escape from clichйs, or to be brief and concise. (Actuated by impatience with existing terms.)

4. To enrich the language.

5. To reduce, perhaps also to disperse, the solemnity, the pomposity, the excessive seriousness of a conversation (or of a piece of writing);

6. To show that one belongs to a certain school, trade, or profession, artistic or intellectual set, or social class; in brief, to be 'in the swim' or to establish contact.

7. To be secret - not understood by those around one. (Children, students, lovers, members of political secret societies, and criminals in or out of prison, innocent persons in prison, are the chief exponents.)

Here are given some examples of slang by Cassie Howell:

Slang: Originally meant abuse

Cool: This popular expression is used to describe something that is very good. Example: “That band is cool!”

Chill: This can mean to calm down, for example, “Chill out, Dude.” It also can have an "-in" ending added to mean to relax, as in “We're just chill in at my house.” slang speech vocabulary popularity

Peace: Used as a greeting during the late 60's and early 70's.

Stinks: When used as a slang term, this means "is bad." For example: “This exam stinks.”

Troll in: Used to describe a car or cars traveling slower than the flow of traffic. Example: "This car is really troll in."

Also there are school slangs which used by pupils. For example: In Russian language the teachers of different subjects “Физичка, молекула - the teacher

of Physics ”, “биологичка - the teacher of Biology”, “англичанка - the teacher of English”, “колба - the Chemistry teacher ”, “кисточка - the teacher of Art”, “принтер - the teacher of Computer science”. School marks “параша, твикс - unsatisfactory mark”, “трендель - satisfactory mark”. Employers of school “училка - the teacher”, “дерюга, дерюжка - the headmaster”, “завучиха - manager”. The names of subjects “Mathematics - матеша”, “P.E - физра”.

As for English language there are a lot of social groups in high schools and often your lifestyle and dress-style will identify you, maybe even alienate you. Most high schools (and every American movie about high school) are populated with preppies, jocks, nerds and freaks. Preppies are the rich kids who have nice clothes and a nice car. Stereotypically they are very snobby and look down on other students. They are the future businessmen and politicians of the world because their parents' money and status will buy them everything! Some preppies are also jocks, kids who excel at sports. Jocks are traditionally not interested in academic classes and have bad grades, but they win every football game! Nerds or geeks are the opposite: very good at academic classes, but not good at sport [ 6 ].

In Kazakh language slang is more used among young people. For example: “Сен осы со??ы кезде к?п ?уып ж?рсі?”, “?умашы”, “??ла?тан теппе”, “Лапша ілу” etc. while investigating our theme we can say that in Kazakh language there wasn't any scientist who wrote about slang, because we couldn't find any material about slang. Early Kazakh young people had a conversation adding another sound in every syllable in order others couldn't understand them. For example: Айнур they called ПиАйпинур; Мафа?афан кефелефесіфінбафа. B.Hasanov in his report “Ana tili-Ata Mura” confirms that slang or jargon is used in order to identify members of group [ 4 ].

In Kazakh language slang is more popular as vulgar and unpleasant sides of speech than argo and more used by robbers, businessmen, rebels and students.

In due time in soviet literature slang was used by F.I.Panpherova, F.V.Gladkov, I.E.Babelya, I.Ilf, E.Petrova , V.Aksenova and others. For example: “СССР” means ancient people, “Барби”- beautiful girl, “шестерка”- traitor, “Австралия” - the separated person who lives by himself, “ЧМО,чмошный”- the person, morally lagged behind, abnormal. The term “slang” has synonyms like “argo” and “jargon”.

Semantic words of youth language. In early time some words like: to take care, OK, to get up, lunch, of course were used as slang. Especially the word “OK” used in several languages even in Kazakh, Russian languages. “OK” means “everything is well”, also means “good” or “thank”. OK was appeared from the “all correct” English people are popular with the shortening words. For example: dinosaurs- dino, technological-techno, doctor-doc, exhibition-exhibit. “XYZ” ( Examine Your Zipper) means check your trouser's button. Also British and American people like to shorten words while reading. For example: often - ofen ( letter - “t”), a humour - humor( letter- “u”), a programme - program ( letter - “e”), some words also connected with the numerals, so for - 4(four), late - 8(eight). For example: I love you 4ever ( I love you forever); I'm going to be l8 ( I'm going to be late) often used in SMS.

Comparison of slang in three languages which have the same meanings





Damn it!

?ап! Сайтан!

Блин! Черт!


In full fig

Тема киінген

В клевом прикиде



Бос с?з

Глупости, чепуха






Hard cheese!

О ?ырсы?!

Какая неудача!


What a pity!


Какая жалость!


Fatso, fatty

Таба?, бот?а

Жирняк, толстяк



Бопты, келістік!



Shut up!

Жап аузы?ды!



Things are going swimmingly

Майлап ?ой?андай жып ете ?алды

Как по маслу



?андай с?лу ?ыз

Клевая баба, красотка


I don't care a fart, I'm easy

Ма?ан б?рібір

Мне пофигу, по барабану


Arse licker


Подлиза, подхалим


Belly, paunch





Су ж?рек


The aim of using slang is seldom the exchange of information. More often, slang serves social purposes: to identify members of a group, to change the level of discourse in the direction of informality, to oppose established authority.

Slang is typically cultivated among people in society who have little real political power (like adolescents, college students, and enlisted personnel in the military) or who have reason to hide from people in authority what they know or do ( like gamblers, drug addicts, and prisoners).

The slang of English speaking people influenced Kazakh, Russian languages on the one hand it enriched the language, on the other hand it damaged.

Taking into consideration the opinion of scientists we can give some categories of slang:

Slang is a vernacular not generally acceptable in formal usage: it's the non-standard use of words and sometimes the creation of new words or importation of words from another language [ 3 ].

1. Slang is often particular to a brief period of time, with common usage ranging from decades to only a few months. Therefore words which are widely used and understood at one time, don't have the same meaning later. For example: a good thing may have been “swell” in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, “groovy” in the 1960s, and “cool” in the 1970's.

2. Slang serves the important function of identifying people as members of a group: because we know the same words, we are members of a group and can therefore speak freely around each other. Slang also therefore serves to change the level of conversation from formal to informal, allowing users to handle awkward social situations.


1. Oxford dictionary

2. Tony Throne Bloomsbury dictionary

3. English-Russian Dictionary of American Slang // Перевод и составление Т. Ротенберг и В.Иванова-М.: Инфосерв, 1994

4. Хасанов Б. «Ана тілі - ата м?ра»

5. Орысша - ?аза?ша - а?ылшынша п?ндік - та?ырыпты? с?здік


7. Muratov N. Thesis: “The use of youth's slang in Kazakh and English languages”, 2010

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