The Life of Slang by Julie Coleman is the type of book I adore, because it covers a subject I am passionate about, the use of language.
A quote from the book: "Slang is a subject that provokes strong emotions. If you use slang, you run the risk of being judged crass, uneducated, stupid, or hopelessly out of date, but the rewards are great: used correctly, slang will easy your entry into the social circles you want to mix in, increase your attractiveness to the opposite sex, and even save your life."
In this very interesting and linguistically important book Julie Coleman (who is a professor of English Language at the University of Leicester) traces the development of English slang words from the earliest know records to some pretty modern examples by way of the Tweets of today.
It examines how slang is used, why it is used and where it is used. It looks at how slang developed amongst the English-speaking populations of the world.
As part of her research tools Julie Coleman has gone through the records of the Old Bailey and searched through the electronic archives of newspapers which, she points out, have provided a wealth of new information and facts about historical slang. Blogs and other online sites and tweets are a very valuable source of information for studying contemporary slang.
The Life of Slang does not make the mistake of some academic works, it does not assume that the reader is an old hand in the field. It covers slang from the Old English period down through the ages to the modern world.
It's an entertaining and informative read (though based on impeccable scholarly sources) and will teach you exactly what people are saying. You will know the "word on the street and on the tweet". It will teach you some new and interesting words. Some of which are best not used in polite society! Unless you really want ot, of course!
The use of slang can be a jolly good show, make you seem the cat's pyjamas, which might make someone ROFL!
The book will be published on 22 March in hardback by the Oxford University Press at a modest £14.99 or $27.95. Although it should be available for a discount through the That's Books online bookshop.