Tonight’s impossible-to-answer-easily question from a student: When watching or listening to English media, how can one identify slang usages?
My too-difficult-to-understand-easily answer: The best way to identify slang usages in English is to listen for adjectives used out of context, e.g. “That’s a really cool movie.” Of course, the movie is not physically cool, hence the use of cool to describe the movie is slang. A second tell is when nouns are used as verbs or vice versa, e.g. “He’s got a sweet ride.” “Ride” is a verb, however, the use of the indefinate article “a” indicates that “ride” is used as a noun in this sentence, therefore, it is slang.
Obviously, this answer is a little overwhelming for the average student who just wants to know if “sweet” really means that it has a sugary taste, or is very pleasant, or just an exclamation of delight, in a given situation.
If anyone reading this has a better way to explain the basic uses of slang, I’d love to hear them as I’m a bit stumped.