High school prohibits students from using slang terms such as “like” and “naked”

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A London secondary school has “banned” its students from using slang, with prohibited list phrases including “that’s long”, “naked” and “oh my days.”

Students at Ark All Saints Academy in South East London are also not allowed to use the terms “mostly”, “like” and “you know” at the start of sentences.

As reported by The Guardian, the list of prohibited words and phrases only applies to learning situations and formal exams, and can still be used by students in the playground.

The school said the words “showed up a lot in student work.”

Lucy Frame, the principal of Camberwell School, added that the list is intended to “help students understand the importance of expressing themselves clearly and precisely, especially through written language during exams.”

Talk to The Guardian She added, “Developing reading and speaking skills is a central part of what drives our school to help our students learn effectively and achieve their potential in an academic and non-academic way.

“None of the words or phrases listed are prohibited for general use in our school or when our students interact socially.”

The list also includes the phrase “he cut my eyes off,” which refers to looking at someone with disapproval or annoyance.

According to The Journal of American Folklore, the phrase originated in and around the African countries of Ghana and Nigeria and began as a manifestation of anger and conflict between two people.

Some language experts have warned against controlling the language of slang.

In 2019 Ian Cushings, Senior Lecturer in Education at Brunel University in London, conducted a study by visiting schools across the UK and observing how they controlled slang during class.

He argued that schools use language as “an indicator of social factors such as academic success and employability”.

“There is no wrong or correct way to use language. Language is only part of your identity – just like you wear your hair and your clothes, ”he told the BBC.

“Young people will be watching their own language – they don’t need other people to watch it for them, they understand the context of their situation and know when to change it accordingly.

“Shakespeare is full of slang and we don’t see any teachers forbidding it – there is hypocrisy here, which is rooted in cultural and linguistic snobbery.”

Dr Marcello Giovanelly, Senior Lecturer in English Language and Literature at Aston University, said The Guardian that slang has “always been at the forefront of linguistic innovation”.

He said that “take your eyes off me” is a “wonderfully creative example” and that “rejecting students’ homes or their own use of language can have negative effects on identity and self-confidence.”

The full list of voiced slang banned by Ark All Saints is:

  • He cut my eyes off (gave me a scathing sideways look)
  • Oh my days (my God)
  • oh my God
  • It’s a neck (you need a slap for that)
  • Wow
  • It’s long (it’s boring, hard or tedious)
  • Naked (very, extremely)
  • Juice (swear or insult)

Students should also not use the following sentence fillers:

  • Uhmm …
  • Essentially
  • Because …
  • No …
  • As …
  • To say …
  • You see …
  • You know …


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