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Mind Your Slanguage

Benjamin Zephaniah explores the moral panic surrounding language change and asks why Jamaican patois remains the slang of choice for British teenagers.

In 2007, Manchester Academy banned street slang from their classrooms, and reported soaring exam results the following year. Most linguists agree that the key to using street slang successfully is 'appropriacy' - the ability to turn it on and off in different situations. So why do young people today appear less able to discern appropriacy than they were 20 years ago? Is banning slang the answer or, as some experts suggest, should teachers and parents try learning it?

Including contributions from Ann Widdecombe MP, BBC 1Xtra DJ Ras Kwame and Tony Thorne of the Slang and New Language Archive, King's College, London.

Release date:

30 minutes

Last on

Tue 8 Dec 2009 11:00