The history of slang – how a criminal code became everyday speech

jonathon-green-language-500-years-of-the-vulgar-tongueSlang was once the language of thieves and beggars – a criminal code that helped them communicate with each other and organise crime from the streets to behind bars. Like a puzzle we need to solve, it’s held a fascination for us for centuries; a sometimes salacious desire to be in on its secrets and be part of the “in crowd”. Slang lexicographer Jonathan Green draws on thirty years research to trace the history of slang in a follow-up to his slang dictionary.

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Author and Lexicographer, Jonathan Green

This story first appeared on The Wire

 

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