Week 10: Words and the Lexicon

This week’s readings have to do with words and the lexicon. Language Files notes, on page 155, that “Every language has some (large) number of words available for its users to choose from as they need. This stock of words can be thought of as a sort of mental dictionary that language users—both speakers and hearers—have internalized as part and parcel of acquiring their particular language. We call this mental dictionary the lexicon.”

We’ll talk more about that Language Files chapter in the future, but for this week, we’ll be discussing one particular category of words: slang. To explore this topic, please read chapter 24 in David Crystal’s A Little Book of Language (pp.151–156) and John McWhorter’s article, “Is Slang as Swell as It Used to Be? Yas!” Both can be found on the Readings page.

Once you’ve done these readings, please post your reply to the Discussion Board thread for Week 10. It’s a fun one. Since I didn’t get this assignment to you yesterday, the deadline is this upcoming Sunday, April 2nd.

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