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English Language Slang

June 10th, 2010

In many world languages there are common ways of casually saying things that are not directly translatable using a dictionary. The English language word for one kind of casual and common saying is “slang.” Some words and sayings that are categorized as slang may be considered to sound offensive, but there are many that are acceptable in most situations. Slang is casual and is generally not advisable to be used in formal situations or in business meetings. Here are some commonly acceptable slang expressions for English language students to be familiar with.
“What’s up?”

This highly common saying may make an English language student look up at the sky or ceiling, wondering why someone is asking what is up. It is actually used as a greeting in place of saying “Hi.” The phrase has a number of alternate and less polite variations. One is “Whassup?” and another was popularized to an extreme with “Wazzzzzzap?” and other similar silliness many years ago. This is spoken as a question, but it is the kind of question known as a “rhetorical” question. In the English language, when a question is rhetorical it means that it does not need to be answered. Even though “What’s up?” sounds like a question, there is no need to answer and it is basically the same as saying “Hi.”
“How’s it going?”

This is a very similar term to the previous phrase and is also highly common. There are many ways to say “Hi” in English. When people say this, it may seem natural for an English language student to respond by telling the person how they are. This is sometimes spoken as a rhetorical question, but responding by saying “Good. You?” or similar is certainly acceptable too.
“See you later.”

This is a common phrase used as a salutation to say goodbye. The phrase may be shortened to say either “Later.” or “See you.” Saying only “Later.” is more of a masculine term and is a little too impolite for many situations. “See you.” is a little more feminine. The person saying this is basically saying that they may see the person they are speaking to again later on.

“Hang out”

This common saying is used in multiple ways. When a person says “Let’s hang out” it means that they would like to do something together in a casual manner. “Hanging out” is basically just a casual slang term used to say that people are doing something casual together. For instance, when friends go to a movie or a restaurant together, it can be said “They were hanging out with each other.”

This is a relatively common slang word that means a person is relaxing. This term can also be used in a way that is similar to “hanging out.” This kind of “hanging out” would be of a relatively relaxed style. “Chill” or “Chill out” are also slang sayings that are used to suggest that a person relax. This is a relatively common masculine term between friends.

Hopefully this introduction to some common English language slang sayings has been entertaining and educational. Be sure to always use slang with care.