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Part VI. Idioms, Slang and Other Mutants > Chapter 36. Slang - Pg. 94

94 Chapter 36. Slang Slang does not fill a void in our vocabulary, in fact, it often provides new terms even where none are needed. Slang is not a part of our standard speech. It is entertainment, another way to say something, a shortcut to the mind. In any language slang is a proving ground for new words. New words are not brought by the stork. Rather, they enter a language because they are useful and expressive. "In-groups" and their code words merge with regular vocabulary, and over time, slang finds its way into our dictionaries. Slang can be the select speech of groups who wish to be different. Although slang creates group identity, it is not necessarily job related. Slang is a badge of mem- bership among such groups as teenagers, Hell's Angels, and jazz musicians, to name a few. Only those who belong to the group can make sense of its particular slang. Much slang consists of clever or insulting nicknames for types of people: nerds, wimps, dweebs . Social taboos are targets for slang as well: barf, cow chips, blimp out . Slang is a part of all cultures. Most slang lasts only a few years, then disappears. However, some imaginative words that begin as slang eventually become respectable words in the language, such as joke, fad, boom, crank, slump. Probably 35,000 expressions have come and gone in American slang. Slang is as much a