By Emary AlvaradoSpecial to CSMS MagazineThere are many forms of language in our universe. They’re the different languages that each country speaks, such as English, Spanish, French, Creole, Italian etc… Then there are the different types of Alternative Language, such as Argot and Slang. We use these kinds of Alternative Languages for many reasons such as for empowerment, Solidarity and Cohesiveness. One of the types of Alternative Language is called Argot. Argot is kind of a secret language that a group or a society might have to speak among themselves. Like for example my husband is Honduran and the native language is Spanish, but some people also speak “misquito” and “patua”. The blacks usually speak these languages. They are more to the western side of Honduras. Then there is another form of Alternative Language that is called Slang. Slang is like another word meaning the same as the original word. I think that our youth use slang more than the older adults do. I also think that slang has become more frequent in the way that we speak. The slang has also changed a lot in the past few years. For example jewelry is referred to as bling- bling. Since the jewelry is shiny and it sparkles, then they call it bling-bling. Another slang that is frequently used is crib. Crib is referred to your home. But in regular English, a crib is a bed for babies. Another known word is “your ride”, which simply means your car. Money is referred to as “dough”. To say that something is good it is referred to as “phat”, or “fly”. The word “wack” means that it is not good. One of the functions for these Alternative Languages is Empowerment. This form of empowerment has been used for so many years. It was used before to help people that could not speak well, create a language of their own so that they could understand each other. I am sure that it is still used for this purpose all around the world. I think that for here in the U.S. people use it for their advantage; especially the criminals, drug dealers, prostitutes and their pimps. This is used so that others cannot understand what exactly they may be talking about. If you are not aware of this and you hear this kind of talking going around you, you might not be able to understand exactly what they are talking about, but you would have an idea that the conversation is not exactly what it is. Another form of function of an Alternative Language is Solidarity and Cohesiveness. This is used to show a sense of belonging to a group, by having your own language. This is typically used in gangs. Gangs have become like a society all on their own. Their form of living is of a way that many people and communities do not agree with. For example a “home girl” is a girl who hangs out with gang members and on their territory. There are also wannabes, which are people who want to be part of that gang but has not been accepted to it. To be accepted to a gang, you have to prove yourself. Some people don’t know about these slang words. As the times change, the slang changes as well. I think that the teenagers are the ones who use the slang words more frequently. I also think that as a parent and a teacher, it is important to keep up with it because, if not, you may never know what your children are saying, and what’s going on around you.Note: Amery Alvarado is a devoted teacher in Duval County. She wrote this piece exclusively for CSMS Magazine.Also seeWhat does it mean to be intercultural?