A Linguistics Professor Wrote An Entire Academic Paper On The Toronto Slang Word 'Mans'
Mans really did it.
Toronto slang isn't just some meaningless jargon that people throw around for fun — it actually has educational value, and there's an academic paper to prove it.
Derek Denis, an assistant professor for the Department of Linguistics at the University of Toronto, dedicated his entire paper to the popular Toronto slang word mans. Titled 'A note on mans in Toronto,' the paper explores the evolution of the word mans, a plural noun, into a first person singular pronoun via grammaticalization — the process whereby items become more grammatical through time.
It also discusses the similarities between London slang and Toronto slang, noting the comparable impact of Jamaican culture (and multiculturalism as a whole) on both:
"Given the similarities between London and Toronto with respect to the extent of immigration, immigration patterns, multiculturalism and multilingualism, it is reasonable to wonder whether a Multicultural Toronto English exists in the same way that Multicultural London English does."
Denis even references Drake's lines in the SNL sketch 'Black Jeopardy,' where he speaks in full-out Toronto slang, to reinforce his points:
"Not only is Drake Toronto's most popular and successful entertainer of the last decade, he frequently features references to the city in songs, album cover art, and music videos. Indeed, he is the most globally-visible and well-known representative of the multiethnic adolescent Toronto speech community," he adds.
Reading the paper can be a bit challenging if you're not a linguistics major, but all you really need to take from it is that the Toronto slang you use on an every day basis plays an important role in the evolution of the English language, even if it doesn't seem like it does.
So the next time people make fun of you for using words like mans or styll or ahlie, take comfort in the fact that you're very much a part of history in the making!