jazz slang

One of my more advanced students is about to encounter in her textbook a lot of words which have passed from slang into common usage (eg, cool, pretty, baby, boy, crazy, hot). Ie, we’re going to be working with usages invented by black people which hardly anyone recognizes as part of their contribution to US culture.

Here is a list of jazz words. I’ve given this concept some thought, but I was surprised to find even more words that have been appropriated from jazz/jive than I originally suspected.

Yes, I will be pointing out the sources of these words to my student. (It’s not in the textbook, of course. The textbook is British, if it matters.)

NPR bit on how nerds distance themselves from “youth culture” and slang, and how that tendency is perceived as white.

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One response to “jazz slang

  1. note to self: NPR highlights the idea of slang use as being related to fitting in. how does this work with the idea of the mainstream *always* coopting black slang? is it JUST because black people are thought to be cooler than everyone else, or is there something more than that? also related to idea that more often than not white/mainstream use of black slang often forgets where the words came from.

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