Melissa Walsh

Slang: Colloquial Poetry

Powerplay Communications | November 2011 | Slang: Colloquial Poetry

Early twentieth-century writer G.K. Chesterton observed, “All slang is metaphor, and all metaphor is poetry. The one stream of poetry which is continually flowing is slang.”

Slang Is the Pulse of Language Slang continually pumps meaning into language. It is daily life’s stream of continually flowing poetry. A student of Latin, Chesterton knew that classical, or formal, Latin ! used only for writing and oratory ! had always been dead in Roman homes, where colloquial, or vulgar, Latin was spoken. At the grassroots, Romans economized the grammar system and continually enriched the lexicon to evolve the colloquial languages of Rome into today’s French, Italian, Spanish, and other Romance languages.

Ad Copy Must Find the Pulse of Language Capturing the pulse of a target market’s language is exactly what developers of promotional content hope to achieve in slogans, headlines, and taglines. Knowing the slang of the market is to know the stream of everyday poetry for that market. A marketing message must be translated into a market’s everyday poetry.

Last month, I developed ad copy for the display of Warrior/Brine lacrosse equipment in Sports Authority stores on the East Coast. I began the copywriting process by listening for the pulse of the language of lacrosse. I queried a few lacrosse players and read some lacrosse blogs to develop a proficiency in lacrosse-speak. I then presented the Warrior/Brine product benefits and features in the language of the laxer, making the case that, with the right equipment, a lacrosse player can beat the dodge, take it to the rack and rip the corner. It was really beautimus copy.