Don't Learn Slang
It's very attractive to try to imply that you're so familiar with this language that you can use slang, but actually you're getting ahead of yourself. Hi there, Steve Kaufmann here today. And today I want to talk about slang and swear words and why you shouldn't deliberately learn them. Now, if you enjoy these videos, please subscribe, click on the bell for notifications.
If you follow me on Spotify or some other podcast service, please leave a review, we much appreciate it. So many people when they learn a new language, they're very motivated to learn slang for some reason, or even worse in my view, to learn swear words. And I don't recommend this personally, when I learn a new language, I don't make any effort to learn slang expressions and certainly no effort to learn swear words. Uh, and there, there are many reasons for this. First of all, I firmly believe that when we learn a language, we want to learn the most neutral form of language we can. So we want to avoid overly polite expressions. We want to avoid overly casual or rough expressions or overly culturally specific, you know, sayings or expressions.
And the reason is because it's very difficult to use these things correctly. It is only when we are very comfortable in the language when we fully understand the impact of these expressions, the nuance of how they should be used. It's only then that we can use slang or swear words effectively. Uh, in fact, very often swear words, you know, if you, if you use a very gross swear word in a foreign language, it doesn't strike you as that gross. For you it's as a learner, it's kind of like a game, it's fun. Oh, look at me I can use some gross swear word. Uh, and yet the effect on the native speaker is something that you can't anticipate until you have enough cultural, you know, experience with the language.
And, uh, so, you know, in a way... and slang is the same way, uh, it's very attractive to try to imply that you're so familiar with this language that you can use slang, but actually you're getting ahead of yourself because to use slang you actually have to be at quite a high level in the language. There is no shortcut to being able to use these things and to that... to the, to some extent that's true of all specialized form of a language.
I see courses on business English or other forms of English or in, in Canada, they try to teach immigrants, you know, just that little bit of the language that they need for a specific job. And they have this whole system built around the so called Canadian bench marks, which I'm not a great fan of. And actually it's been my experience that you have to elevate your whole game.
You have to gradually improve in the language, getting familiar with the language, improving your oral comprehension, increasing your vocabulary, getting a better and better sense of the language. And if you have that, if you have that base and that language to add, uh, you know, business English terms or scientific English terms or slang words is not so difficult.
Once you have that firm base but if you try to sort of short circuit the learning process, by wanting to show off your knowledge of slang, there's a tremendous opportunity to fall flat on your face and to make a negative impression. You know, at the other end of the spectrum, say in Japanese where there is a lot of formal language, it's also very difficult to sort of learn this formal language, you know, on its own. Like now I'm gonna to learn formal words because you have to have a sense of when to use these words. And it's only when you've had enough experience with the language, you've heard enough of the language, you've been with people in different situations that you know how to use these terms, whether it be polite language, slang, swear words, and so forth.
And once you are able to use these effectively, you will probably have heard them so often that you'll be comfortable using them. You'll be confident using them. So there's absolutely no purpose in trying to deliberately learn these terms as attractive as it, for whatever reason, seems to some people, because there's so much opportunity to create a bad impression by using, especially swear words, but even slang when it isn't appropriate. So my advice is don't learn slang, don't learn swear words. Once you have enough experience in the language, once your overall level in the language is high enough, you'll know these terms, you will have heard them and you'll be able to use them appropriately.
So a little short message there, uh, suggesting that people avoid embarrassment and don't go out deliberately to learn slang or swear words. Thank you for listening.