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Advice on Learning Slang

Advice on Learning Slang

Date: Jul 14 2010

Topic: Idioms and Slang

Author: andylu2


So many students want to learn slang and they don't know how to do it.  I want to give some advice on the best ways to learn slang while saving a lot of time and energy.  Here are some Do's and Don'ts. 

1.   Don't learn slang from a list.  There are so many lists of slang and idioms all over the internet.  There are two reasons this is a poor method for learning slang.  The first reason is that you won't know which slang terms are more common than others.  I just saw on a list someone wrote "A stitch in time saves nine".  That is an idiom but it's seriously something my grandma would laugh at.  It is really that old and should almost never be used.  Trust me, there are a million examples like that.  The second reason is that if you learn from a list then it is easy to forget what you learned.  There is no context and the brain won't remember it easily unless you learn it in a context that fits with your own life.

2.  Watch movies, TV, and listen to podcasts! This advice is given all the time by people but I want to talk a little about why it is a great way to learn slang.  The first reason is that the slang in movies and TV is what is really used in daily life.  It is also fun to watch movies and TV, which will make it more likely you continue studying.  Another reason is that the context will make the slang easier to remember.  You will hear it along with seeing the perfect situation to use it.  The reason to listen to podcasts is that unlike movies and TV, the podcasts take the time to explain the commonly used slang.  If you can understand it, you can remember it and use it in your own life.  

English Baby makes an excellent podcast and you should listen to them.

My brother and I also make an ESL podcast I think you'd enjoy. Good luck with your studying!Cool


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"into the wild"



for example "cock" :) 

04:50 PM Jul 30 2010 |




Interesting !!!!

10:20 PM Jul 20 2010 |




Thanks Andy,helpful advices :}

09:00 PM Jul 19 2010 |

Horace Song


yeah,very helpful

08:32 AM Jul 17 2010 |


United States

I basically agree with you since trying to learn a vocabulary list of slang is not an efficient use of study time.  However, I did put together a list of commonly used slang at the request of a student who visited the United States and could not understand much of the conversations of young people.  The list is in the Teacher Talk forum.

Learning slang, phrases and idioms in context is the best method, I was helped by your lesson. 

04:51 AM Jul 15 2010 |



Well said…Indeed I agree on what you have written coz I have tried learning slang from a list and it was useless…But learning it from tv and prodcast and having native speaker friends are very helpful. My english is getting better…Thank you very muchSmile

12:40 AM Jul 15 2010 |

"into the wild"


Too long.

12:23 AM Jul 15 2010 |

bystander :-)


Excellent, funny podcast, understandable explanations. :) 

08:16 PM Jul 14 2010 |

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