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Slang is destroying the English language

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/29/2016 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 734 times Debate No: 92028
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (2)
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Round 1: main arguments
Round 2: rebuttal and conclusions

(Note: this is intended to be a short and humorous debate and does not reflect any existing strong opinions!)


There was once a time where every word had its own individual meaning. For example, being 'gay' meant being 'happy' and 'shifting' meant 'to move'.

It is understandable when a new slang word is created- but when people use everyday words that already exist and destroy them by assigning the words a completely different meaning, that is totally unacceptable. Let's take the two words above for example. Why can't people just use the words 'homosexual' and 'kissing' instead of 'gay' and 'shifting'? Or if they really wanted to create a code name for the words, why can't people just stop being lazy and actually CREATE their own words out of gibberish instead of COPYING or STEALING other people's words?

Everyday, words and phrases are being destroyed without us even realising. You can no longer say something like "I'm going to meet him next week" without people both young and old trying to suppress their sniggering. And not only will you say something completely normal and be answered with "that's what she said", but you will no longer even be able to say "that's what she said" in the original context without some misunderstanding from others. Slang words are clearly destroying the English language and limiting the availability of words that we can use.

Thank you for reading and I beg you to oppose.

Vote pro.


I'm up for a short and light debate, so I'll give this a go.

First off, there was never a time where every word had its own individual meaning. Languages grow and evolve constantly, an if you know anything about linguistics, you would know that words have been being assigned new meanings since humans developed an advanced form of speech.

Many people think slang is a new thing, but it most certainly isn't. Modern may be different from the slang of the 19th century, and some argue that it is more vulgar, but slang is really just an innovative way of talking.

The reason why people take words and assign them slightly (sometimes very) different meanings is because words we recognize catch on better than gibberish. Even Shakespeare modified words and gave them new meanings. The English language also uses many Greek and Latin words and terms and gives them similar or even loosely related meanings.

Take for example, the Latin word 'ad,' meaning 'to' in Latin. In English, it is a suffix meaning 'to' or even 'towards.'

Now let's look at the word 'nice.' It is a compliment today, but used to describe someone who was simple and foolish. We don't look at it as a slang word now, because it doesn't mean both, the definition has completely shifted.

Slang could be described as the transitional phase between two meanings.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you Con for your point.

I'm going to begin my argument with a passage from George Orwell's 1984:

"The destruction of words (...) Take "good," for instance. If you have a word like "good," what need is there for a word like "bad"? "Ungood" will do just as well- better even (...) Or again, if you want a stronger version of "good," what sense is there in having a whole string of vague useless words like "excellent" and "splendid" and all the rest of them? "Plusgood" covers the meaning or "doubleplusgood" if you want something stronger still."

Sounds pretty ridiculous, right? But isn't that very similar to what is happening to our English language as you stated in your argument? ("Slang could be described as the transitional phase between two meanings.")

I agree with you, of course the English language has to change in some form, especially with the addition of new words as new things are being invented, discovered etc. But by gradually assigning each current word a different meaning (ie. slang), eventually, in another millennium, people will be talking in a completely different way than today. You might think, "Well what the heck has that got to do with me!" And you're absolutely right, it has NOTHING to do with you. But what about the future? We're here sitting comfortably, enjoying the amazing works of Shakespeare, Lord Byron and the other greats. But in another millennium, nobody is going to understand ONE SINGLE LINE of 'Hamlet' or 'Don Juan'. There'll be no special dictionaries called 'English 1AD-1500' and 'English 1500-1600' etc. And if there will be, it won't allow the people to personally indulge into and appreciate the stories of the writers- all because some people are randomly creating new meanings for our ALREADY existing words. In conclusion, slang is not only destroying the current version of the English language but also the beauty of past works of art.

Thank you and I beg you to oppose. It was a pleasure to debate with you.

Vote Pro.


I highly doubt a language such as English will change into a completely different language because of slang. Sure, English has changed greatly since Old English, but we no longer live in the conditions that allow languages to change greatly. In fact, English speakers today could speak with English speakers of the 1500s. [1] It may be weird, but we'd understand each other on a basic level.

Plus, we have people today who can translate ancient Hebrew. I'm pretty sure we'd have people in the future who could translate our current language to their own.

It's been a pleasure debating with you. :3


Debate Round No. 2
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by missmozart 2 years ago
To corporealbeing:
Posted by corporealbeing 2 years ago
Out of courtesy, I will not vote for myself.
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