sum.1: You gave a good introduction, but as a US native English speaker myself, none of the examples you gave were “slang” American English. What you wrote were what I refer to as simply contractions, which are just an ordinary part of the spoken versus the written word. Wanna, gotta, and so on are how English speakers just speak normally, everyone. The written word is just, as in those two examples, “want to” for “wanna” and “got to” for gotta. In fact, there’s a whole other fairly new thread about this. But, there’s nothing slang-like about those examples. This is slang: “Hey dude, I just got some new wheels, check it out!” Wheels=car. Or, “My old lady and me were just chillin in my crib,” which means, “My girlfriend (or wife) and I were relaxing in our home (or apartment).” There are several varieties. Some African-American inner city talk (no slam on them, a “slam” is a put down or insult, that’s slang) exists, which is quite different. The examples you gave are not American slang.
First of all, the word slang is short for street language. Even though I have read in some websites that slang stands for "shortened language". But I don't think that's the case. Anyway, what is considered street language (please also read the posts below this post) can range from a variety of language constructions and collocations such as idioms, figures of speech or words used by a group of people to simply wrong grammar. I usually prefer to use the term "colloquial English" instead of "slang" when I want to refer to the conversational English used in daily situations by Americans because slang is a bit off-putting for a grammar Nazi like me.
Nevertheless, as a young lady, and an educated person, you wouldn't want to give people the impression that you're just a run-of-the-mill person who talks in an uneducated fashion. But if you insist on giving people that impression, you can use Urban Dictionary (www.urbandictionary.com) to view and learn thousands of slang terms.
Here are a few examples of things commonly used in speech that should be avoided in written English:
wanna = want to
gonna = going to
gotta = got to
tryna = trying to
hafta = have to
could/would/should of = could/would/should have
outta = out of
hella = hell of
sorta = sort of
kinda = kind of
lemme = let me
gimme = give me
And if you want to sound even less educated, use these words interchangeably:
you're & your / ur
we're & were
it's & its
The list goes on.
"I have to use the john."
See the other posts for more information and the meanings of these slangs.
sum1. : For me, and I think just a about every other US native English speaker, a slang word or expression is just an informal substitute for something else. Examples: “Hit me up sometime!” = call me or call on me sometime, a “brewsky” is a beer, “wheels” refers to a car, a “pad” refers to someone’s home or apartment (or “crib”, but that’s a little 1970ish), the “can” is a toilet, or can be a prison, like “he’s in the can” or “slammer,” another word for jail. This is slang. Not “wanna”, “gotta” and simple contractions. That’s completely different.
Popular American slang changes all the time and words can mean two different things to two different people!
In the city of Philadelphia, the word "jawn" (pronounced like the name John) is used to mean anything! It can be a person, place, thing, whatever you want. For example, you might say "This jawn here" when pointing to a car, or "That jawn won't shut up!" when talking about someone who won't stop talking. This is a city-specific word, and no other place uses this.
"Adulting" is another common one a lot of young people use now. It refers to doing something that a responsible adult would do, like buying groceries, cleaning your bathroom, or going to bed early. When your friend asks you what you did today, you might respond "I ran some errands and cleaned my room; major adulting right there!"
Some more silly ones:
- "turnt" - to be "turned up," which basically means being full of energy, generally high (on life or drugs/alcohol haha), can refer to person or a party
- "lit" - you might have heard this one before, but it is another variant for the classic slang word "cool"
- "p" and "v" - short for "pretty" (not the beautiful kind) and "very", so you would say "that's p cool" or "it was v lit"
The amount of acronyms Americans use in verbal and non-verbal conversations is so extensive and is its own category under slang. Looking up those might help you communicate more comfortably via text with Americans.
Hope this helps!
Edit: Since I've read some of the other comments, remember that slang isn't the same thing as an idiom or a different type pronounciation. Slang is a word or words used to mean something else. People in different areas of the country might say words differently (like crayfish vs crawfish) but that doesn't make it slang.