Power of Slang: Essay Prompt: This assignment aims to get you started on a considered deployment of phrasing and diction, which is essential for all writers. Enthymemes, as well, can be made or broken based on a single word or phrase (e.g. “Social media negatively affects confidence” vs “Social media decreases confidence”– one is possibly provable within five pages, […]
In an article by Tom Dalzell called “The power of slang”, the author uses the words “oppressor (the Man) from oppressed (doormat)” (Dalzell). On the surface, the word “the Man”, which is slang, signifies a person who stands out amongst his peers although he has no distinctive rank or designation; this statement seems to reinforce the argument as the word usage also denotes a person in authority who oppresses others. However, in examining phrasing and diction and how a word hurts the overall reasoning, care must be taken to avoid committing the continuum fallacy by dismissing a word for its vagueness, but evidence should be given on how the phrase itself contributes to the whole argument being wrong.
Firstly, as explained earlier, the word “the Man” in the “power of slang” is ambiguous in meaning. When it is used to reference the former definition, it negates the use of the word “oppressor”, as the person in question does not have rank. However, if used to reference the latter part of the definition, it means that by learning slang, a person gains authority by default without the possibility of an exception; this is a fault in induction reasoning, known as faulty generalization. In the “power of slang,” the author argues that oppression does not equal “the Man” but signifies the psychological mindset aimed at achieving the highest hierarchy by manipulating other members of the pack by inducing them with an inferiority complex. A better word would have denoted an urge for dominance through becoming better and, thus, achieving admiration and acceptability from their peers, as exemplified in the “power of slang” use. It should be noted that oppression seeks dominance, but the latter does not necessitate the former; however, in trying to explain both, precaution should be taken not to fall into the complexity of the Sorites paradox in examining which nature of dominance constitute oppression as used by Tom in the article “power of slang”. The author meant to use a word that signifies charisma, superiority through informal lexicology, and suaveness. Admiration by their peers and rebellion against authorities accompany these attributes; these qualities are associated with youthhood, and a better word to explain all those qualities would have been “an Alpha male”.
Finally, I have noted that Tom Dalzell’s overall precision use of the phrase “power of slang” in his article borders on the accuracy, with the usage of every word and phrase being well thought out and his argument following a healthy philosophical argument flow.
Dalzell, Tom. “The Power of Slang.” Pbs.Org, http://www.pbs.org/speak/words/sezwho/slang/. Accessed 21 May 2018.
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Published On: 02-06-2021