Learning a language from books and in class is great as it makes you a good speaker who understands syntax and grammar rules. However, it also makes you a very formal speaker.
And this can be a drawback when you’re interacting with locals.
Here are 6 ways knowing slang helps you in language learning:
1. Helps You Stay Updated On Current Events
While slang has always been around, the rate at which it is created and how fast it goes out of fashion nowadays is highly dedicated by the internet. By researching and adopting trendy slang in your language, you are more likely to be aware of current events that led to the rise of that slang.
Not only will you be able to understand what kind of events affect the local population, but you will also have some talking points if you ever need as you know about the current events of the country of your choice.
2. Adds More Richness To Your Cultural Understanding
Native speakers of a language hardly ever formally speak their language. As language serves a purpose of function for native speakers, you can experience a harder time trying to blend in with the locals.
Slang can add more richness to your understanding of culture and blend in better with natives.
3. Makes It Easy To Make Friends In A Foreign Country
While your language goals may vary, many language learners’ main goal is to be able to travel to a new country and study or work there. However, making friends in a new country can be hard as people may act differently when they see you as a foreigner.
By using slang, you can show your colleagues and co-workers that you’re not a threat nor are you someone they can scam.
Your fluency and comfort in their native language can easily impress a local right off the bat and change their perception of you.
You would be surprised to learn how far some witty slang can take you when it comes to making friends and being accepted by acquaintances.
4. Avoid Misunderstandings And Miscommunications
While your language teacher may groan at this idea, you might have to learn a language the wrong way to help avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications when interacting with locals.
No matter how much we fail to recognize it, languages evolve to the point where a word might have meant one thing, and some decades later it is being used in a very different context.
An example of this is using “Platonic” to describe relationships that do not include any romance and end in friendship. However, if you were to dig deeper into the etymology of the word, you will quickly realize the difference between the original meaning and its use today.
5. Helps You Interact With The Creative Culture
One place that language can often change quite a bit is when it comes to creativity in a society. Whether it is music, movies, or poetry, you will not be able to truly understand the meaning without knowing a few cultural slang.
This is also why music, movies, and poetry are often used in classes to help students better understand slang and the language in general.
6. Assist With Understanding Regional Dialects
Regional dialects can vary immensely when you go to different areas within a country or even to another country that speaks the same language. These dialects can differ so much that they seem like a whole new language that you only understand bits and pieces of.
In times like these, learning regional slang can help you carry out a conversation that you otherwise would have struggled with.
All in all, slang can immensely enrich your understanding of culture, language, and a new society in general.
Try your best to learn as much as you can as it can improve your experience of a new country.
And remember, if you know all the slang, you’ll know when someone is being mean or disrespectful and speak up for yourself!