SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES is a geographical region that has economic and other laws that are more free-market oriented than a country’s typical or national laws. “Nationwide” laws may be suspended inside a special economic zone.
The category ‘SEZ’ covers the following:
* free trade zones (FTZ),
* export processing Zones (EPZ)
* free Zones (FZ)
* industrial parks or industrial estates (IE)
* free ports
* free economic zones
* urban enterprise zones
Usually the goal of a structure is to increase foreign direct investment by foreign investors, typically an international business or a multinational corporation (MNC), development of infrastructure and to increase the employment. India was one of the first countries in Asia to recognize the effectiveness of the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) model in promoting exports, with Asia’s first EPZ set up in Kandla in 1965. In order to overcome the shortcomings experienced on account of the multiplicity of controls and clearances; absence of world-class infrastructure, and an unstable fiscal regime and with a view to attract larger foreign investments in India, the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) Policy was announced in April 2000.
The world first known instance of SEZ have been found in an industrial park set up in Puerto Rico in 1947. In the 1960s, Ireland and Taiwan followed suit, but in the 1980s China made the SEZs gain global currency with its largest SEZ being the metropolis of Shenzhen.From 1965 onwards, India experimented with the concept of such units in the form of Export Processing Zones (EPZ). But a revolution came in 2000, when Murlisone Maran, then Commerce Minister, made a tour to the southern provinces of China. After returning from the visit, he incorporated the SEZs into the Exim Policy of India. Five year later, SEZ Act (2005) was also introduced and in 2006 SEZ Rules were formulated. The SEZ Act, 2005, was an important bill to be passed by the Government of India in order to instill confidence in investors and signal the Government’s commitment to a stable SEZ policy regime and with a view to impart stability to the SEZ regime thereby generating greater economic activity and employment through their establishment, a comprehensive draft SEZ Bill prepared after extensive discussions with the stakeholders.
A number of meetings were held in various parts of the country both by the Minister for Commerce and Industry as well as senior officials for this purpose. The Special Economic Zones Act, 2005, was passed by Parliament in May, 2005 which received Presidential assent on the 23rd of June, 2005. The draft SEZ Rules were widely discussed and put on the website of the Department of Commerce offering suggestions/comments. Around 800 suggestions were received on the draft rules. After extensive consultations, the SEZ Act, 2005, supported by SEZ Rules, came into effect on 10 February 2006, providing for drastic simplification of procedures and for single window clearance on matters relating to central as well as state governments. The remaining part of India, not covered by the SEZ Rules, is known as the Domestic tariff area.
Exports from Indian SEZ totalled 2.2 Trillion in 2009-10 fiscal. It grew by a stupendous 43% to reach 3.16 Trillion in 2010-11 fiscal. Indian SEZs have created over 840,000 jobs as of 2010-11. Within SEZs, a units may be set-up for the manufacture of goods and other activities including processing, assembling, trading, repairing, reconditioning, making of gold/silver, platinum jewellery etc. As per law, SEZ units are deemed to be outside the customs territory of India. Goods and services coming into SEZs from the domestic tariff area or DTA are treated as exports from India and goods and services rendered from the SEZ to the DTA are treated as imports into India. Currently, there are about 143 SEZs (as of June 2012) operating throughout India and an additional 634 SEZs (as of June 2012) that have been formally/principally approved by the Government of India : State/Union Territory| Number of operational Special Economic Zones (June 2012)
* BENEFITS OF SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES:
* Providing state-of-the-art infrastructure.
* Access to a large well-trained and skilled work force
* Incentives which include 100% income tax exemption for a period of five years and an additional 50% tax exemption for two years thereafter.
* 100% FDI is also provided in the manufacturing sector.
* Exemption from industrial licensing requirements and no import license requirements is also given to the SEZ units.
Attractive incentive and great investment opportunities have attractive many business tycoons to step into the SEZ all over the country. The first step was taken by the Mahindra World City at Chennai. The SEZ was promoted by Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd and later on by the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation. Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd holds 89% equity in the same. Later on, Reliance Industries also signed a pact with the Haryana government for setting up of the Rs. 25,000 crore multi products SEZ near Gurgaon in 2006.
* OBLIGATIONS UNDER SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES:
It is compulsory for every SEZ units in India to achieve positive net foreign exchange earning as per the formula given in paragraph Appendix 14-II (para 12.1) of Handbook of Procedures, Vol.1. For this particular purpose, a legal undertaking is required which has to be executed by a separate unit of the Development Commissioner. The is responsible for providing periodic reports to the Development Commissioner and Zone Customs as provided in Appendix 14-I F of the Handbook of Procedures, Vol.1
* ROLE OF STATE GOVERNMENT IN ESTABLISHMENT OF SEZ UNITS:
State Governments play a very active role to play in the establishment of SEZ unit. Any proposal for setting up of SEZ unit in the Private / Joint / State Sector is routed through the concerned State government who in turn forwards the same to the Department of Commerce with its recommendations for consideration. Before recommending any proposals to the Ministry of Commerce & Industry (Department of Commerce), the States Government properly checks all the necessary inputs such as water, electricity, etc required for the establishment of SEZ units. The State Government has to forward the proposal with its recommendation within 45 days from the date of receipt of such proposal to the Board of Approval. The applicant also has the option to submit the proposal directly to the Board of Approval. Representative of the State Government.
* Allowed to carry forward losses.
* No license required for import made under SEZ units.
* Duty free import or domestic procurement of goods for setting up of the SEZ units. * Goods imported/procured locally are duty free and could be utilized over the approval period of 5 years. * Exemption from customs duty on import of capital goods, raw materials, consumables, spares, etc. * Exemption from Central Excise duty on the procurement of capital goods, raw materials, and consumable spares, etc. from the domestic market. * Exemption from payment of Central Sales Tax on the sale or purchase of goods, provided that, the goods are meant for undertaking authorized operations.
* Exemption from payment of Service Tax.
* The sale of goods or merchandise that is manufactured outside the SEZ (i.e., in DTA) and which is purchased by the Unit (situated in the SEZ) is eligible for deduction and such sale would be deemed to be exports. * No routine examination by Customs officials of export and import cargo. * Setting up Off-shore Banking Units (OBU) allowed in SEZs. * OBU’s allowed 100% income tax exemption on profit earned for three years and 50 % for next two years. * Since SEZ units are considered as ‘public utility services’, no strikes would be allowed in such companies without giving the employer 6 weeks prior notice in addition to the other conditions mentioned in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. * The Government has exempted SEZ Units from the payment of stamp duty and registration fees on the lease/license of plots. * External Commercial Borrowings up to $ 500 million a year allowed without any maturity restrictions.
* Revenue losses because of the various tax exemptions and incentives. * Many traders are interested in SEZ, so that they can acquire at cheap rates and create a land bank for themselves. * Terms and conditions:
Only units approved under SEZ scheme would be permitted to be located in SEZ. 1. The SEZ units shall abide by local laws, rules, regulations or laws in regard to area planning, sewerage disposal, pollution control and the like. They shall also comply with industrial and labor laws as may be locally applicable. 2. Such SEZ shall make security arrangements to fulfill all the requirements of the laws, rules and procedures applicable to such SEZ. 3. The SEZ should have a minimum area of 1000 hectares and at least 35 % of the area is to be earmarked for developing industrial area for setting up of processing units. 4. Minimum area of 1000 hectares will not be applicable to product specific and port/airport based SEZs..
* FUNCTIONING/ SET UP OF SEZ:
The functioning of SEZs is governed by a three-tier administrative set-up. The Board of Approval is the apex body and is headed by the Secretary, Department of Commerce. The Approval Committee at the Zone level deals with approval of units in the SEZs and other related issues. * Board of Approval
The Board of Approval has been constituted by the Central Government in exercise of the powers conferred under the SEZ Act. All the major decisions are taken by the Board of Approval. The Board of Approval has 19 Members * Unit Approval Committee
All the request for setting up of units in the SEZ is approved at the Zone level by the Approval Committee consisting of Development Commissioner after a discussion with the Customs Authorities and representatives of State Government. All post approval clearances in matters related to importer-exporter code number, change in the name of the company or implementing agency; broad banding diversification, etc. are given at the zonal level by the Development Commissioner. A separate units is also there who monitor the performance of the SEZ units on a periodic basis and is governed by the Approval Committee. SEZ units are liable for penal action under the provision of Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, in case of any violation in the rules formulated by the Approval Committee.
* Development Commissioner
SEZs / EOUs, each zone are headed by a Development Commissioner, who is also heading the Unit Approval Committee. Development Commissioner is the nodal officer for SEZs and help in resolution of problem, if any, faced by the units or developer. In all SEZ’s, the statutory functions are controlled by the Government while the rest of the operations are privatized. * DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FREE TRADE ZONES(FTZ) AND SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES(SEZ): A free trade zone (FTZ) , also called foreign-trade zone, formerly free port is an area within which goods may be landed, handled, manufactured or reconfigured, and re exported without the intervention of the customs authorities.
Only when the goods are moved to consumers within the country in which the zone is located do they become subject to the prevailing customs duties. Free-trade zones are organized around major seaports, international airports, and national frontiers—areas with many geographic advantages for trade. . The world’s first Free Trade Zone was established in Shannon, County Clare, and Shannon Free Zone. This was an attempt by the Irish Government to promote employment within a rural area, make use of a small regional airport and generate revenue for the Irish economy. It was hugely successful, and is still in operation today. The number of worldwide free-trade zones proliferated in the late 20th century
A Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is a geographical region that has economic and other laws that are more free-market-oriented than a country’s typical or national laws. “Nationwide” laws may be suspended inside a special economic zone.
PROMINENT EXPORT PROCESSING ZONES IN INDIA:
* Kandla Free Trade Zone (KAFTZ), Kandla, Gujarat
* Santa Cruz Electronic Export Processing Zone (SEEPZ), S. Cruz, Maharashtra
* Cochin Export Processing Zone (CEPZ), Cochin, Kerala
* Falta Export Processing Zone (FEPZ), Falta,West Bengal
* Madras Export Processing Zone (MEPZ), Madras, Tamil Nadu * Noida Export Processing Zone (NEPZ), Noida, Uttar Pradesh * Visakhapatnam Export Processing Zone (VEPZ), Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh * While the Santa Cruz Electronics Export Processing Zone (SEEPZ) is meant exclusively for the exports of electronics and gems and jewelry, all other zones are multi-product zones. 100% foreign equity is welcome in EOUs and EPZs
* INDUSTRIAL PARKS:
Industrial parks are usually located on the edges of, or outside the main residential area of a city, and normally provided with good transportation access, including road and rail. One such example would be the large number of Industrial Estates located along The River Thames in The Thames Gateway area of London. Industrial parks are usually located close to transport facilities, especially where more than one transport modes coincide: highways, railroads, airports, and ports.
This idea of setting land aside through this type of zoning is based on several concepts: * To be able to concentrate dedicated infrastructure in a delimited area to reduce the per-business expense of that infrastructure. Such infrastructure includes roadways, railroad sidings, ports, high-power electric supplies (often including three-phase power), high-end communications cables, large-volume water supplies, and high-volume gas lines. * To be able to attract new business by providing an integrated infrastructure in one location. * Eligibility of Industrial Parks for benefits
* To set aside industrial uses from urban areas to try to reduce the environmental and social impact of the industrial uses. * To provide for localized environmental controls that are specific to the needs of an industrial area.
Different industrial parks fulfill these criteria to differing degrees. Many small communities have established industrial parks with only access to a nearby highway, and with only the basic utilities and roadways. Public transportation options may be limited or non-existent. There may be few or no special environmental safeguards.
* FREE ZONES:
Free Zone are a geographically distinguished areas, possess a particular laws and regulation varies than those applied within the state. Free zone investors enjoy the particular incentives and privileges associated to these areas, such as:
* Freedom to initiate any legal form for the activity
* The investor has the freedom to determine prices of his services or products and the profit margin he desires. * The investor enjoys the exemption of Capital assets assets, productions supplies and imports and exports from customs, sales or any type of taxes or fees.
Slang & Sociability
Over the past two centuries, American college students have hit the books and spoken slang with equal vigor. In her book Slang & Sociability, Connie Eble examines campus trends in colorful casual language, uttered by everyone from chums to dweebs, in words both out of sight and sweet. (The research cited in this essay was first published in 1996.)
Like buildings, household utensils, and decorative artwork, words are indicators of human culture. They even offer an advantage over physical objects, in that words can communicate information about the tangibles of life — about the thoughts, beliefs, and values of their users. Even though the Indo-Europeans of five thousand years ago cannot be identified by a trail of physical objects, in a well-known essay in The American Heritage Dictionary, Calvert Watkins is able to speculate about their culture by examining their words. Watkins writes, “Though by no means a perfect mirror, the lexicon of a language remains the single most effective way of approaching and understanding the culture of its speakers” (1992, 2084). This chapter traces the slang lexicon of American college students over the years as a way of coming to a better understanding of their culture.
Creative use of language by students dates back to medieval times
Our knowledge of college slang in the United States during the nineteenth century relies heavily on two sources, B.H. Hall’s College Words and Customs (1856) and Lyman Bagg’s Four Years at Yale (1871). Hall’s work, the more valuable for linguistic information, is a five-hundred-page listing of words and customs and draws examples from British universities as well as from thirty-three U.S. colleges. Four Years at Yale, a memoir, contains a seven-page alphabetized list of words from the author’s undergraduate years at Yale in the late 1860s. In addition, the novel Student Life at Harvard (1876) purports to “give a faithful picture of student life at Harvard University as it appeared to undergraduates there” during the 1860s. These three sources reveal a slang vocabulary concerned with campus landmarks, rivalry among the classes, making a fashionable appearance, eating and socializing, and studying as little as possible.
The privy inspired the largest number of slang synonyms
By current standards, the mid-nineteenth-century college slang lexicon is spare both in size and in meaning, reflecting a social reality: higher education was still rare. Most of the colleges were private or church affiliated and for young men. College students were younger then, usually entering at age fourteen or fifteen. Those who attended were ordinarily from privileged backgrounds or intended for the ministry. Even if they used slang to talk about delicate topics with their college chums, the norms of social interaction prevented their mentioning the topics or disclosing their slang in wider circles or, especially, writing such words down.
During the 1880s and 1890s, college enrollments almost doubled. The number of colleges likewise increased, particularly public ones. Many were coeducational, admitting women as well as men. The children of small farmers, merchants, and immigrants now claimed seats in college classrooms. Public interest in college slang at that time is shown by the many short and usually anecdotal articles on the topic published in the newspapers and magazines. American Notes and Queries, for example, in November 1889 carried a list of twenty slang expressions from Harvard and three weeks later a comparable list from Hampden Sydney College in Virginia. The cleverest item is Hoi Barbaroi, from Hampden Sydney for ‘members of no fraternity’. This Greek expression alludes both to the English word barbarian and to its source, the Greek word meaning ‘foreigner, one who is not Greek’. In college social circles, fraternities and their members are called Greeks. One who is not Greek, then, is not a member of a fraternity — and by implication is also a barbarian.
In 1895 Willard C. Gore, Ph.M., of the University of Michigan undertook what I believe to be the first systematic and sizable study of American student slang at a single university. In the spring and fall semesters of 1895, he asked two hundred second- and third- year students in a rhetoric course at the University of Michigan to collect and define current student slang that they heard or read. Anticipating my methodology by eighty years, he did not define slang for them but accepted an expression as slang “because it was so regarded by the students who handed it in” (1993, 23). Gore submitted the list of about five hundred words and phrases to the vote of a class of sixty-five students. “A large number were unfamiliar to many. Very few, however, were regarded by any as having emerged from the slang stage” (23).
Gore’s collection seems contemporary in many ways. About 10 percent of the entries refer to types of people still familiar on college campuses: a blug is ‘one who is very stylish’; a little tin god on wheels is a ‘superior person (said ironically)’; and ice wagon is ‘someone who is slow’; a prune is a ‘disagreeable and irritable person’; a huckleberry is a ‘sweet and agreeable person’; a grind is ‘someone who studies too much’. Almost as many terms are evaluative adjectives: chiselly means ‘unpleasant, disagreeable’; rank means ‘unfair or arbitrary’; skatey means ‘ill-bred, vulgar, cheap’; woozy means ‘pleasant, delightful’; and out of sight means ‘first-rate, superior’. Several are expressions of support, like I should say and too utterly too too. About one-fourth of the items refer to academic matters, like flim for ‘to cheat’; con for ‘to get the grade condition’; tute for ‘tutor’; fruit for ‘a lenient teacher’; heathen for ‘an unreasonable teacher’; and crust the instructor for ‘make a good recitation’. However, unlike more recent collections, the 1895 Michigan list contains fewer than ten items each that refer to females or to overindulgence in alcohol, and words with sexual implications are almost entirely absent.
Within five years of Gore’s study, Eugene Babbitt and fellow members of the New York branch of the American Dialect Society conducted the most ambitious national survey of American college slang to date. After a pilot study that circulated thirty words to several leading colleges for confirmation and additions, an expanded list of three hundred items was sent to “all the colleges and universities in the country, as well as to a number of secondary schools” (1900, 5). The results of responses from eighty-seven schools are reported in a thousand-item word list accompanied by a perceptive seventeen-page essay. “College Slang and Phrases,” published in 1900 in Dialect Notes, is the baseline for the historical study of twentieth-century U.S. college slang.
The privy continues to inspire…
Fully one-third of the items in the national survey refer to the persons, places, requirements, rituals, and difficulties that students encounter in their role as students. The time-honored horse metaphor for ‘using a translation’ has elaborated into animal, beast, bicycle and wheel. A ‘user of a translation’ is a jockey or equestrian, and ‘a bookshelf for translations’ is a stable. A race course is a ‘meeting of several students to prepare a pony’, and a racetrack is the site of such a meeting. Some synonyms for ‘failing to attend class’ are adjourn, hook, skip, sneak, and snooke. A safety is ‘a slip of paper handed to an instructor at the beginning of a recitation stating that the student is unprepared’, and attendance at recitation under those circumstances is called a dry cut.
There are more terms for failure than for success
There are several terms for using unfair means to pass examinations, for example, to frog, roguethrough, or shenannygag. The various ingenious devices prepared for the purpose of cheating have their own names: cribs, panoramas, rolls, skins, and winders. A winder, for instance, is ‘a crib constructed of a long strip of paper rolled on two pencils’. But more contemptible than cheating as a way to succeed academically is currying favor with a teacher or someone else in authority. A student who does this is said to bootlick, chin, coax, drag, fish, suck, or swipe.
The polite reserve noticed in the college slang dating from the 1850s and 1860s is barely broken at the turn of the century. The slang still contains few terms for drinking, women, or groups discriminated against in society at large. For example, only about a dozen terms refer to drinking alcohol and a comparable total to Jews, Italians, and African American. Babbitt thinks that the lack of such terms shows that college students have not developed a distinctive vocabulary of their own for talking about these topics (11). It is possible that the use of offensive slang among students was much more limited and cautious a century ago when rules for behavior were stricter. However, it is also likely that terms considered common or vulgar in general conversation are underreported in Babbitt’s collection. I imagine that both students and faculty of the Victorian era would have felt uncomfortable writing down and mailing lists of such words to the American Dialect Society even if they knew or used them.
Buck, buzz, fuss, go double, pike, swing, and turf …
Nonetheless, the small set of slang words and phrases that refer to women and to relationships between men and women do give a hint of the collegiate culture then. A female domestic employed in college dormitories rates almost as many names as does a female student, being called an Amazon, grace, or Venus, as well as the less lofty sheet-slinger and kitchen mechanic. Bird names are the standard in referring to a female student, for instance, canary, hen, pullet, and quail; and a female residence hall is a hen coop/ranch/roost, quail roost, or jail. Another term for ‘female student’ is calico and its shortened derivative calic, which gives rise by synecdoche to dry goods. Synonyms for ‘pretty girl’ include geranium, peach, and peacherine. Several terms mean “to call on, escort, or entertain a lady’, including buck, buzz, fuss, go double, pike, swing, and turf. Keeping company with the opposite sex is viewed in the context of marriage: a college widow is ‘a girl whom new men meet from year to year but whom no one ever marries’, and to take acottage course is ‘to marry before graduation’.Babbitt’s study in 1900 was the last major undertaking in the scholarly study of American college slang for seventy years, until Gary Underwood’s project (1975) at the University of Arkansas from 1970 through 1972. Mencken’s admirable chapter on slang (1963) — which documents the in-group vocabulary of such diverse groups as aviators, jazz musicians, railroad workers, and prisoners — gives college students short shrift. To be sure, over the years journalists have continued to keep the public up to date on the latest zany expressions from college campuses. And beginning in 1925, the journal American Speech frequently printed brief word lists from various campuses and served as the primary outlet for the publication of scholarly studies of college slang, like that of Dundes and Schonhorn in 1963. The short-lived periodical Current Slang, which was issued quarterly from the English Department of the University of South Dakota from summer 1966 through winter 1971, focused mainly on college slang, documenting the sudden burgeoning in the college lexicon of terms from African Americans and from the drug culture.
During the period from 1900 to 1970, the scholarly collection and analysis of American college slang was at best sporadic. However, in these scattered treatments can be seen traces of the major changes that transformed college slang and college culture by the 1970s. By 1926-27, slang at Kansas University depicted not only “loose women” but also women students as having sex appeal, with terms like hot-sketch, and mean-baby (Pingry and Randolph 1928). University of Missouri slang of 1931 called a ‘chic, up-to-date coed’ a hot number and ‘one who necks on a date’ a giraffe (Carter 1931). The collection from Johns Hopkins published in 1932 includes slang in three areas barely evident in student slang from 1900.
After World War II, the GI Bill altered the collegiate population of the United States and set into motion changes in higher education that are still being felt today. During the 1950s and 1960s American institutions of higher learning relinquished the philosophy of in loco parentis under which they had functioned in a parental role toward students. As a consequence, many college regulations for controlling student behavior outside the classroom were eventually abandoned — such as dress codes, curfews, and mandatory attendance at chapel or assemblies.
By the time Gary Underwood collected his lexicon of 750 slang items at the University of Arkansas, from 1970 to 1972, American college slang had taken on its current shape. For instance, in the Arkansas collection there are multiple synonyms for drunk and words with sexual connotations. As a whole, the terms Underwood reports from Arkansas parallel in meaning and effect the terms in the University of North Carolina collection. Both collections show plainly that since the turn of the century drastic changes have taken place in what college students are willing to reveal about their talk with one another.
Unlike antilanguage, slang invests little in vocabulary pertaining to scholarship
Many of the hundreds of items of North Carolina slang used as examples throughout this book suggest various facets of college culture in the late twentieth century. For instance, bro, sister, and homeboy/homegirl/homey are the primary kinship terms in the college lexicon—and also among the most frequently used nouns of address. This usage implies a speech community formed on peer relationships rather than on hierarchy. Another example is provided by admonitions like get a life, get a job, get a real job, and get with the program for instructing others to conform to the expectations that society holds for adults. These expressions show that, despite the need of college students to merit the favorable judgement of peers, it is ultimately the standards of the world of work beyond college that count. Other slang presented throughout this book confirms that the current college culture is firmly rooted in the general culture. Unlike an antilanguage, in which the lexicon is highly developed specifically in those areas that set the users apart from mainstream culture, college slang invests little in vocabulary pertaining to the users’ status as scholars. Instead, the focus is on relationships with other students and on activities that reinforce those relationships. College student vocabulary about relationships echoes the discourse of American society at large. Ubiquitous popular discussion about openness and honesty in relationships, for example, is the context for college expressions like DHC ‘deep, heavy conversation’, as in “I’m afraid that when my grades arrive, I’m in for some DHC,” and DTR ‘defining the relationship’, as in “It’s time for John and me to have the DTR conversation.”
Another approach is to generalize from a sizable and coherent subset of the corpus. Such a subset of the Carolina corpus is based on the number of submissions per item. Appendix 1 lists the University of North Carolina “top forty”— the lexical items that were submitted by a total of thirty students or more during the period extending from fall 1972 through spring 1993.
The “top forty” can be classified semantically with respect to the twenty-eight categories of meaning identified by Fiorenza. Thirty-two of the forty fall into these categories:
‘excellent’: sweet, killer, bad, cool, awesome
‘socially inept person’: dweeb, geek, turkey
‘drunk’: wasted, catch a buzz, trashed
‘relax’: chill (out), veg (out)
‘fads’: not!, word up
‘fraternity/sorority member’: bagger, Suzi
‘disregard’: bag, blow off
‘kiss passionatey’: grub, hook (up)
‘attractive person’: fox/foxy
‘have a good time’: jam
‘do well’: ace
‘eat rapidly’: pig out
‘out of touch’: clueless
‘worst situation’: the pits
The remaining are slide ‘an easy course’; crash ‘to go to sleep’; cheezy ‘unattractive, out of favor’; trip (out) ‘have a bizarre experience’; granola ‘one who follows the lifestyle of the sixties’; homeboy/homegirl/homey ‘friend’; dude ‘male, any person’ ; and slack ‘below standard’. The meanings of these eight are not unusual or unexpected for slang; they simply do not fall into one of the categories of meaning Fiorenza identified as generating high frequency synonyms.
The forty most frequent lexical items imply a community of speakers concerned with relationships among people, particularly with judgments of acceptance or rejection. They divide almost evenly between terms with positive associations and connotations and those with negative ones. Those that convey negative judgments are rather mild. None of the most frequently submitted negative labels is as vivid, memorable, or offensive as low-frequency derogatory terms.
One can’t go about the business of living using only slang
The studies of anthropologist Michael Moffatt (1989) and folklorist Simon J. Bronner (1990) both verify the primacy of social relations and activities in the lives of recent American college students. It is not academic concerns that shape undergraduate college culture or college slang — it is human ones. College students put more of their time and youthful spiritedness into figuring out who they are in relationship to others, what they like and dislike, what they can and cannot do, and what they will and will not tolerate than in trying to figure out their textbooks, lectures, and professors.
It is also possible that recent generations of college students are creating, appropriating, and using more slang than their counterparts did a century ago. This may be in part because in the United States colloquial vocabulary and slang are generally more widely used now than in the nineteenth century. Lighter notes a stylistic shift toward the highly informal with the advent of writing intended for mass circulation early in the century. The mass media explosion that began then has provided the context for an increase in slang: “for the tone of all current mass media, spurred by the demands of competition, plunges on in the direction of the breezy, the startling, the tough-minded and terse — attitudes that slang is born to impart” (1994, xviii). Undoubtedly because of the influence of the mass media, a type of national slang that conveys attitudes rather than identity with a group, what Chapman calls “secondary slang,” has become more noticeable (1986, xii). Thus students arrive at college with a lifelong exposure to slang and its social functions. What’s more, when first-year students join their newly forming speech community on the first day of registration, they have already survived an important sociolinguistic testing ground. As Danesi (1994) shows, they are already veteran users of the social dialect of their high school and the cliques to which they belonged. Slang, then, is not among the new and threatening features of college life.
What is the future for American college slang?
Early indications are that the national debate over the rights of minorities and disadvantaged groups, the issue of “political correctness,” will manifest itself in interesting ways in college slang. More than any previous generation, students of the 1990s are the beneficiaries of textbooks, lectures, workshops, and conferences designed to analyze critically the assumptions and consequences of discrimination of all kinds. In their public and academic discourse, they can cite facts about differential wages for males and females, explain the high incidence of African American households without an adult male, and advocate the reasonableness of including gays in the military and women in the Roman Catholic priesthood. They have learned, and many believe what they have been taught. But in their casual discourse among friends, in the circles in which they vent their frustrations and express their opposition toward those they feel control their lives, the same students are uttering offensive, stereotypical slang referring to people unlike themselves whom they intellectually and morally support. This abandonment of political correctness among friends is perhaps a sign of trust in others, like telling a secret. It may also be a sign of the fear that in the increasing fragmentation of American society into groups demanding a fair share, they may wind up among the “have-nots.”
Acquiring the kind of knowledge transmitted in books and classrooms is ultimately an individual experience and therefore potentially lonely. No longer apparent are the well-defined groups that were once a natural outgrowth of a rather simple academic system where everyone followed the same curriculum, had the same professors, and lived on the college grounds — and where the students were a fairly homogenous lot. American college student bodies are now much more diversified in age, national and regional origin, race, ethnicity, social class, financial resources, and academic preparation. Institutions of higher learning are larger, with more bureaucracy than ever. As a result, contemporary college students must take greater personal responsibility for identifying and becoming a part of groups that can fulfill their needs for companionship during their college years. An increase in slang use in this would not be surprising.
I find myself in agreement with folklorist Simon Bronner, who studied the rituals, customs, legends, and jokes of college students in the 1970s and 1980s: “Students seek to strengthen their social identity, value system, and emotional growth, but find that the academic setting once noted for assisting this cultural passage has alienated rather than involved them. Increasingly students turn to one another for support, but struggle to create group harmony in a mass society stressing the uprooted, competitive individual” (1990, 239). A large part of that struggle for group harmony for college students is internecine verbal skirmishing; and the terms for negotiating the struggle are slang.
Excerpt Reprinted fromSlang and Sociability: In-Group Language Among College Studentsby Connie Eble. Copyright © 1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher.
Editor's Note: The formatting of this article has been left in its original form.
Suggested Reading/Additional Resources
- Adams, Michael. Slayer Slang, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon. Oxford University Press, 2003.
- Dalzell,Tom. Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang. Springfield, Md: Merriam-Webster Inc.,1996.
- Eble, Connie C. Slang & Sociability: In-group Languages among College Students. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.
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