Slang is usually defined in terms of formality, or, rather, informality. For example, according toCAL, slang is “very informal language that is usually spoken rather than written, used especially byparticular groups of people” (CAL s.v. slang n.
). The above basic definition, however, does not shedany light on what very informal language is. That is perhaps because drawing the line betweeninformal language and very informal language (e.
g. slang) is difficult. For example, how does onedetermine if a word or an expression is informal or slang? What does slang encompass?Furthermore, the dictionary suggests that slang is “used especially by particular groups of people”(CAL s.
v. slang n.). What groups of people use slang and for what purposes? In this section I willdiscuss the aforementioned questions and characterize the different features of slang.Quirk et al.
suggest that speakers’ choice of stylistic language variety (i.e. formal, neutral,informal) is affected by their attitudes towards the subject, the recipient and the purpose ofcommunication (Quirk et al. 1985: 25).
That is, the more polite or impersonal attitude the speakerhas towards the hearer and the topic, the more formal his/her choice of words and grammar will be.The opposite is also true: the speaker’s friendlier attitude towards the hearer would result in less