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Slang: A male domain?


A brief overview of various definitions of the problematic term “slang” precedes a discussion of stereotyped perceptions of slang and whether it is a male or female linguistic characteristic. Following this is a report on an investigation carried out on 160 South African adolescents, which attempted to measure the effect of the following variables on the use of slang: sex, age and type of school. Although interesting sex-related differences are revealed in the results, which can be correlated with the theme of social power and status, it is argued that the expected differences between males and females in this area are not as striking as one is led to believe by literature in the field, and that the gap is likely to close: it is probably not the sex of the speaker alone that influences slang usage, but also, and perhaps more importantly, his/her age and scholastic environment.

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de Klerk, V. Slang: A male domain?. Sex Roles 22, 589–606 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00288237

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  • Social Psychology
  • Social Power
  • Linguistic Characteristic
  • Problematic Term
  • Male Domain