Youth slang as a result of media consumption

The article reflects the intermediate results of the research aimed at preparing a professionally-oriented vocabulary of modern youth slang to be used as a tool of operative psycholinguistic diagnostics. At present in Belarus, there are no lexicographic.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
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Язык английский
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Youth slang as a result of media consumption

Venidictov S.

PhD of Philology, Associate Professor,

Head of the Social and Humanitarian Department, Mogilev institute of the Ministry of internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Mogilev, Republic of Belarus

Ivanov E.

Lecturer of the Social and Humanitarian Department, Mogilev institute of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Mogilev, Belarus

The article reflects the intermediate results of the research aimed at preparing a professionally-oriented vocabulary of modern youth slang to be used as a tool of operative psycholinguistic diagnostics. At present in Belarus, there are no lexicographic sources that reflect the modern state of youth's speech substandard and are adapted for use in the practical activity of internal affairs bodies. Such editions are promising for operational psycholinguistic diagnostics -- revealing the signs of personality deviancy and peculiarities of the reflection of leading character accentuations through the analysis of oral and written speech.

The study of speech substandard is relevant because of the high degree of dynamism of this linguistic phenomenon and is mainly related to the analysis of youth slang on the Internet. Our study revealed the following patterns: 1) media consumption of youth is manifested in the development of speech culture, expressing itself in the development of an extensive group of speech substandard, among which the central place belongs to youth slang; 2) the main categories of youth slang are Internet slang, gaming slang, criminal slang, drug slang, media slang; 3) each category of youth slang is equally and widely represented in the Internet sources that indicates the global nature of digital socialization.

The work on the creation of the speech substandard dictionary involves the following stages: 1) compiling a lexico-semantic thesaurus of speech substandard; 2) conducting psycholinguistic classification of slang expressions; 3) formulating principles of deviant labelling for speech substandard; 4) establishing the connection between deviant speech markers and accentuated character traits; 5) elaborating principles of the lexicographic description of deviant youth speech substandard.

Keywords: youth slang, media content, slang, online dictionary, lexicographic description.


Венідіктов С.В.

канд. філол. наук, доц., начальник кафедри соціально-гуманітарних дисциплін, Могилевський інститут Міністерства внутрішніх справ Республіки Білорусь, м. Могилев, Республіка Білорусь

Іванов Є.

викладач кафедри соціально-гуманітарних дисциплін, Могилевський інститут Міністерства внутрішніх справ Республіки Білорусь, Могилев

Стаття відображає проміжні результати дослідження, що має на меті підготовку професійно орієнтованого словника сучасного молодіжного сленгу для використання як інструменту оперативної психолінгвістичної діагностики. Нині в Білорусі бракує лексикографічних джерел, які б відображали сучасний стан мовного субстандарту молоді та були адаптовані до використання в практичній діяльності працівників органів внутрішніх справ. Ці джерела перспективні для проведення оперативної психолінгвістичної діагностики -- виявлення ознак девіантності особистості та особливостей відображення в них провідних акцентуацій характеру за допомогою аналізу усного та писемного мовлення.

Вивчення мовного субстандарту є актуальним через високий рівень динамічності цього мовного явища й пов'язане з аналізом молодіжного сленгу в інтернеті. Проведене нами дослідження дозволило виявити такі закономірності: 1) медіа- споживання молоді проявляється в розвитку мовної культури, у становленні великої групи мовного субстандарту, серед якого основне місце посідає молодіжний сленг; 2) основними категоріями молодіжного сленгу є інтернет-сленг, геймерський сленг, блатний сленг, наркосленг, медіасленг; 3) кожна з категорій молодіжного сленгу широко представлена в інтернет-джерелах, що свідчить про глобальний характер цифрової соціалізації.

Робота зі створення словника мовного субстандарту передбачає такі етапи: 1) складання лексико-семантичного тезаурусу мовного субстандарту; 2) проведення психолінгвістичної класифікації сленгових та жаргонних висловів; 3) формулювання принципів девіантного маркування мовного субстандарту; 4) встановлення зв'язку між мовними маркерами девіантності та акцентуйованими рисами характеру; 5) вироблення принципів лексикографічного опису девіантного мовного субстандарту молоді.

Ключові слова: молодіжний сленг, медіаконтент, сленг, онлайн-словник, лексикографічний опис.


The processes of globalization and informatization have radically affected all spheres of modern society, not ignoring the linguistic one as well. The consequences of these processes are manifested in colloquial speech. Thus, the number of borrowings and cases of the formation of new lexical units has increased, and the dynamics of development can be seen on the example of changes in the structure of the speech substandard -- a dynamic subsystem of the national language, which includes extraliterary, territorial, social, ethnic and other components. Substandard speech is used by all categories of Internet users regardless of their social status and age. However, in our opinion, the vivid interest for the study has the youth slang of Internet users -- the result of spontaneous consumption of online media content.

Linguistics has not established a clear terminological and conceptual differentiation between jargon and slang, and there are no definitions of their specific characteristics. The study of youth slang on the Internet remains relevant due to the high degree of dynamism of this linguistic phenomenon. The intensity of the enrichment of youth language is extremely high due to the process of formation or reinterpretation of existing words, as well as borrowing constructions from other languages. Such background data clarifies that any dictionaries of youth jargon and slang cannot claim to be exhaustive. Some of them aren't exhaustive due to the irrelevance of the collected material, and others due to the insufficient number of lexical units. Finally, this lexical layer can serve as a tool of extralinguistic characteristics of an active Internet user. Thus, the frequency of specific terms in the speech is a marker of the speaker's belonging to the community.

Views on the essence and nature of slang differ. Researchers use different names to describe it: social dialect, group dialect, professional language, social language, sociolect, social style, jargon, slang and argot [7]. V. Elistratov considers the terms «argot», «jargon» and «slang» in one row, noting that «argot» is characterized by the traditional use in Russian linguistics, jargon is characterized by a negative evaluative colouring, and slang by the «fashionability» of use [5]. There is also a point of view according to which slang is a separate part of the vocabulary, opposed to the literary vocabulary, which does not contain dialectisms, professionalisms and jargonisms [3, p. 80]. The definition of slang proposed by O. Akhmanova is «words that are often seen as a violation of the norms of standard language» [2, p. 301].

At present, Russian-language linguistics has virtually no lexicographic sources (dictionaries, reference books, methodological recommendations, etc.), which reflect the current state of the speech substandard and are adapted for use in the practical activities of internal affairs bodies. Such sources, first of all, are of interest to the juvenile affairs inspectorate, but also are promising for use in the practice of district police inspectors, criminal investigation officers, patrol and checkpoint service and other units for operational psycholinguistic diagnosis -- identifying signs of personality deviancy and features of their reflection of the leading character accentuations through the analysis of oral speech.

Purpose of the study

After studying the theoretical and practical sources on the topic, the need to prepare a professionally-oriented dictionary of modern slang for use in the activities of law enforcement officers becomes obvious. That dictionary can be a tool of operative psycholinguistic diagnostics, which will not only reflect the state of substandard speech at this stage but also solve several practical problems. The relevance of such vector of research is due to the need to develop general communicative competence of law enforcement employees, formation of the ability to independent analysis of the speech behaviour of interlocutors in different types of communication, based on the understanding of the principles of functioning and content of speech substandard (slang, professional vocabulary, jargon, argot, etc.).

Research results

youth slang media consumption

The main approaches to the systematization of substandard speech are related to the lexicographic description of slang. There are a large number of printed and electronic dictionaries, among which are the «Explanatory Dictionary of Russian Slang» by V. Elistratov (12 thousand units) and «Youth Slang» by T. Nikitina (20 thousand units) stand out. Some words quickly become obsolete and go out of use within a few years, thus printed editions largely reflect not the actual state of the substandard, but its static reflection in a certain period. With such data any dictionaries of jargon, slang or professionalisms cannot claim to be complete (due to the irrelevance of the collected material, insufficient number of lexical units, etc.).

In addition, the common approaches to the lexicographic description of the speech substandard ignore the possibility of its consideration as a tool of psycholinguistic diagnosis, which does not allow to use them as a tool of solving practical problems faced by law enforcement units. Also in the existing research has not been conducted deviance labelling of the most common in online and offline communication speech constructions. Such labelling is promising because slang and authorial expressions are highly metaphorical constructions and cannot be regarded as reflecting deviant expressions out of context. This peculiarity is typical primarily for online sources: for example, the Russian-language streamer Mellstroy, known for his asocial streams and convicted of causing bodily harm during an online broadcast («stream»), often uses in his speech such common words as «beda», «burya», «kamen'», «borov». These words out of context and tied to the media content of this blogger do not contain deviant markers, but when used in a certain context (e.g. «Borovy, uuuuu!») serve as a marker of deviancy.

Thus, the scientific idea of our research lies in the possibility of verbal manifestation of the traits of an accentuated personality. Accordingly, using the results of the lexicographic description of the speech substandard, law enforcement officers will be able to establish the signs of a criminal personality through the analysis of speech and the identification in it of lexical units (primarily, slang), which act as markers of deviancy. For example, in youth slang, there is a widespread expression «zaskazamit mamonta», which means «to deceive an old, adult person». It should be noted that only when this expression is used from the first person we can talk about a clear marker of deviance of the speaker. If we are talking about the slang of «drug addicts» or «hoodlums», then almost all the word forms carry the marker of deviancy:

Terka -- a conversation, a problem, a difficulty, a conflict: davay peretrem = let's discuss; chto u vas za terki = what's your problem?

Sisya -- a plastic container (bottle) for cheap beer and beer surrogate of 1 liter or more: pojdesh' v magaz -- zacepi paru sis' ohoty = buy two bottles of beer «Hunting» in the store; ya vchera ubralsya s pyati sis' “ohoty” krepkoj = I fell asleep yesterday in a state of intoxication after five bottles of strong beer «Hunting»; my na dvoih napare sisyu raskatali = we two on classes drank a large bottle of beer.

Amahasla is the equivalent transcription of the English expression «I am a hasla» -- «amahasla», which is translated as «I am a pickpocket (petty thief)»: ya mazhu chernuyu ikru vmesto masla -- ama-ama HASLA! = I eat black caviar instead of butter -- I'm a pickpocket!

Psycholinguistic classification of slang and its lexicographic description in the form of a dictionary will form a toolkit, adapted for use in the activities of law enforcement officers and contributing to the improvement of the general communicative culture of officers. In the process of research, an interdisciplinary approach is implemented. Such scientific methods as lexico-semantic analysis, psycholinguistic characteristics of examples of the use of lexical units, lexicographical description, as well as thematic labelling of practical research material are used.

Youth slang is a concept that, upon closer examination, is divided into the next categories.

1. Internet slang

Internet slang is constantly changing, and it is difficult to give a standardized definition. However, it can be understood as any slang that Internet users have popularized and in many cases invented. Internet slang is a non-standard or informal form of language used by people on the Internet to communicate with each other. Internet slang emerged at the dawn of the Internet, and some terms predate the Internet. The earliest forms of Internet slang assumed that people knew programming and commands in a particular language. Internet slang is used in chat rooms, social networks, online games, video games. Since 1979, users of communication networks such as Usenet have been creating their abbreviations.

Internet slang is a huge part of youth slang. Here are a few examples:

Bag -- a discrepancy between the technical specification of a program and the actual behaviour of the system, a glitch in operation, a mistake or defect of the developers, due to which the gameplay does not go as originally intended.

Bayan -- an anecdote, a funny story, which has already been heard many times.

Gamat' -- from English «game» -- to spend time playing a computer game.

Guglit -- to use the search engine «Google».

Zabajtit' -- to provoke, for example, in correspondence, in comments or posts on forums and social networks.

2. Gamer (gaming) slang

The conventional language by which players in various games exchange information. The emergence of gaming slang is associated with the emergence of mass online games, where it became an integral part of gameplay.

Game slang is characterized by brevity, and the associated content and emotionality, which is due to the need for rapid transfer of information and due to the emotional intensity of the game.

Most computer slang is created by young people mastering computers and getting involved in everything related to it. At the same time, the boundaries of youth and computer slang are blurred. Their varieties include gaming slang (or gamer slang) along with the slang of hackers (experienced users) and common users.

Online games involve a large number of users from all over the world, and once in the same space, they are forced to resort to some universal means of communication. Thus, gaming slang acts as a way of communication between users who are speakers of different languages. Such a «game» language makes it possible to interact quickly and easily and to achieve successful game results. Initially, newcomers do not know the used words, but over time they become simple and understandable to them, and in this way, the linguistic boundaries are erased.

At the same time, slang within slang can form within a single game. That is, in certain games (e.g., Dota 2, Counter-Strike) there is a separate slang for gamers, which is peculiar only to the players of this game.

Examples of gamer slang:

Bot -- a person who does not know how to play at the level of other competitors.

Gang -- from English. (gang) -- a brigade, gang. Group of players, maximally enhanced with protective and attacking spells, combing through various game territories in search of enemies to kill them.

Glyuchit'sya -- playing computer games incessantly.

Donatit' -- service of transferring real money into game currency or exchanging them for additional game features.

Zadrot -- A person who spends a lot of time playing computer (mostly online) games.

3. «Blatnoj» (criminal) slang

Blatnoj (criminal, thievish) slang is a social dialect (sociolect), which developed among the declassified elements of society, usually professional criminals and convicts in prisons. It is a system of terms and expressions designed to initially identify members of the criminal community as a separate part of society, opposing the law-abiding society. The use of terms and expressions is also intended to make it difficult for the uninitiated to understand the meaning of a conversation or communication between declassified elements. Thieves' jargon usually reflects the internal hierarchy of the criminal world, fixing the most offensive and insulting words and nicknames to those on the lowest rung of the hierarchy, and the most respectful words and expressions to those with the most power and influence.

The criminal sphere adopted as early as the nineteenth century (and possibly earlier) the argot originally used by the wandering traders “ofenyami” (hence the origin of the word «fenya»):

Vertuhaj -- warden.

Vstat' na lyzhi -- to an escape.

Bombit' -- to steal.

Nagret' -- to enrich oneself by deception.

Naezd -- a verbal or physical threat.

Otvetka -- aggressive actions in response to a verbal or physical threat.

Hor (horovod) -- a criminal group, a gang.

Gasit' (smb) -- to beat, beat up.

4. Drug slang

Slang associated with the non-medical use of drugs developed in the Soviet Union in the early 1980s with the spread of drugs and psychoactive substances. The main carriers of the slang were young people who were interested in drugs and illegal substances. A significant part of the slang was taken up by terms related to ways of cheap acquiring or synthesizing narcotic and toxic substances in pharmacies or household chemical stores. Some of the words have been borrowed from the slang of English-speaking drug users and rastamen. Slang is often found in thematic works of literature, music and movies related to the drug subculture.

Agregat, apparat -- a medical syringe for injecting drugs.

Aut -- the action of the drug in which the addict loses contact with the outside world.

Baryga -- a person who sells drugs.

Botanik -- a person who grows cannabis at home and who likes to smoke it.

Boks -- a matchbox as a measure of drugs.

Blyumstrem -- the common name for states of drug intoxication.

5. Media slang

Media slang is a type of slang that is produced in the media sphere. In most cases, media slang is represented by the speech from the idiolects of famous media persons, Internet bloggers and streamers.

Sabzh -- money.

Syudaaaa -- an expression of joy over some acquisition (precedes the receipt of a benefit).

Nu takoe -- an expression of dissatisfaction, disappointment.

Baldezh -- an expression of joy.

Osuzhdayu -- the expression of absolute disapproval, rejection of the situation.

Autichno -- stupid.

Ocherednyara -- a weak opponent.

Zasolil -- contributed the most, won alone.

Sheputarij -- laughter (shouting, yelling).

Solnechnaya sistema Mendeleeva -- our universe.

Zavoz -- win, benefit.

Podrubaliti -- the beginning, the inclusion of a live broadcast.

Lsnyj -- a bad, weak player (low-skill).

Thus, the main categories of youth slang are the following: Internet slang, gamer slang, «blatnoj» (criminal) slang, drug slang, media slang. Each of the categories is equally widely represented in Internet sources.

The work on the creation of the speech substandard vocabulary includes the following stages:

a) compiling a lexico-semantic thesaurus of speech substandard based on the analysis of media sources (dynamic base in electronic form);

b) carrying out the psycholinguistic classification of slang and slang expressions;

c) formation of principles of deviant labelling of speech substandard;

d) establishing the connection between the speech markers of deviance and accentuated character traits of a criminally oriented personality;

e) development of principles of the lexicographic description of deviant speech substandard.


Consequently, the scientific significance of the study is in the development of principles of the lexicographic description of deviant speech substandard and psycholinguistic classification of slang and slang expressions, which previously did not become the subject of a separate study of interdisciplinary orientation.

Apart from the fact that the preparation of the dictionary of modern speech substandard has obvious practical importance (use in the activities of internal affairs officers for operational psycholinguistic diagnostics), the results of the study will be used in the creating of scientific and methodological support for the disciplines «Fundamentals of profiling», «Organization of the juvenile inspector service activity», «Rhetoric», «Professional ethics», «Operational-investigative psychology», «Psychology» in the Mogilev Institute of the MIA. It is worth noting the social significance of the work: the study of the variability of speech processes in different social groups reflects the general direction and dynamics of social development.

Thus, the solution of the problem of lexicographic description of speech substandard with the allocation of markers of deviance in its structure contributes to the general communicative culture of the employees of the internal affairs bodies. In terms of practice, the study will create a psycholinguistic toolkit, which will be used in the activities of employees of various departments of the internal affairs bodies, as well as in the process of teaching disciplines that include linguistic and psychological and communicative components in the educational institutions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.


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