'Slang’ and ‘jargon’ are terms often used interchangeably because they are both sociolects. In other words, they are both varieties of language used by a particular social group or class. However, while jargon (written or spoken) tends to be terminology associated with certain professions or social activities, slang is more commonly associated with the spoken language, and with social groups whose values and practices differ from, and sometimes antagonise, those of the majority or dominant group in their society. The values, beliefs and practices of such minority/non-dominant groups are sometimes referred to as ‘subcultures’.
In this section you will look at slang from a number of different languages in order to work out what they have in common, especially in terms of their role in relation to the corresponding mainstream cultures.