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Slang Journals

The Slang Journal Collection is a compilation of words, sayings, and abbreviations collected by English 2271 students since autumn 2011, as well as one Mosaic high school student's 50-term contribution in SP17. There are currently over 1840 entries. The mother list is an Excel file that includes the following information, each in separate columns:

  • word
  • preceding utterance
  • utterance containing word
  • following utterance
  • spoken/written
  • speaker age
  • speaker gender identity
  • speaker race/ethnicity
  • addressee age
  • addressee gender identity
  • addressee race/ethnicity
  • domain
  • taboo
  • situational context
  • meaning
  • semester and year of collection

The alphabetical catalogue enables researchers to seek out specific terms, compare applications of a word or saying, or simply familiarize oneself with popular terminology used on and around the Ohio State University campus, as documented by students.

Taboo Language: This collection is a repository of youth slang that includes taboo language. This may include vulgar or violent terms for sex, terms that are derogatory towards particular groups, and curses. Our approach in researching such language is one of engaged scientific examination. This means investigating language explicitly, as that is the only way to better understand the role that taboo language plays in the larger linguistic and cultural systems in which it’s embedded. At the same time, we are mindful that words carry weight and that use of taboo language can cause real-world harm and damage. We encourage engaging in such conversations with honesty about how you perceive taboo language to be used, while at the same time striving to be sensitive to causing pain or harm to others.

History of the Collection: During the summer of 2014, Kaitlyn Berle (MA student at Western Kentucky University) compiled and edited the Slang Journals. Working to compile the Slang Journal assignments into a single, accessible collection initially entailed reviewing the materials and assessing the collection’s terms of access. Since the project involved compiling the data from two separate undergraduate classes, the formatting and approach to the assignment varied by class and by student, and Kaitlyn's task was to decide on an accessible format for all entries. Although the assignments were similar for the two English 2271 courses, she decided that the Excel format used by several students was best for compiling the slang entries. A great deal of her work pertained to copying the data from Word files into the final Excel format, and making minor formatting revisions. Although she did not edit the compiled collection significantly, she did bold the key term used in each slang utterance, added quotation marks around all utterances, and provided minor grammatical edits to the contexts provided by the 48 students, in an effort to make the completed Slang Journal collection more cohesive and accessible. The students’ inclusion of the utterances preceding and following the slang word or phrase and contextual details makes the final alphabetized compilation an informative and unique resource. The Slang Journal collection provides comprehensive access and insight to words and sayings observed on campus and in students’ daily lives.

Since Kaitlyn's original work, CFS staff have integrated additional slang journal donations into the existing mother list. Only digital submissions are accepted.

Email the Center for Folklore Studies (cfs@osu.edu) for a PDF copy of consolidated slang journals.

Instructions for Submitting Digital Slang Journals

   Add slang terms to Excel file template

  • Fill out all categories of information. Refer to Domain and Taboo Keywords list for those columns. Speak to your professor if your slang term does not fit into the current keywords to determine if a new keyword should be added to the list.
  • Save your Slang Journal Excel sheet as:

Last Name, First Name_Professor Last Name_SemesterYear_SlangJournal.xls

Example: Buckeye, Brutus_Modan_SP15_SlangJournal.xls

Best practices for slang journal contributors:

  • Do NOT use scare quotes ("") around your slang words, as it affects the alphabetizing process
  • Do NOT add numbers before your slang word
  • Do NOT adjust or merge cells, as it affects the alphabetizing process
  • Please DO include words and phrases in their original language


[xlsx] - Some links on this pages are Microsoft .xlsx files requiring the use of Microsoft Excel. If you need these files in a more accessible format, please contact cfs@osu.edu.