This essay writing course came to mind recently when I excavated a couple of handouts from it. One handout provides the definitions of slang words that were being used during the last two years of the 1960s. The other handout has definitions of slang used in Watts, a large residential district of Los Angeles inhabited mostly by African-Americans, in the late 1960s. Watts was famous at the time for the wild riots that occurred there in 1965 with extensive burning and looting.
The slang definitions were taken from an academic journal, Current Slang, published by the University of South Dakota. I assume the handouts were provided to us to help with the language we used in our essays.
Looking at these 1969 slang words, it is fun to try to recall if they were words that I used at the time. Do I still use them? What slang words do I not recognize? What happened to them?
Many of the words in these two handouts have been fully incorporated into the English language so that now we no longer think of them as slang. A much smaller number of words in the handouts have disappeared from the language or have changed their meanings.
This list of words reminds us of the dynamic nature of the English language and how it grows both richer and poorer over time as words are added and other words fade away.
that the best.
Soul n. Awareness; feeling; sensitivity; the spiritual bond felt
by Blacks for each other. Rarely said to describe
Soul minority n. Negroes. Used by Negroes to describe themselves.
Soul sister n. Any female Negro. Used to describe a Negro in the
acquaintance, or even a stranger.