If you're interested in learning more about African American culture, a dictionary of black slang can be a valuable resource.
Black slang is a form of informal spoken language with origins most often associated with African American teenagers and young adults. However, other individuals use these type of expressions as well.
Examples of black slang include:
Black slang may be considered a part of African American Vernacular English, an informal dialect regularly spoken by 80 to 90 percent of the black population in the United States.
Also referred to as African American English and Ebonics, African American Vernacular English shares many linguistic characteristics associated with various Creole dialects. The vocabulary, pronunciation, and unique grammatical structures also bear some resemblance to traditional West African languages.
Since the English language draws its inspiration from a variety of sources, it should come as no surprise that a number of words that were once considered part of African American Vernacular English are now commonplace in our culture, largely because of their popular use in media and music. These words often stream into other groups and a wide variety of people begin using them.
Like any other language, black slang develops and changes with time.
If you're not accustomed to hearing black slang in your daily life, you may find yourself completely oblivious to the definition or correct usage of common slang terms. Fortunately, there are a number of websites devoted to helping people increase their knowledge of this unique form of the English language.
When using an online dictionary of black slang, you'll want to ask yourself a few questions to determine the reliability of the resource:
Some of the most popular online dictionaries of black slang include:
Although there are many people who will argue that black slang and African American Vernacular English is simply a corrupted version of "proper" English, linguists have decided that this form of language is worthy of further study. Therefore, it's incorrect to assume that people who use words associated with black slang and African American Vernacular English are simply too naive or uneducated to speak properly.
Of course, it's still logical to believe that slang of any origin is inappropriate for use in formal settings such as a corporate business environment.