Have we innovated a new conjunction?
Does anyone care if my cousin comes and visits slash stays with us Friday night?
I spent all day in the UgLi [library] yesterday writing my French paper slash posting pictures of cats on my sister’s Facebook wall.
I went to class slash caught up on Game of Thrones.
So what’ve you been up to? slash should we be skyping?
A professor who studies her own students
Anne Curzan, a professor of English at the University of Michigan, collected these written samples of language from her students because she was fascinated by their use of slash.
The way they used it signified a unique development in the world of slang.
“Slang creates a lot of new nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, “ she points out. But, “It isn’t that often that slang creates a new conjunction.”
/ vs. slash
Her students were not only doing new things with this conjunction—adding a new idea, introducing an afterthought—but they were also writing it out instead of using the shortened “/”.
She writes a fascinating blog post about it on Lingua Franca, a blog about “Language and writing in academe”—fascinating for language nerds, anyway.
Listen to your students
What I want to point out to anyone in education, though, is the importance and the joy of listening to students—really taking the time to observe, consider, and analyze what they say, write, and do. Instead of ignoring or dismissing her students’ use of English, she embraced it as an object of inquiry. The result: more personal satisfaction and more student engagement.
Anne Curzan, I like what you’re doing.