Shared language

Language has the power to include and exclude. Different groups share distinct ways of speaking. For example, a family or group of friends, or a professional organisation can invent words that are understood only within the group, and not by outsiders.

The sources below reveal how secret and covert languages have been used by oppressed people, outside mainstream society, to defend identity and preserve a level of power. You'll also see how criminals have adopted coded speech in order to disguise their activities.

Look at the sources below. Think about the reasons for the variations in language used or described in each text.

Caribbean Connections

Arjy Parjy (text extract)

The Vulgar Tongue - slang dictionary

The Vulgar Tongue - fashionable slang

The Vulgar Tongue - thieves' slang

Dictionary of the Slang and Cant Languages