The etymology of the term slang is one of the most controversial and confusing issues in English lexicography
The etymology of the term slang is one of the most controversial and confusing issues in English lexicography. The difficulty of disclosing the origin of the term is deepened by its ambiguity and diverse interpretation of slang by the authors of dictionaries and special studies.
Firstly, on the date when the term appeared in the literature. For the first time, the term slang meaning “language of a low or vulgar type” was certified in 1756; since 1802, under this term, are corrected by the cant or jargon of a certain class or period, and from 1818, under the slang, they began to understand the language of a high-level colloquial type, which was considered as below the standard of educated speech, and consisting of either of new words or of current words employed in some special sense 26, 529.
E. Partridge indicates that from the second half of the last century, the term slang became commonplace for the “illegitimate” colloquial speech, whereas by 1850 this term was called all varieties vulgar language except cant. It should be noted that with the term slang it is notterminologically to use such synonyms of slang as argot, jargon, flash, gibberish, cant 27, 2-3. Originally, slang was used as a synonym for the term kent, later – until the term argo 25, 555.
As a linguistic term, slang is not in the dictionary of S. Johnson, which was published in 1755; In the first standard dictionary of N. Webster, published in America in 1828, the term slang is given with an explanation of a low, vulgar, unmeaning language. It is demonstrable that the term appeared for the first time in a special dictionary, and then it became applicable in interpretative dictionaries of general type 18, 29.
It was Groves in 1785 who introduced the term slang as a synonym for Kent in his famous dictionary of “low” language: slang-cant language. Having explained the slang through the kent, Groves divides the “low” language into two parts, calling the first part kent or slang. The Grove dictionary was very prominent and considered a benchmark, and, apparently, therefore, all other authors of the dictionaries of the “low” language became