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jargon,pejorative term applied to speech or writing that is considered meaningless, unintelligible, or ugly. In one sense the term is applied to the special language of a profession, which may be unnecessarily complicated, e.g., "medical jargon." Jargon can also mean clumsy language that is hard to understand, synonymous with gibberish or gobbledygook, or a mixture of languages that serves different people (see lingua francalingua franca
, an auxiliary language, generally of a hybrid and partially developed nature, that is employed over an extensive area by people speaking different and mutually unintelligible tongues in order to communicate with one another.
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a social dialect. Jargon is distinguished from conventional spoken language by a special vocabulary and expressive phrasing, but it does not have its own phonetic and grammatical system. It develops within more or less closed groups—for example, schoolchildren, college students, servicemen, and various professional circles. Jargons should not be confused with occupational dialects, which are characterized by the well-developed and concise terminology of a trade or occupation, or with thieves’ cant, the language of the declassed, criminal elements of society. Jargons are lexically and stylistically heterogeneous, distinguished by the instability and quick changes in current usage. For instance, “to disappear” was expressed by the verb stushevat’sia in the middle of the 19th century, and by smyt’sia, and then sliniat’ and vytsvest’ in the 20th century.
Jargons have found their way into fiction to illustrate the protagonists’ speech characteristics. Besides jargons arising on the basis of general language, there are jargons that appear as a result of communication among a polylingual population in border regions or conglomerate areas such as seaports.
REFERENCESZhirmunskii, V. M. “Problemy sotsial’noi dialektologii.” Iv. AN SSSR: Seriia literatury i iazyka, 1964, vol. 23, issue 2.
Skvortsov, L. I. “Ob otsenkakh iazyka molodezhi.” Voprosy kul’tury rechi, 1964, issue 5. (Bibliography.)
Kostisinskii, K. “Sushchestvuet li problema zhargona?” Voprosy literatury, 1968, no. 5.
Shveitser, A. D. “Nekotorye aktual’nye problemy sotsiolingvistiki.” Inostrannye iaiyki v shkole, 1969, no. 3. (Bibliography.)