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Some More English Slang

In the last lesson, we went through some examples of English slang, and this time we can continue on that topic. Wikipedia describes slang as referring "to words, phrases and uses that are regarded as very informal and often restricted to special context or peculiar to a specified profession class and the like." 

 

If you over-ask, you're going to be immediately dismissed.
Caption 25, Job Hunting: How to Answer the Salary Question

 

There are many proper English words that use "over" as a prefix, such as "overeat," "overwork," and "overheat," but "overask" is not one of them! In this case, since it's not a proper word, a hyphen (-) was used to separate "over" from "ask", and it means "to ask too many questions." You can place "over" before practically any English verb, but if you aren't sure if it's a proper word or not, you are better off saying "We walked too much" rather than something like "We over-walked." 

 

Well, I kind of invited us in for a little look-see.
Caption 31: Karate Kids, USA: The Little Dragons

 

This is a case of several proper verbs being turned into an informal noun: "to take a look and see" has thus been shortened to "take a look-see." According to the Oxford Dictionary, the phrase originated in either pidgin English (pidgin languages being those that have developed between two peoples who do not share a native language) or as an imitation of pidgin English.

 

Interesting cultural differences in math-speak...
Caption 11, Numberphile: The Scientific Way to Cut a Cake

 

In informal English, it is fairly common to use the suffix "-speak" applied to any topic that has its own special terminology. For instance, difficult grammar terms could be referred to "grammar-speak" or somebody working on computer programming could be said to use "tech-speak." 

 

But I've got a shockeroo.
Caption 6, Schoolhouse Rock: Them Not-So-Dry Bones

 

In the above example, a "shocker" is a person or thing that shocks, and here they have just added "-oo" to add emphasis to the word. Adding vowels to the end of words to give emphasis has a long tradition in English, and can be seen in such examples as "righto" instead of "right," or "coolio" instead of "cool." It's not advisable to randomly add vowels to a word to make it sound more slang, however, these are specifics that must be learned and used, like all slang words, in the appropriate context! 

 

Further Learning
Do a search for "slang" on Yabla English and find other examples of slang words used in a real-world context. 

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