From “Prison Break” to American Prison Slang

From “Prison Break” to American Prison Slang


This paper mainly talks about slang being spoken in American prisons, from the aspect of the popular American TV series” Prison Break”.
In the first part, I briefly talk about prison culture and prison slang. In the second part, I discuss the two functions of prison slang, and in the last part, I conclude the principles in translation of slang and the importance of slang in English study.

[Key words] slang, prison, culture, translation


“Prison break” is one of my favorite TV series. I was attracted by the handsome “Michael Scofeild”, by the stimulative shots, by the intelligent characters, by their humorous conversations……
However, as a student major in language study, I am also interested by the new phrases and slang in the play, which are very useful in understanding prison culture.
For example, do you know what does”shank” means in prison? It is not your organ; it means a handmade prison weapon
In order to research more in slang, I wrote this paper.

America is known as a “melting pot” from every social aspect. From the language aspect, productive American people add more and more new phrases and slang into the English language.
According to the Cambridge dictionary of American English, the definition of “slang” is explained as “very informal language that is used especially in speech by particular groups of people and which sometimes includes words that are not polite “.

Prison slang and culture
It has long been recognized that language is an essential and important part of a given culture and that the impact of culture upon a given language is something intrinsic and indispensable.
Prison is a very special society. First of all, Most of the criminals come from the unprivileged lower social class. When they enter into the jail, they bring their language with them, especially those dirty words such as “ shit”,”秀豆” “bitch” etc. Secondly, 40 percent of the American...