Slang and Sociability

In-Group Language Among College Students

By Connie Eble

240 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4584-4
    Published: April 1996
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-1057-3
    Published: December 2012
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7517-4
    Published: December 2012

Buy this Book

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Slang is often seen as a lesser form of language, one that is simply not as meaningful or important as its 'regular' counterpart. Connie Eble refutes this notion as she reveals the sources, poetry, symbolism, and subtlety of informal slang expressions. In Slang and Sociability, Eble explores the words and phrases that American college students use casually among themselves. Based on more than 10,000 examples submitted by Eble's students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill over the last twenty years, the book shows that slang is dynamic vocabulary that cannot be dismissed as deviant or marginal. Like more formal words and phrases, slang is created, modified, and transmitted by its users to serve their own purposes. In the case of college students, these purposes include cementing group identity and opposing authority. The book includes a glossary of the more than 1,000 slang words and phrases discussed in the text, as well as a list of the 40 most enduring terms since 1972. Examples from the glossary: group gropes -- encounter groups squirrel kisser -- environmentalist Goth -- student who dresses in black and listens to avant-garde music bad bongos -- situation in which things do not go well triangle -- person who is stupid or not up on the latest za -- pizza smoke -- to perform well dead soldier -- empty beer container toast -- in big trouble, the victim of misfortune parental units -- parents

About the Author

Connie Eble, professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is author of College Slang 101.
For more information about Connie Eble, visit the Author Page.


"Professor Eble has long been the premiere authority on college slang. Her new book is a welcome addition to her oeuvre, and to the linguistic literature on slang. It is fascinating, thorough, and a delight to read--at last someone is paying serious attention to a vital and vibrant contemporary linguistic tradition. All linguists will of course take note, but so should anyone who loves language."--Deborah Tannen, author of Talking Voices and Talking from 9 to 5