"Slash" has emerged as a new conjunction, which is a rarity in slang. I love the fact that people spell out "slash" and then hyphenate it, and find it hard to believe that they're not doing this for the sheer delightful absurdity of it all:
...But for at least a good number of students, the conjunctive use of slash has extended to link a second related thought or clause to the first with a meaning that is often not quite “and” or “and/or” or “as well as.” It means something more like “following up.” Here are some real examples from students:
7. I really love that hot dog place on Liberty Street. Slash can we go there tomorrow?
8. Has anyone seen my moccasins anywhere? Slash were they given to someone to wear home ever?
9. I’ll let you know though. Slash I don’t know when I’m going to be home tonight
10. so what’ve you been up to? slash should we be skyping?
11. finishing them right now. slash if i don’t finish them now they’ll be done in first hour tomorrow
The student who searched her Facebook chat records found instances of this use of slash as far back as 2010. (When I shared a draft of this post with the students in the class to make sure I have my facts straight, several noted that in examples like (7) and (9), they would be more likely to use a comma in between the clauses and a lower-case “slash.”)
The innovative uses of slash don’t stop there either: some students are also using slash to introduce an afterthought that is also a topic shift, captured in this sample text from a student:
12. JUST SAW ALEX! Slash I just chubbed on oatmeal raisin cookies at north quad and i miss you
Slash: Not Just a Punctuation Mark Anymore [Anne Curzan/Chronicle of Higher Education]
(via Making Light)
I scored badly enough on this that I’m thinking that my fallback career will be raiding The Silmarillion for Elvish names to sell to Big Pharma.
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