“I wanted to choose a book that showed slang on stage or, as one might say, ‘live.’ …The authors spend a year with a family who use crack cocaine, and you watch the whole world of selling the drug. On one level it’s a soap opera – you could say it’s a crack soap opera. You become fond of the characters in it. You follow them. But it’s also a great tragedy, because no-one comes out happy…It’s full of slang. There are 350 different uses of slang in it, which is a lot for a single book and that makes it exciting to me. It’s also slang that I haven’t come across before in many cases, and it’s slang of a certain culture. As a slang lexicographer one is an appalling voyeur. And there’s no doubt that if you’re white, middle class and live in England, then reading The Corner is a very voyeuristic experience. I have varied opinions at different moments about how I feel towards the voyeuristic side of what I do, but The Corner is a fascinating book because of the language that is used. There is no artificiality, there is no putting slang in for its own sake. This is how the characters are speaking.” Read more...
The best books on Slang