Every day we’re confronted by mysteries of language, signs we don’t understand, symbols that seem like gibberish, and words that sound like maybe they are not from this planet. Verbal communication is one of the most important abilities humans have, so here’s some help, and humour, to help figure out what others are saying. These resources may also lend an air of authenticity to character studies for works of fiction.
Hobo Terminology – http://www.angelfire.com/folk/famoustramp/terminology.html
Although this site is intended, mainly, to detail hobo terminology from the 1880s to World War 1, there are also some modern hobo, homeless, and railroad terms as well.
How to Speak Gangsta – http://www.velocity.net/~acekc/gangsta.htm
Sometimes I wonder what the kids are on about, now I know. There’s also sections on gang signs and hand signals. I don’t think I’ll be using any of those anytime soon.
Newfie Slang – http://www.offdarock.com/newfieslang.asp
Just as much a mystery as gangsta speech can be are some of the terms used by our neighbours on the east coast. Being from the east coast myself, I do find myself uttering a few of these every now and then.
Jazz Slang – http://www.allaboutjazz.com/speak.htm
Are you hip, daddy-o? Find out!
Grandiloquent Dictionary – http://www.islandnet.com/~egbird/dict/dict.htm
Now if slang isn’t your speed, and you’re looking for something a little more obscure, this would be the place for you. A large collection of five-dollar words you can be sure almost no one you know has ever heard before, and if they have, they’ve probably been to this site too.
Glossarist – http://www.glossarist.com/
Perhaps you’re looking for something a little more specific in the language department. This site contains glossaries on a very wide range of subjects, from publishing, to terrorism, to the humourous and fanciful.
A Glossary of NADSAT – http://wso.williams.edu/~mhacker/clockwork/clockglossary.html
And speaking of glossaries, why not this glossary of the language used in Anthony Burgess’ “A Clockwork Orange”. Very bolshy, my little droogs.
British, Canadian, & American Vocabulary –
We may all be speaking the same language, more or less, but more often than not we’re all a little mildly confused by our English-speaking neighbours worldwide. This site might help dispell the mystery a little.
Language Miniatures – http://home.bluemarble.net/~langmin/
Little essays about all kinds of aspects of human language.
“Oh my God, there’s an axe in my head!” – http://www.yamara.com/junk/xl970512.html
In over 100 languages. You just never know when a phrase like that can come in handy.