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Bir Sosyal, Dilbilimsel ve Semiyotik Fenomen Olarak Türkçede Argo

Slang in the Turkish Language as a Social, Linguistic, and
Semiotic Phenomenon

Olga Razuvajeva, M.A.1

Gaziantep Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi (http://sbe.gantep.edu.tr)
2009 8(1):299 -316 ISSN: 1303-0094


The topic of the article is the phenomenon of slang in the Turkish language. An
examination of the phenomenon and its place in contemporary Turkish culture is
followed by a description of slang from a semiotic point of view. Particular attention
is given to the morphological, syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic levels of slang.

Keywords: Turkish, slang, sociolinguistics, subculture, semiotics, metaphor.


Argo çok yönlü bir dilsel fenomendir. Dilbilimsel antropoloji ile toplum dilbilimin
bugünkü yaklaşımları argoyu konuşma diline özgü olan ve çoğunlukla alt kültürü
ifade eden bir söz varlığı olarak tanımlarlar. Yazınsal ve standart dil ile zıtlık içinde
bir dilsel fenomen olan argo, dilin, toplumsal kesimler arasında derinleşen
ayrımlaşmanın sonucu olarak oluşan ve toplumun bir alt kültürüne ait düşünce,
anlamlar ile değerler sistemini ifade eden bir parçasıdır.

Türk argosuna dair ilk örnekler karşımıza 11. yüzyılda Kaşgarlı Mahmud’un
“Divanü Lûgat-it-Türk” adlı eserinde çıkmıştır. Fakat bu fenomene karşı büyük bir
bilimsel ilgi ancak 20. yüzyılın ortasında duyulmuş; bu ilginin bir sonucu Ferit
Devellioğlu “Türk Argosu. İnceleme ve Sözlük” adlı eserini kaleme almıştır. Son
zamanlarda argo üzerine çok sayıda kitap yayımlanmıştır: Halil Ersoylu, Mehmet
Arslan, Ali Püsküllüoğlu, Hulki Aktunç ve Filiz Bingölçe’nin çalışmaları; ayrıca
2003 yılında Prof. Dr. Emine Gürsoy Naskali ve Doç. Dr. Gülden Sağol
editörlüklerinde çıkan ‘Türk Kültüründe Argo’ adlı derleme de argo fenomeninin
incelenmesine önemli bir katkı sağlamıştır.

Argo fenomeni çeşitli metot ve yaklaşımlar vasıtasıyla incelenebilir. Bu makalenin
amacı, argoyu semiyotik bakış açısıyla anlatmak ve argonun yapıbilimsel,
sözdizimsel, semantik ve pragmatik düzeylerini göstermektir. Ayrıca, makalede
argonun çağdaş Türk kültüründeki yeri de tartışılmaktadır.

Argo, belirli bir alt kültürü ifade etmemekle birlikte çeşitli sosyal sınıfların ve farklı
yaş, cins ve meslek gruplarının dillerinde de yaygın kullanım bulmaktadır. Makalede

argo terimi en geniş anlamıyla ele alınmış; argo sözcük örnekleri arasında gençlik
dilinden, hırsız dilinden, uyuşturucu müptelalarının dilinden argo örnekleri


Slang is a very multifarious language phenomenon. Current approaches in linguistic
anthropology and sociolinguistics define slang as an informal and usually
stigmatized vocabulary that often serves the purpose to mark out a subculture.
Slang is a language phenomenon opposed to literary, standard2 language; it is a part
of language that expresses the system of ideas, meanings, and values created by
social differentiation.

Slang does not mark any particular subculture: it can be found in a language of
different social classes, age, gender, and professional groups. Despite the fact that
the term “slang” can be used to define particularly the language of young people,
here we prefer to use it in its very general meaning for criminal argot or cant,
occupational jargon, language of adolescents, students, and drug addicts.

First references to Turkish slang were made in the 11th century by Mahmud al-
Kasgari in his “Divan Lugat At-Turk”. According to the records, the appropriation
by some of the words a new meaning and the emergence of a secret language are of
a very old tradition3. However, a real interest towards the phenomenon of slang
emerged only in the middle of the 20th century, with a book of a Turkish linguist
Ferit Devellioğlu “Turkish Slang”4, in which the author gave a general analysis of
the phenomenon and a dictionary of Turkish slang. More recent works on Turkish
slang lexicon were made by Halil Ersoylu5 and Mehmet Arslan6; comprehensive
Turkish slang dictionaries were composed by Ali Püsküllüoğlu7, Hulki Aktunç8,
and Filiz Bingölçe9; and in 2003, a collection of articles “Slang in Turkish

Culture”10 was published. Still, the phenomenon of slang is possible to discuss
by means of very different methods and approaches. In the following article, we
will describe Turkish slang from the semiotic point of view, with a particular
attention on its morphological, syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic levels.

It has to be mentioned that in Turkish there is no clear distinction between the terms
“argot”, “jargon”, and “slang”. All the words and phrases that are considered to be
outside the literary language may be occasionally included into the group of slang11,
irrespective of their being a part of obscene language or a slang of different
occupational groups12. Sometimes we also find colloquialisms marked as “slang” in
Turkish dictionaries13.

The phenomenon of Slang and its Place in Present-day Turkish Culture

Slang is very difficult to define. It is a very wide term described by certain
dictionaries as “unconventional words or phrases that express either something new
or something old in a new way14” or “some expressions that are used by some
groups of people and not by other groups and are not a part of the standard
language15”. Slang, which is undoubtedly a vocabulary specific, e.g., to a particular
generation of younger speakers16, is said to be found in any country and in any
language to serve the purpose of assuring understanding within different social
groups17. Formed by giving special meanings to words of the standard language,
making changes in some of them, using words from dialects, archaic language,
foreign language forms, and metaphors, slang consists of vocabulary understood by
a limited number of people and may occasionally include rude language18. Thus, we

can say that slang is a special means of communication for a group of people that
for certain reasons wants to keep itself private19. The slang’s strong connection with
the society and social changes makes it possible to look at the phenomenon from
the point of sociolinguistics and the theory of subcultures.

Language is a guide to “social reality”; it is a symbolic guide to culture20. Language
arises within our cultural, social, and physiological environment and defines the
way we understand the world around us. Any word is a sign the people agree upon
to signify a particular idea, thought, object, or concept. Any new phenomenon
brings a new word, which becomes obsolete when the phenomenon disappears.

Fast development of information technologies and means of communication
brought a lot of new concepts and new words to the Turkish language; on the other
hand, some old words were re-examined and got their new meanings in the lexicon
of slang. Therefore, some of the words that were very common during the time of
the Ottoman Empire (connected with the religious or governmental institutions,
etc.) were reconsidered in the 20th century and transformed in the framework of the
new Turkish culture. Such transformation influenced all the strata of the language
vocabulary, including its non-literary elements. We can see that some of the words,
especially those connected with religion, have taken a very new meaning in the
lexicon of slang:

şeriat - (rel. the Sharia) - “code of thieves' law”;

cami (rel. mosque) - “crowded place”;

gavur (rel. unfaithful) - “butcher”;

reis (rel. head, chief) - “mate who is able to do anything”;

imanım (my faith) - “Hey, man!” (a friendly greeting)21;

Adem baba (Adem - Adam, baba - father) - 1) “tramp”, 2) “prisoner who is
completely penniless”, 3) “hippy” or “shabby-looking tourist”, 4) “opium addict”.

Language instantly follows changes in the life of society, what inevitably results in
the emergence of new lexical items. For example, it is possible to trace the
transformation of the Turkish society according to its relations with other nations,
communities, and languages and adoption of foreign words. Different historical
periods have brought different loanwords into both literary and slang forms of the

Turkish language. The first Arabic loanwords appeared in Turkish with the
spread of the Islamic faith and became widespread in Turkish slang as “a satire on
the sacred” in the further periods22: e.g.,
Allah - “superior”, “boss”, ezan (the azan)

- “cockcrow”, camici23 (from cami - mosque) - “thief working in mosques”, etc.
Persian was the language of art and literature in the Ottoman Empire; hence, we can
find many Persian loanwords as in the literary Turkish language as in its slang
form: e.g.,
derviş (lit. dervish, from Persian deryûş) - “frequenter of a drug den”,
gül (lit. rose, from Persian gul) - “amphetamine”, parça (lit. piece, fragment, from
pârçe) - “pretty woman”, etc. Loanwords from the languages of the
Ottoman Christian minorities - Greek and Armenian - are also widely found in
Turkish slang: e.g.,
aftos (from Greek autos - herself) - “lover”, “mistress”,
palamari çözmek24 (from Greek palamari - rope, Turkish çözmek - to untie) - “to
ahbar (from Armenian yeğpayr - brother) - “brother” (form to address to a
cacık25 (from Armenian cacıg) - “fool”, “naïve”, etc. French loanwords
appeared in Turkish in the second part of the 18th century and immediately covered
the slang territory:
afiş (lit. poster, placard, from French l'affiche) - “trick”,
“deception”, “fabrication”,
artist (lit. actor, from French artiste) - “liar”,
fos (from French fausser - to distort) - “useless”, “worthless”, “false”,
etc. In the last years, due to the process of globalization, many English words found
their reflection in the Turkish slang: e.g.,
antifriz (from English antifreeze) -
“alcoholic beverage”, caz (from English
jazz) - “twaddle”, coynt (from English
joint) - a “hashish cigarette”, etc26.

The brightest examples of influence of the technical progress on language can be
found in computer jargon and in the slang of the youngest generation. Internet-
related situations, operations, and activities have produced the need for a large
number of words and phrases that extend well beyond the computer-mediated
communication,27 and the youngest generation is most likely to use the innovation
in language forms along with the innovations in computer technologies. The
characteristic feature of such neologisms in Turkish is the use of English loanwords
either as part of a word or as part of a compound:

getle§mek28 - “to chat”;

resetlemek29 - “to reset”;

instol etmek30 - “to install a new programme”;

apgreydetmek31- “to upgrade one’s computer”;

caddeci teenler32 - “teenagers roaming the streets of Istanbul”.

The development of society constantly changes the language. We have to remember
that language “is never unitary.” Actual social life and historical development
create within an abstractly unitary national language a multitude of concrete words,
a multitude of bounded verbal-ideological and social belief and systems. All words
have the “taste” of a profession, a tendency, a particular work, a generation, an age
group, the age day and hour.33 Within the language, there are differences that
obviously depend upon the density of community: different economic classes differ
in speech. Further, there are differences in education, in the way of both family
traditions and schooling. These differences are further exacerbated by less
important divisions of occupations; sports and hobbies also have their own
vocabulary.34 The social stratification is thus an important precondition for the
emergence and popularization of slang terms. However, it would be rather unjust to
treat slang as a linguistic phenomenon limited to lower classes of society. Despite
the fact that in general the phenomenon of slang comes into being within the lower
social strata, its vocabulary is often enriched by educated and intelligent groups35.

Slang is a very good example of “anti-language”. The principle used in its
formation is that of the same grammar and different vocabulary; but the vocabulary
differs only in certain areas, typically those that are central to the activities of the
subculture and that set it off most sharply from the established society36. For
example, the slang expressions of students often refer to activities that may meet
with social disapproval: drinking, taking drugs, sexual relations37.

As any subculture can be understood in terms of a combination of values,
behaviour, and language knowledge,38 the practice of slang can be considered to be
one of the indicators of participation in a deviant subculture. Slang becomes a
language of a sub-cultural community and consists of expressions used as a kind of
in-group language by some speakers to identify themselves with other speakers and
to distance themselves from speakers who do not use these forms39. For example, if
we take a look at a community of Istanbul hip-hoppers, we will see that for them
“the subcultural capital”40 constructed via the underground is not just about status
within their community, it is also simultaneously about the construction of
boundaries within the community, defining who is in and who is out41.

Thus, slang has its own environment that defines the specifics of the language used
by the people belonging to the environment. Connected with a way of life and
values of a particular group, it can be used as an in-group language by different
occupational groups, be it criminals, sportsmen or musicians, or by the young

Slang Words in the Semiotic Frames

Words and language are the products of social necessity; they are needed for proper
communication. A word does not have any meaning without a definition. Thus, a
word and its definition become a pair of signifiers of a real object, idea, or activity.

Lexical items belonging to slang, as the most of the vocabulary in a language42,
refer to the group of conventional signs. Generally, there is nothing in common
between their form or vocal expression and semantic content, signifier and
signified. However, we can find some examples of slang words derived from
onomatopoeic words that find themselves beyond the scope of the group of
conventional signs and belong to the group of iconic signs - a mode in which the
signifier is perceives as resembling or imitating the signified43:

gıcık - tickle in the throat; gıcık gıcık - sound of tickling


gıcık -“ irritating, tiresome person”
cız - sizzling or hissing sound


cızdam or cızlam - 1) “disappearance”, “slipping away”, 2) “death”
gıcırtı - squeaking sound;


kapı gıcırtısı (door creak) - “western classical music”

The second group of the slang words belonging to the group of iconic signs consists
of metaphors created by a principle of association:

albatros (albatross) - “tall and broad-shouldered man”;

ağaç (tree) - “watchman”;

el freni (hand brake) - “zipper”;

ampul (light bulb) - “bald” (person);

deve (camel) - “lanky”, “gangling” (person).

Metaphors compose the largest group of the Turkish slang words44. Therefore, the
most of the slang words find their expression in the connotative meaning of a sign45
(opposed to the denotative meaning), what means that all the cultural components
are re-examined. Lakoff and Johnson argue that “the essence of metaphor is
undertaking and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another46”. In semiotic
terms, a metaphor involves one signified acting as a signifier referring to a different


fasulye (bean) - “girl”;

hastane (hospital) - “stadium”;

çuval (sack) - “goalkeeper who constantly misses goals”;
minareci (minaret + affix -ci) - “tall footballer”;
kafes (cage, coop) - “prison”;
tetik (trigger) - “hired killer”;

çiftdikiş (double seam) - “student who repeats a year”;
camekan (display window) - “glasses”.

The slang lexical items belonging to the group of metaphors are the examples of
comparison; the metaphor here is chosen according to 1) a similarity of appearance
albatros, deve, ampul, etc), 2) a similarity of a characteristic feature (e.g.
çuval, tetik), or 3) a similarity of function (e.g. kafes, camekan, etc.). The properties
taken from the source domain reflect here the characteristics of the target domain;
each different selection from the source domain provides a different connotative
depiction of the specific feature to be evaluated48:

Source domain
source domain

Thus, we see that many slang lexical items were derived from standard, literal
language but obtained a new metaphorical meaning due to ironic and imaginative
interpretation of the word.

Naturally, the phenomenon of metaphor itself is not a feature of slang. Much of
everyday language is metaphorical in origin, though the origins are often forgotten
or unknown. What distinguishes slang is that it is itself a metaphorical entity and
hence metaphorical modes of expression are the norm; we should expect
metaphorical compounding, metatheses, rhyming alternations, and the like to be
among its regular patterns of realization.49

Morphology and Syntax of Turkish Slang

Slang lexical items, as any other words of language, follow strict morphological and
syntactical rules. Because the feature of slang cannot be considered an independent
language but is only a part of the language, it would be completely wrong to treat
its word-formation pattern as something appropriate only for this particular

The main way of formation of new lexical items in the modern Turkish language is
affixation: one affix or several affixes50 follow the root of the word. The affixation
is also widely used in the formation of slang words:

İntiharlardayım - “I am bored”

intihar + lar + da    +    yım

“suicide”    plural the locative case personal affix

Fenalardayım - “I am sick (of)”

fena + lar    +    da    +    yım

“bad, ill, sick” plural    the locative case    personal affix

Patladım - “I failed”
patlamak +



-di-past affix 51    personal affix

“to burst, to explode”

Ortamcı - “party-goer”
ortam +

-ci affix52


Dünyalı - “civilian(s)”
dünya    +

“the world”

li affix53

Sometimes, it is possible to distinguish a chain of slang lexical items formed by the
help of affixes:

kaparoz (“loot”, “illegal income”)

Besides the affixation means, Turkish slang words can also be formed by the help
of other words or parts of other words. These elements play here a role of affixes:

azmanyak (azmak - get wild, manyak - crazy, wild) - “furious, crazy person”;
çaykolik (çay - tea, alkolik - an alcoholic) - “tea addict”;

zilyoner (zil - lit. doorbell, slang famished, milyoner - millionaire) - “poor person”.
However, this type of derivation is not very common in Turkish.

On the syntactic level, two groups of compounds are found:

1. noun + verb

duman olmak (duman - lit. smoke or fog, slang hopeless (about a state or

condition), olmak to be) - “to lose one’s fortune”;

kantin atmak (kantin - canteen, atmak - to throw) - “to tell lies”;

kek pişirmek (kek - cake, pişirmek - cook) - “to deceive”;

gaz vermek (gaz - gas, vermek - to give) - “to encourage”.

2. adjective / noun in the function of adjective + noun
çürük elma (rotten apple) - 1) “player who had sold out a match”, 2) “corrupted

canlı bomba (canlı - living, vivid, strong, bomba - bomb) - “footballer who

constantly scores goals”;

yeşil kundura (green shoes) - “soldier's shoes”;

aşk efekti (effect of love or passion) - “kiss”;

bahçe salatası (garden salad) - “softhead”.

Turkish Slang Words in the Frames of Semantics

A language grows by the number of its words as the societies that use it create new
entities that have to be named54. Because of its nature, slang is especially in need of
constant lexical renewal. The motivation for it is to maintain the secrecy or novelty
of the language55.

Slang words have a significative type of semantics: their form is based not on
attributes of material denotants but is defined by the interpretation of the
phenomenon or subject by members of a certain language community. In the
formation of semantics of these language units, the main role is to keep background
knowledge, importance of the subject according to a system of values of a concrete
group of people.

Slang, being a phenomenon of alternative language, reflects a value system
accepted by a certain group. The function of alternative language is to create
alternative reality56. Thus, for example, some of the metaphors like
keyif - “feeling
of joy”,
ot - “grass” or “herb”, beyaz - “white”, kar - “snow”, pudra - “powder”,
elmas - “diamond”, kristal - “crystal”, yakut - “ruby”, kuş - “bird”, mavi rüya -
“blue dream”,
çay - “tea”, nefes - “breath” used in a meaning of “drug” or verbs
and verbal phrases like
temizlemek - “to clean”, adresini değiştirmek - “to
change one’s address”,
eşek cennetine göndermek - “to send [someone] to
donkey’s paradise”,
imamın kayığına bindirmek - “to help [someone] to get into
an imam’s boat”,
temize havale etmek - “to send [someone] to the fresh air” in a
meaning of “to kill someone” have an euphemistic character. Such euphemisms
are used to avoid unpleasant connotations57. Here the system of meanings of the
words confronts the general values of the human society reflected in a lexicon of
any standard language.

The source for the semantic formation of slang lexical items is not limited to any

concrete field, but covers all the diversity of the world around us. The
freedom of means makes it possible to use an image of the highest
expressiveness. In the formation of Turkish slang words, the following noun
groups may be used:

1)    fauna:

inek (cow) - “overly hardworking student”;
koyun (sheep) - “simpleton”;
ördek (duck) - “passenger” (used among drivers);
balina (whale) - “fat”, “obese” (person);

ev tavuğu (ev - house or home, tavuk - hen) - “married woman”;
otel faresi (otel - hotel, fare - rat) - “hotel thief’.

2)    flora:

karpuz (watermelon) - “simpleton”;

ananas (pineapple) or sek ananas (sek - straight, distilled liquor) - “stupid”,

soğan (onion) or soğan erkeği (erkek - man) - “coward”, “unprincipled” (about
a man);

maydanoz (parsley) - “interfering in everything”, “meddler”;
maydanoz olmak (maydanoz - parsley, olmak - to be) - “to interfere in other

badem şekeri (sugared almond) - 1) “pistol bullet”, 2) “young navy officer”.

3)    names of nature phenomena or natural substances:

toz (dust) - “heroin”;

toprak (earth, soil) - “drug of poor quality”;
dalgada olmak (be on a wave) - “to be high on drugs”;
ateş (fire, fever) - “money”;

ateş almak (ateş - fire, fever; almak - to take) - “to fall in love”;

ateşe nal koymak (to throw a horseshoe into a fire) - “to charm someone”;

çamur (mud) - “troublesome”, “unreliable”, “twofaced”, “wicked” (person).

4)    names of human body parts:

ayak (leg, foot) - “trick”, “pose”, “playing a role”;

ayak çıkmak (to go out), ayak koşmak (to run) or ayak yapmak (to make) - “to
swindle”, “to pretend”;

diş (tooth) - 1) “puff at one’s cigarette”, 2) “influence”, “power”.

5) names of musical instruments:

düdük (whistle, pipe) - “simpleton”, “fool”;

zurna (a reed instrument resembling an oboe) - “very drunk”;

davul (drum) - “the one who wags his tongue”.

Considering the examples above, it can be concluded that the semantic word-
formation finds very intensive practice in the modern Turkish slang. A rich
vocabulary of the standard Turkish language and the variety of language means
give inexhaustible potential for the semantic word-formation in standard as well as
non-standard types of language.

Turkish Slang From the Point of Pragmatics

A useful framework for defining slang within the frames of pragmatics is the
system of speech functions outlined by Roman Jakobson. Of particular importance,
here are the referential (“denotative”, “cognitive”) function, indicating orientation
toward the topic of the message and the emotive (“expressive”) speech function,
indicating focus on the addresser (speaker), their attitudes, and emotions, regardless
of whether a certain emotion is true or feigned58.

Slang lexical items contain both referential meaning and expressive meaning: the
referential or denotative function stresses the topic, and the emotive or expressive
function stresses the speaker:

Duyunca patlayacaksın! (from teenagers’ slang)

“You’ll explode when you hear it!” (patlamak - to explode)

Partide en gaz ve baba parçalar çalacak! (from the slang of hip-hop musicians)
“The hottest
(gas - “gas”) and the best (baba - “father”) music will be played at the

O yaz Kadıköy’de badem şekerlerinden geçilmiyordu. (from women’s slang)

“That summer Kadiköy59 was so full of young navy officers (badem şekeri) you
couldn’t get through”.

Slang is primarily a type of spoken language, the speech of intimate and expressive
conversation60. The purely emotive stratum in language is presented by the
interjections61. Undoubtedly, such highly expressive language as Turkish offers a
rich variety in the field of informal sayings:

eyvallah - Thanks! Thanks a lot! Good bye! So be it, if you say so;

helal olsun (helal - rel. canonically lawful) - It is all yours! Bravo!
idare eder (idare etmek - to manage) - It’s OK.

As we have already mentioned in the chapters above, slang serves the aim of
promoting solidarity among the members of the group. This may be seen as an
extension of Jakobson's contact (“phatic”) function, which focuses on the contact
between speakers, serving to establish, to prolong, or to discontinue
communication, to check whether the channel works, to attract attention of the
interlocutor or to confirm their continued attention62. Such words as
hacı (hadji),
ağa (master), baba (father), abi (contracted from ağabey - older brother), amca
(uncle) have obtained a new meaning and are used by young people in order to
address their peers:

N’aber hacı?    "\ How are you? /

Abi nassın? 63    >- What’s up, mate?

Connative function with its orientation towards the addressee and expression in the

vocative and imperative64 can be shown by such examples as:

salla başından (sallamak - put off, başından - from your head) - “don’t mind”;

cool ol    “take it easy”, “relax”.

relax ol    V

Thus, we may define slang as a language phenomenon that is used as an expressive
speech device in all the varieties of the speech functions by a certain group of
people. The speakers present the style and different pragmatic expressions to
manage interpersonal relations between a speaker and a listener and achieve
understanding between members of a certain community, be it social or
professional group.


Slang is a highly expressive and metaphorical part of the language used by
members of different social or professional groups. We can distinguish a slang of
adolescents, an occupational jargon of musicians, footballers, or computer experts,
a cant of thieves, etc. The boundaries between all the slang types are not always
clear and we can find some technical words in the language or teenagers, or cant
words in the language of different professional groups. Moreover, slang words
frequently become a part of everyday vocabulary and colloquial speech.

Summarizing all the characteristics of slang, we can say the following:

-    Slang is one of the most common innovative language phenomenon: the use
of its lexical items is in a constant dependence of social and cultural environment;

-    Slang is used by people belonging to the same social or occupational group
in order to keep private from the other part of the society, playing thus a role of a
significant marker of “in-groupness” and defining ideas and values of a certain

-    Slang lexical items transmit the connotative meaning of a sign, slang
becomes thus a highly metaphorical language that shows ironic interpretation of
literal words;

-    Slang exists within the national language, it uses the forms of the standard
language in order to create its own lexical items; as a result, we see a different
meaning of the word, although there is no difference in morphological or syntactic
patters of word/phrase formation;

-    Slang lexical items express a significative type of semantics; basic meaning
is transferred into derived meaning according to interpretation of a certain
phenomenon or subject by a concrete sub-cultural community;

-    Slang finds its use in all the speech functions transmitting emotive
significance of the speech and providing understanding among the members of the


Aksan, Doğan (1995), Her Yönüyle Dil (Ana Çizgileriyle Dilbilim), Ankara: Levent
Ofset Mat. ve Yayıncılık.

Arslan, Mehmet (2004), Argo Kitabı, Istanbul: Kitabevi 234.

Bakhtin, Mikhail (2000), Unitary Language, The Routledge Language and Cultural
Theory Reader. Edited by Lucy Burke, Tony Crowley and Alan Girvin, London and
New York: Routledge.

Bloomfield, Leonard (2000), Speech-communities, The Routledge Language and
Cultural Theory Reader. Edited by Lucy Burke, Tony Crowley and Alan Girvin.
London and New York: Routledge.

Bolinger, Dwight (1975), Aspects of Language, New York: Harcourt Brace

Chandler, Daniel (2007), Semiotics: The Basics, London and New York: Routledge.

Crystal, David (2001), Language and the Internet, Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.

Çifçi, Musa (2006), Argonun Niteliği ve Argoya Bakış Açımız, Türk Dünyası
İncelemeleri Dergisi (Journal of Turkish World Studies), Cilt VI, Sayı 2, Izmir.

Danesi, Marcel (1999), The Dimensionality of Metaphor, Sign System Studies,
Volume 27, Tartu: Tartu University Press.

Devellioğlu, Ferit (1945), Türk Argosu (Genel inceleme ve Sözlük), Istanbul:
İbrahim Horoz Basımevi.

Ersoylu, Halil (2004), Türk Argosu Üzerine İncelemeler, Istanbul: L&M Yayınları.

Halliday, M.A.K (1976), Anti-Languages, American Anthropologist, New Series,
Vol. 78, No.3, Blackwell Publishing.

Hock, Hans Henrich; Joseph, Brian D (1996), Language History, Language
Change, and Language Relationship. An Introduction to Historical and
Comparative Linguistics,
Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Jakobson, Roman (1960), Closing Statement: Linguistics and Poetics, Style in
. Ed. Sebeok. New York: Wiley.

Korkmaz, Zeynep (1992), Gramer Terimleri Sözlüğü, Ankara: Türk Dil Kurumu
Yayınları 575.

Lakoff, George; Johnson, Mark (1980), Metaphors We Live By, Chicago and
London: University of Chicago Press.

Lerman, Paul (1967), Argot, Symbolic Deviance and Subcultural Delinquency,
American Sociological Review, Vol. 32, No. 2, American Sociological Association.

Lewis, G.L (1967), Turkish Grammar, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Macaulay, Ronald (2006), The Social Art. Language and Its Uses, New York:
Oxford University Press.

Matthews, P.H (1997), Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics, Oxford: Oxford
University Press.

Özkan, Nevzat (2003), Gizli Dil Olarak Argonun Fonksiyonu Üzerine, Türk
Kültüründe Argo. Ed. Emine Gürsoy - Naskali, Gülden Sağol, Haarlem: Türkistan
ve Azerbaycan Araştırma Merkezi Yayını (Publications of Turkestan and
Azrtbaijan Research Centre).

Sapir, Edward (1966). Culture, language, and personality. Selected essays, edited
by David G. Mandelbaum, Berkeley and LA: University of California Press.

Solomon, Thomas (2005), 'Living underground is tough’: authenticity and locality
in the hip-hop community in Istanbul, Turkey,
Popular Music, Volume 24/1,
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Reference sources

Aktunç, Hulki (2002), Türkçenin Büyük Argo Sözlüğü, Istanbul: Yapı Kredi

Argo sözlüğü. Accessed 25 February 2009 from http://argosozluk.com/tr/ .

Bingölçe, Filiz (2001), Kadın Argosu Sözlüğü, Istanbul: Metis Yayınları.

Bingölçe, Filiz (2005), Kadın Argosu Sözlüğü-2, Ankara: Alt-Üst Yayınları.

Püsküllüoğlu, Ali (2004), Türkçenin argo sözlüğü, Ankara: Arkadaş Yayınları.

“Slang”, Encyclopaedia Britannica. Accessed 20 February 2009 from
http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9108462 .

Türkçe sözlük (1998). Ankara: Türk Dil Kurumu Yayınları.


Tallinn University, Estonian Institute of Humanities, Department of Middle Eastern and
Asian Studies.


   Which is learned and accepted as correct across a community or set of communities in
which others are also used (Matthews 1997, "Standard").


   Özkan 2003: 25. For a list of Turkic slang words mentioned in Divan Lugat At-Turk, see
Aktunç 2002: 16-9.


   Available in Turkish as „Türk Argosu. İnceleme ve Sözlük".


   See Ersoylu, Halil (2004), Türk Argosu, Istanbul: LM Yayıncılık.


   See Arslan, Mehmet (2004), Argo Kitabı, Istanbul: Kitabevi 234.


   See Püsküllüoğlu, Ali (2004), Türkçenin argo sözlüğü, Ankara: Arkadaş Yayınları.


   See Aktunç, Hulki (2002), Türkçenin Büyük Argo Sözlüğü, Istanbul: Yapı Kredi Yayınları.


   See Bingölçe, Filiz (2001), Kadın Argosu Sözlüğü, Istanbul: Metis Yayınları and Bingölçe,
Filiz (2005), Kadın Argosu Sözlüğü-2, Ankara: Alt-Üst Yayınları.


   See „Türk Kültüründe Argo", edited by Emine Gürsoy - Naskali and Gülden Sağol.
Türkistan ve Azerbaycan Araştırma Merkezi Yayını (Publications of Türkistan and
Anzerbaijan Reseach Centre), Haarlem 2003.


   Turkish " argo"


   Çifçi 2006: 298.


   E.g., Türkçe sözlük (1998), Ankara: Türk Dil Kurumu Yayınları.


   "Slang", Encyclopaedia Britannica from http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9108462
(accessed 20.02.2009)


   Macaulay 2006: 221


   Matthews 1997, "Slang"


   Aksan 1995: 89


   Korkmaz 1992: 13


   According to Nevzat Özkan, the reasons for secrecy are: 1) hiding a crime, 2) keeping a
commercial secret, 3) concealing one's religious secrets, 4) hiding expressions and
behaviour considered to be obscene (Özkan 2003: 27-8).


   Sapir 1966: 68, 70. Edward Sapir sees the role of language to be the key towards
understanding the particular culture, civilization: "In a sense, the network of cultural
patterns of a civilization is indexed in the language which expresses that civilization" (Sapir
1966: 68).


   The words like şeriat, cami, gavur, reis, and iman have an Arabic origin and are
connected with the religion of Islam.


   Ozkan 2003: 25


   An affix -ci is added to the noun cami - "mosque".


   Used in a slang of seamen.


   a cold soup made of yogurt, cucumber and garlic.


   Along with the loanwords mentioned above, there are also borrowings from Hebrew,
Kurdish, Gypsy, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian, and other languages.


   Crystal 2001: 81-2.


   Being derived from the English verb "to chat", this example of a slang of young people is
formed with the help of a verbal affix


   From the English verb "reset", a verbal affix -le is used.


   The verb „etmek" („to make") is very widely used in a formation of compound verbs.


   Compounds like instol etmek or apgreyd etmek may also have a variation used in written
install etmek, upgrade etmek.


   Cadde means "street"; the affix -ci is added to indicate a person. Teenler is derived from
the English
teenager; affix -ler is added to indicate a plural form.


   Bakhtin 2000: 274-5


   Bloomfield 2000 :264-5


   Aksan 1995: 89


   Halliday 1976: 571


   Macaulay 2006: 87


   Lerman 1967: 210


   Macaulay 2006: 87


   "means by which young people negotiate and accumulate status within their own social
worlds" (Thornton, S.
Club Cultures: Music, Media and Subcultural Capital, 1996: 163) - In
Solomon 2005: 3


   Solomon 2005: 3


Except onomatopoeic words and verbs derivated from them. They belong to a group of
unconventional/iconic signs. Among the examples are such Turkish verbs as zıngırdamak
(„to tremble", „to rattle", „to chatter") and
zıngırdatmak (impelling form from


zıngırdamak). These two verbs are derived from the onomatopoetic word zıngır (zangır):
zıngır zıngır
- "sounds of trembling, rattling, chattering, shaking".


   Chandler 2007: 37


   Devellioglu 1945: 15


   Chandler 2007: 137-141


   Lakoff and Johnson 1980:5


   Chandler 2007: 127


Danesi 1999: 68. Marcel Danesi shows metaphors using the formula "the examples of
human personality = perceived physical features of the animals": "The [human personality
= perceived physical features of the animals] metaform is one of the conceptual strategies
used for understanding notions such as slyness, betrayal, aggressiveness, kindness, etc."
We use the scheme presented by Danesi in order to show the connection between a
signifier and a signified in all the varieties of metaphorical interpretations.


   Halliday 1976: 579


   Lewis specifies the type of Turkish affixes giving them a name of suffixes. However,
considering the fact that prefixes are not normally used in Turkish, we prefer more general
grammatical name that is also widely used by Turkish authors.


   The affix used to indicate the past tense (Lewis 1967: 128).


   The affix -ci is added to the singular of nouns and occasionally to adjectives and adverbs
to denote persons who are professionally or habitually concerned with, or devoted to, the
object, person, or quality denoted by the basic verb (Lewis 1967: 59).


   The affix -li is added to the singular of nouns to make nouns or adjectives which denote:
a) possessing the object or quality indicated by the basic word (e.g. şeker - şekerli, dikkat

- dikkatli); b) possessing the object or quality in a high degree (e.g. hız - hızlı, sevgi -
sevgili); c) belonging to a place or institution (e.g. köy - köylü, İstanbul - İstanbullu) (Lewis
1967: 60-1).


   Bolinger 1975: 384


   Hoch 1996: 312-3


   Halliday 1976: 581


   Hock 1996: 230


   Jakobson 1960: 353-4


   the district of Istanbul on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus.


   Lerman 1967: 213


   Jakobson 1960:354


   Jakobson 1960: 355


   Lit. 'ne haber?' and 'nasılsın?'


   Jakobson 1960:355