Main Article Content
From the perspective of sociolinguistics, this work sets out to investigate the phenomenon of youth slang in a mainstream Igbo speaking community. The study seeks to examine why young people use peculiar socially-situated language in the form of slang outside the established traditional linguistic order and how these innovations have form part of their everyday language. Theoretically, this study is rooted in the conceptual metaphor theory by Lakoff & Johnson (1980) which involves the mapping of meaning between the source and the target domains. Every youth slang is metaphorical in nature, which processes the experience of one kind of thing in terms of another, thereby creating a new meaning. Sixty youth and twenty adults were interviewed and observed through participant observation in eliciting data for this research. The study reveals that youth slang in Nenwe, which is a mixture of Igbo, English, Nigerian Pidgin and specific youth sociolect, is part of the social engagement of the youth in that community in the process of identity construction, enhancing solidarity, fostering integration and gaining independence. This provides the impetus for the creation of a youth sub-culture.
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