It is not slang. It is the word meaning 'the' in Rihanna's native Caribbean creole, and also in African American vernacular English. If it were slang, it would be used by white people as well, which it isn't, unless they grew up with a VERY heavy black influence.
You are neglecting the matter of dialectal register: people don't tend to write down vernacular varieties of English, they are primarily verbal, except in informal settings. Nor do Creole speakers tend to speak Creole very much when they live in the USA and have to communicate with English speakers. The point is, the word 'da' occasionally creeps into written English, although it is more commonly found in verbal dialects. It is incorrect standard English, but it is entirely correct AAVE and Barbados dialect. It is not the same phenomenon as white Americans pronouncing 'the' in a relaxed way that sounds like 'de'.Don't get so twisted, here, CK. So dogmatic.
'da' for 'the' is as common as dirt in the US. And it's just not possible, often, to distinguish "the word 'da'" from "the pronunciation 'da' of the word 'the' "
In fact, somewhat supporting the latter interpretation, many speakers of 'da' would write 'the'--and I wouldn't be suprised if that included Ms. Rihanna, herself. Listening to her speak in interview, I hear Caribbean accent; I'm not sure she's a 'creole' speaker at all.
Confirming... At some time in the past, San Francisco had a African-American mayor.
His e-mail address was "damayor@...".
It seems to be escaping the attention of you guys that not only has "the" been mangled into "da" (it doesn't matter whether you consider this as slangified or accentified), but the word "are" has been suppressed. The only thing left to be unsure about is whether "da" stands or "are the" or just "the", or whether "you" stands for "you are", or whether "are" has just been elided independently.
Yes, mangled. Disfigured, marred. Call me twisted and dogmatic if you like. The only correct written rendering is "the", no matter how it might sound in any vernacular dialect. Of course, if you wish, in writing, to imitate that spoken dialect, mangling is permitted, but mangling it is.PS: "mangled"!
For what it's worth, the article "da" in the British and World English dictionary at www.oxforddictionaries.com, which defines it as "non-standard spelling of the, used in representing informal American speech," shows two pronunciations of the word: /də, da/, where /a/ is IPA /æ/ (as in "hat"). On the other hand, the American dictionary entry "da" shows only the pronunciation /də/.I'm not so keen on "da", actually. I find "de" more natural, reflecting the 'e' sound from "the".
I have fond memories, from junior high in Canada, of William Henry Drummond's "De Stove Pipe Hole".
I don't think so, because there are plenty of places in that poem where the long 'e' is actually written as 'ee'.Now that I think of it, "De Stove Pipe Hole" might be pronounced 'dee', in AE. So to say, a revision of "the" (sometimes pronounced thee).
Certainly regional, namely Quebec Franglais, but I'm pretty sure the 'de' is intended to sound like ordinary short-'e' English 'the', so that only the 'th' became 'd', because of French-speakers' unfamiliarity with both voiced and voiceless 'th' sounds. We should probably look to the French article 'le' for guidance on how to pronounce the vowel in 'de'. This is pretty close to the short version of English 'the', i.e. schwa-like.I believe it's an older or regional form, de, long 'e.'