1

Background
The question is motivated by this post in the Russian forum, where the answers repeatedly refer to verb пересечёмся as "young people's slang" or "teenage slang". (пересечёмся = "we'll cross each other" in the sense "we will meet".) This made me think that, first of all, the young people/teenagers in question were young in 60s-70s, whereas by now there are several generations of Russians who use this expression. Moreover, I would not call it slang, as this implies pejorative meaning and the use in specific social groups, whereas the expression is in broad use use today. Still, it certainly belongs to colloquial/informal speech.

Question
The question is about the difference between slang, jargon, colloquial and informal or, more formally, about the classification of various colloquial uses. I think it belongs to the area of sociolinguistics, which is why I post it here. However Foreign languages forum might be also an appropriate place.

References
Here is a related question, although mine seems broader in its scope.

  • 3
    What's your actual question? – curiousdannii Mar 14 at 9:08
  • The difference between slang, jargon, colloquial and informal speech, and the definitions of these terms or an equivalent terminology in sociolinguistics. – Vadim Mar 14 at 9:14
  • 4
    Unfortunately, I doubt you'll easily find a standard set of definitions. One of the long-standing problems in linguistics is the lack of standardised terminology. There may be de facto standards within certain research traditions, and (good) authors will usually define these terms before using them if they are important concepts in the paper, but I don't think there is really a universally agreed upon set of definitions. – WavesWashSands Mar 14 at 9:25
  • 1
  • 1
    Well, you shouldn't start with definitions, because they come after everything, not before. They're descriptions, and they're only as valid as their describers make them. And those describers usually have other ideas in mind, like getting published and trying to push their theory and its terminology and traditions. What you really need to do is read some sociolinguistics, especially focussed on linguistic scenes that you're familiar with. Slavic? – jlawler Mar 14 at 18:41
4

Slang isn't necessarily pejorative but, as you mentioned, it does imply use in particular groups. If the phrase started as slang in the '60s and has already become mainstream, colloquial or informal should be more suitable. There's no clear threshold.

Jargon is more like a sublanguage used in a particular field of science, engineering, etc, so not applicable in this case.

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.