Difference Between Slang and Colloquial Language

Main Difference

The main difference between the terms slang and colloquial language is that the term slang is such a use of language which is not officially unacceptable whereas the colloquial language refers to a type of informal language that is in the use of common people.

Slang vs. Colloquial Language

Slang and colloquial language are the terms for informal language in English. Slang is such a use of language which is not officially unacceptable. Colloquial language is a language that is the informal kind of language.

Sometimes, people use these two terms as synonyms, but both terms are different from each other in many aspects. The use of slang language associates with some special groups of people like teenagers. The use of colloquial language associated with common people.

Slang is a noun and also a verb, whereas colloquial is an adjective. Slang and colloquial language both originate in the mid 18th century. Although both belong to the spoken and informal category of language slang and colloquial language are considered as two different types of language.

Slang is such a use of language which is not officially unacceptable, whereas the colloquial language refers to a type of language that is informal use of language consisting of certain words or expressions used by common people.

Slang and colloquial language is an interesting use of language. Their use is more common in modern-day usage of language. In the field of linguistics, slang is not taken as a topic for research. But colloquial language is a major topic of many linguistic researches.

There is a difference in vocabulary between the slang and colloquial language. Slang is a kind of self-created language by the users. The users create or mold the already existing words according to their convenience and interest, and this vocabulary has more chances to get changed. Colloquial language is the easy use of language which is used by common people in their speech of everyday life, and its vocabulary has some reliability and longer duration unlike that of slang.

Also sometimes slang directs an unethical, impure and abusive language. Colloquial language is the linguistic usage in a specific region or location. Due to its use by teenagers or young people, the slang has a funny element in it. Colloquial language has no funny aspect attached to it. It is a serious part of speech or communication.

Comparison Chart

SlangColloquial Language
The more informal language which is not officially unacceptableThe less informal language that is in the use of common people
Features
Unethical, impure and abusive languageLinguistic usage in a specific region or location
Usage by People
TeenagersOrdinary people
Research
Not done on itIs done on it
Vocabulary
Most likely to changeLast longer
Aspect
FunnySerious
Inappropriate
It isIt is not
Offensive
It isIt is not

What is Slang?

Slang is such a use of language which is not officially unacceptable. The use of slang language is associated with some special groups of people like teenagers. It is a noun as well as a verb.

Slang not only refers to words but also phrases. It is restricted to special contexts and is specified to a particular profession, class, group, etc. Slang has its origin in the “mid 18th century.”

In the field of linguistics, slang is not taken as a topic for research. It is a kind of self-created language by the users. The users create or mold the already existing words according to their convenience and interest, and this vocabulary has more chances to get changed.

When compared to colloquial language, slang is more informal. It is common in spoken language than writing. Slang keeps on changing within no time. It is not rare for slang words and expressions to disappear from the language.

Slang has different kinds such as college student slang, schoolboy slang, aphorism slang, sports slang, etc. Slang also sometimes directs an unethical, impure, and abusive language. It can easily offend some people, especially elders and those who do not prefer using it. As youngsters or teenagers use it, so the slang has a funny element in it.

However, the disappearance of the new slang words is followed by the new and updated slang expressions. It keeps on changing with different intervals of time according to the standards of the people using it.

Due to so many reasons, slang is not accepted in an official or ethical environment. It is limited to a specific context and group of people. The typical use of slang is by the people belonging to the same social group and or close friends’ circle.

Examples

  • Geek (a book worm, the one with simple looks, having no fashion sense or interest)
  • Buzz off (go away)
  • Telly (television)
  • Old fogey (older people)
  • Stinks (is bad)
  • Skiving (avoiding work/school)
  • Salad dodger(an obese person)
  • Not fussed (‘I’m not bothered,’ ‘I don’t mind’)
  • Lotsa (Lots of)

What is the Colloquial Language?

Colloquial language is a type of language that is informal. The use of colloquial language is associated with common people. This kind of language consists of certain words or expressions used by common people.

Colloquial language has its origin in the “mid 18th century.” The word “colloquialism” originates from the Latin “colloquium” meaning conversation or conference. Colloquial language is also known by the terms “colloquialism,” casualism.”

Colloquial language is not literal rather it is the figurative usages of words. It consists of the idioms or metaphors.

Colloquial language is a major topic of many linguistic types of research. It is in the form of words, phrases, or aphorisms. Colloquial language has no funny aspect attached to it. It is a serious part of the communication.

Colloquial language is the easy use of language which is used by common people in their speech of everyday life, and its vocabulary has some reliability and longer duration unlike that of slang.

Colloquial language is the linguistic usage in a specific region or location. It is geographic and typically belongs to a regional or local dialect. The native speakers or the speakers from the same geographic region can easily understand colloquial language. However, it is not easy for the people of other regions to understand colloquial language.

The non-native speakers find difficulty in understanding colloquial expressions. Colloquial language is formal in nature. It is not considered inappropriate, offensive in a conversation or speech.

Examples

  • What’s up? (phrase)
  • Gonna, wanna, gotta, etc. (for going to, want to, got to)
  • Ya (you)
  • The poor get poorer, and the rich get richer (Aphorism)

Key Differences

  1. Slang is such a use of language which is not officially unacceptable, whereas the colloquial language refers to a type of language that is informal use of language consisting of certain words or expressions used by common people.
  2. The use of slang language associates with some special groups of people like teenagers, on the flip side the use of colloquial language associated with common people.
  3. Slang is such a use of language which is not officially unacceptable conversely colloquial language refers to a type of language that is informal use of language.
  4. In the field of linguistics, slang is not taken as a topic for research; on the other hand, colloquial language is a major topic of many linguistic types of research.
  5. Slang is a noun and also a verb inversely colloquial is an adjective, and colloquial language is a noun.
  6. Slang is a kind of self-created language by the users. The users create or mold the already existing words according to their convenience and interest, and this vocabulary has more chances to be changed on the other hand colloquial language is the easy use of language which is used by common people in their speech of everyday life and its vocabulary has more reliability unlike to that of slang.
  7. Due to its use by teenagers or young people, the slang has a funny element in it on the contrary colloquial language has no funny aspect attached to it. It has serious elements.
  8. Slang is considered inappropriate and is offensive, but the colloquial language is not appropriate and offensive.
  9. Slang directs an unethical, impure, and abusive language contrarily colloquial language is the linguistic usage in a specific region or location.
  10. Slang has no geographically restriction, but the colloquial language has restrictions to be used in any culture or class of society.

Conclusion

Slang and colloquial language both refer to the informal category of the language. They differ in many aspects which are related to their usage.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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