Hip Hop & the English Language

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Marina Guirguis Prof. Woods English 16 September 2010 Hip Hop and the English Language Hip hop has influenced the English language a great deal in the past thirty years or so. Whether it is the music or culture of it, hip hop has undoubtedly changed the way people dress, and act now, and throughout the past few decades. Not only that, it has dramatically altered the way people, mainly teenagers, speak and communicate with one another. While some may argue that it has had a positive impact on today’s society, and others view it as a negative impact, it is really a little of both depending on how and where you use it. Hip hop in the English language gives teenagers a sense of individuality. If everyone talked the same, life would be boring. If all the music lyrics in America had the same words, or theme, or even the same tune, wouldn’t you get tired of listening and singing along? Well language is the same way. Just like adults like speaking to each other in their native languages, teenagers use slang as if it were another language because it is what they are more comfortable using. If we all sounded the same, and spoke the same language, we wouldn’t be unique. We would all be the same. Whatever the reason may be, everyone has had that time when they wanted to tell one of their friends something, and did not want someone close by to understand it. I know that when I am on the phone with one of my friends, I do not want my mom to hear or understand some of the things I am talking to my friends about. That’s where hip hop comes in. English is not my mom’s first language, and although she can speak it well, she can understand today’s version of our hip hop slang. I can use it so that even if she listens in on my conversation, she will only understand bits and pieces from it. Not only can I use it, but others can too. Most hip hop users are male. When teenage

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