Wednesday , 20 February 2019

Slang in a student’s English

Nowadays students on campus write and speak in slang and informal words. NT KURIOCITY spoke to students and teachers to know more


English is one of the most spoken languages in the world; however it has evolved over time. The change in usage of English can be seen in our daily life – how we talk, text, write etc. And it has also found its way into the education system.


Students use short forms to take notes

In fact, at times when teachers dictate notes, some students use short forms while writing down the notes. Student of Dnyanprassarak Mandal’s College, Assagao, Neha Chari says that when she was in school, she never used short hand while taking down notes. But things have changed in college. “When the teacher is explaining something, we usually understand the concept and note down the key words or phrases. But if the teacher is dictating notes, we do use short hand. In Economics we have terms, so I use abbreviations. This however is not allowed in exams,” she adds.

Using short forms has become a habit for Neha and she believes that it is a trend too. “If you aren’t using short forms you are considered outdated. Using short forms has also become a habit due to chatting on social media apps,” says Neha.

Student of Goa University, Bibiasha Dastgir Kadmeshwar also uses short forms to match the speed of teachers and feels that social media has played an important role in her picking up slang words. “I learnt slang words while watching movies, especially Bollywood, listening to friends and some locals by the road. Although slang language is considered bad by many but to some extent it makes our life easy as it creates a comfort zone,” she says adding that teenagers find it cool while talking in slang.

Student of BITS Pilani K K Birla Goa Campus, Rachith Aiyappa however stays away from using short forms in his notes except in using symbols like ‘&’ as most of the notes he makes as a part of his degree have a lot of equations and math. He says: “It rarely has full complete English sentences. It has a lot of scientific keywords which I can Google and read more about. I don’t write slang words at all. When speaking with friends though, we do use slang and informal language.”

He further states that the way students interact with professors can differ as older professors are more comfortable with formal language. “However, newer and younger professors insist that we speak informally but with respect and regard. They don’t insist that we call them ‘sir’ but they want us to be very free and open with them,” adds Aiyappa.

Student of Dhempe College of Arts and Science, Miramar, Senova Fernandes also doesn’t use short hand much but when the teacher is dictating, she writes three letters of the word and she knows what the word is. She does speak slang though as she hears it being used in college or by friends. “Also while chatting on social networking sites, it comes in quite handy and saves time,” says Senova.

Ravisha Kudchadkar of Fatima Convent High School, Margao feels that the modern world has brought a lot of reforms in the education sector. She says: “Today students are studying and thriving in a digital world. Pen and paper has slowly taken a back seat. Short forms and short hand is spontaneously developed during teacher’s dictation to focus more on the matter.” She adds that slang language is procured more by interacting with friends. “Communication skills are very important to survive in a rapidly changing world. Diction, fluency, and a little bit of slang is needed to be in the rat race.”


Use of slang words in exam papers

The habit of using slang/informal words can also be seen in exam papers, says assistant professor, Don Bosco College of Engineering, Fatorda, Satyendra Kakodkar. “There are abbreviations and students even write all questions as their answers,” he says.

Assistant professor, St Xavier’s College, Mapusa, Vailarose Fernandes also shares her experience and says that students do write a lot of codewords or SMS language in assignments or exams. “But it is unacceptable and they are corrected,” she adds.

With students using short forms or slang in exam papers, assistant professor, head of English department, Dnyanprassarak Mandal’s College, Assagao, Shanti Muninathan admits that after evaluating papers, she has to think twice about the correct spellings and grammar herself. “Everything is in short form, for example ‘for’ is written as ‘4’.


How teachers communicate in college

The way teachers communicate with the students have also changed over the years. Assistant professor, Agnel Institute of Technology and Design, Assagao, Chaitali Karekar informs that communication in colleges previously  would be at a primary level with a mix of slang and formal communication with due respect. “Certainly slang and informal words are always avoided when writing exams. But definitely slang in a non-abusive way is no more a crisis,” says Chaitali.

She adds that generally people use diverse phrases, words and ways of speaking in varying languages when they communicate with others who are similar in age and with familiar personalities. “However another universal set of words and expressions are used when you are in situations like at work, with strangers or authoritative professionals at first sight and later with changing degree of formalism,” she says.

Kakodkar shares that in the past the notice regarding the submissions/orals or any information was displayed on the notice boards located at various points in the campus and that “there was a habit of reading notice boards, which is lost over a period of times. Now although you display the notices, students hardly read it. Hence the best way is oral communication, WhatsApp or any other social media platforms.”

English has definitely changed over time. “Nowadays, the language used by college students is very casual. It’s more to do with technology as we use language to communicate online, and here we write like we speak in social media apps. So naturally social media with all its fancy jargons has influenced not just how we think but also the way we write,” says Vailarose.

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