Argot: Language Used in Prisons Today

Language / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
An analysis of the language of thieves (argot) which is spoken is prison.

This paper analyzes prison language, prison inmates and prison gangs. It looks at the use of such dialects in other cultures and situations and how they came about.
“In every culture, language differs in some manner, more in some than others. Language can be defined as a means of communication in which vocal sounds are combined into meaningful units to convey thoughts and feelings. Language can differ from culture to culture no matter how far apart they are from each other or how they differ. Take for instance, ebonics, a specialized language used solely by African-American people in the inner city, and although it is made up mostly of slang, it actually gets taught in some schools. People living in the same block may not understand the language, and the same can be said of prisoners located in our cities, who have their own language. In prison, inmates have a language that is entirely unique and cannot be compared to any other language, called argot, which would sound like meaningless babble to the common person, but this code is necessary knowledge to all prison inmates and guards.”


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