Do you happen to know (or even use) the following words:
- Yo ‘ssup?
- That’s dope!
- Freakin’ awesome!
- Hell no!
- Ass kickin’.
Well, if you do, congratulations. You have acquired the ability to use an English speaking style called the ‘street talk’. According to the Oxford Dictionary (2018), street talk refers to slang characteristics of modern urban subculture (originally from the US). People who don’t even live in the US still can recognize this style of speaking if they have access to videos or movies with the terms in them.
Knowing to speak with this style is considered both good and bad, especially for those who are still learning to speak English and yet to know the concept of speaking context. Street talk is mostly popular among teenagers and some adult learners as it represents ‘awesomeness’ (at least that is what they see in the movies).
However, what about if it comes to the sphere of public speaking? Is street talk a bad or good thing? To answer this question, we need to include the context and purpose of our public speaking. If your event requires you to act and speak elegantly, never use the street talk style even though you are eager to show that you know the ‘awesomeness’ in it. Street talk and elegance just do not agree with each other. So, instead of saying ‘Yo’ssup?’ to greet your audience, you can say ‘how is everyone doing?’ if you think ‘how are you?’ is too boring. Let me give you some examples of another way to say the rest of the examples in the first paragraph:
- That’s dope! à That is incredible/ amazing!
- Freakin’ awesome! à So terrific/ really wonderful!
- Hell no! à No way/ Not a chance/ Never.
- Ass kickin’ à amazing/ stunning/ excellent
In conclusion, street talk is ‘awesome’ if you put and use it in an appropriate event or context. As a public speaker who is probably still learning to master English, you need to make sure that you use the correct style to your speaking so that you won’t mistakenly disregard or disrespect your audience.
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