Over time language has been fluid, constantly developing across different vernaculars and idioms.
A huge part of the development process of languages is how the people choose to use these words, or in other words, slang.
When looking back and considering the vernacular of 1800s writing and speech, there is an obvious divide in how language has been used.
Language in that time period was grammatically proper as well as refined. Proper use of words and speech could typically be associated with power and status.
The general use of language has, over time, become more casual and relaxed rather that following traditional grammar.
A huge part of this can be seen through slang. In the early 1800s, the use of unnecessarily compounded words were widely popular (such as hern, yorn, theirn) and could in turn be considered as slang in this time period.
Many people argue that slang is disrespectful and reminiscent of an uneducated mind. This point is in some cases irrefutably true, but in some ways, slang aids the English language rather than debilitating it.
Slang terms can serve to broaden our language and provide new means of expressing certain phrases in a simplified manner. One case in which slang has officially added to the language is the word ain’t. The word ‘ain’t’ was so broadly used that over time,
it earned recognition upon its addition to the official Oxford English dictionary. On the other hand, slang can unfortunately make the English language difficult for those currently learning the language. This is more than compensated for by providing familiar and convenient terms for those who already know the language. For example, today’s teens will use the terms lit, woke, clapback, shade, thirsty, sus, fam and turnt in ways that make adults cringe. But soon, they may just be in our every day language. As I said, language is constantly evolving.