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It’s OK to teach slang, innit?

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Sascha Stollhans, a senior teaching associate at Lancaster University, argues in the Languages, Society & Policy journal that teaching slang and regional dialects can be beneficial to English language students.

While some argue that slang could confuse students and, further, be detrimental to those taking exams – for instance, if they use a slang term rather than standard English – Sascha Stollhans disagrees: “Language learners will need to be able to understand slang and dialect when mixing with so-called ‘native’ speakers.” He adds, “In the UK, where school-based language learning has been in crisis mode for a while now, learning more about the varied ways in which ‘native speakers’ in different places and contexts communicate could be just the way to get students motivated and interested.

“This process can be extremely creative and tell us a lot about other cultures. It can also be an important step towards a more diverse and inclusive curriculum. After all, language norms are often political and historical, and there are a variety of speakers of a language.”

So, when it comes to students earning a region’s slang, it could just be the bee’s knees. 

Image courtesy of Dmitry Grigoriev on Unsplash
Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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