Talk:Idiolect

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Dictionary entry/stub[edit]

This is a dictionary entry which does not belong here. I am adding it to the list of pages to be deleted.

I think of it as more of a stub...

Oi, i think that this really is to do with wibbilance!

Multi-lingual?[edit]

What if somebody speaks several languages? Are they different idiolects or are they one idiolect? -- Error

I'd guess several, but I think multilingualism and code-switching generally could complicate matters a lot. 惑乱 分からん 14:37, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Che Guevara[edit]

To my knowledge, Che Guevara's use of "Che" is not an idiolect, but rather Argentine slang. Or was there more to it? --Bletch 19:17, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

I also understood that Che Guevara's name originated from Argentine slang, and is a word for 'hey' but became a nickname used by other South American nationalities for Argentinians because they said it so much. That last part might just be legend... -- Danceparadox 13:40, 12 December 2005

I'm confused[edit]

The article che explains that it is an expression common to many countries of South America. But it also refers to Guevara's use of the word as part of his idiolect. However, the definition of idiolect we read in this article is: "An idiolect is a variety of a language unique to an individual." To me, it seems that the use of "che" by Guevara denotes only his dialect, which is defined as "a variety of a language used by people from a particular geographic area."

Revision - July 2009[edit]

I have revised the section Idiolect and language to bring it closer to the understanding of the relationship between idiolect and language in linguistics. This is not my primary area of expertise, though, so attention from other linguists or students of linguistics is welcome. I've also tried to remove some of the more technical jargon, but if the article is still too technical, say so. Cnilep (talk) 21:11, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

What is special about North Americans?[edit]

IP user 71.111.229.19 added a {{clarify}} tag to the assertion, "This view contrasts with a common view among non-linguists, especially in North America...." His/Her edit summary asked, "what is special about north americans? what do other people believe about language?" [sic] She/He then rewrote the sentence as follows: "According to research done in the United States, this contrasts with a common view..." etc.

The rewrite refers to the place where the research was done. I think the real issue (at least, the one I had in mind when I wrote that sentence in 2009), though, is that the researchers studied attitudes of English speakers in North America, primarily in Ypsilanti, Michigan, near Eastern Michigan University. To suggest that this view is true of all non-linguists or all English speakers is to go beyond the claims of the source material. Highlighting the place where the research is done is slightly better, but I'm not sure it quite reaches the actual issue.

I suspect the editor objected to the apparent neglect of language attitudes outside of North America, but I'm not quite sure if that is the extent of the problem. Perhaps the editor could clarify the {{clarify}}, so to speak? Cnilep (talk) 19:59, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

For the sake of discussion, here is an attempted rewrite of the problematic paragraph. Does this seem acceptable?

This contrasts with a view among non-linguists that languages as ideal systems exist outside the actual practice of language users. Based on work done in the United States, Nancy Niedzielski and Dennis Preston describe a language ideology that appears to be common among American English speakers. According to Niedzielski and Preston, many of their subjects believe that there is one "correct" pattern of grammar and vocabulary that underlies Standard English, and that individual usage derives from this external system.

Cnilep (talk) 20:26, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Cnilep, first off, thanks for being so sensitive to my concerns and polite/professional in your communication. I heartily embrace your re-write above and endorse it for placement in the main article. I just have one question, should the sentence, "This contrasts with a view among non-linguists that languages as ideal systems exist outside the actual practice of language users" be rewritten as This contrasts with a view among non-linguists, at least in the United States, that languages as ideal systems exist outside the actual practice of language users? Thanks so much--71.111.229.19 (talk) 21:20, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
I think that's an excellent suggestion. I'll revise the article accordingly. Cnilep (talk) 21:51, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Disambiguation with "Eye Dialect" near intro?[edit]

I think it's odd that neither Wikipedia for Idiolect nor Eye Dialect comment on the other. Is this needed? ButterSoda (talk) 03:21, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

It's not obvious to me why you think the two pages need to comment on one another. The concepts are not closely related. Idiolect is (a theoretical model of) an individual's language ability, especially the ability to speak or sign, or an individual's pattern of language output. Eye dialect is a literary technique for representing non-standard dialects via non-standard spelling. Cnilep (talk) 04:35, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
To me it's obvious that ButterSoda is referring to a possible confusion of /aɪˈdaɪəlɛkt/ and /ˈɪdiəlɛkt/. Fridek (talk) 19:21, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

First Paragraph Issues[edit]

This is a suggested edit to help this article as per the following:

The first couple sentences are too wordy, such as "as manifested by the patterns of", so that text was tightened as copyediting.

The entire second sentence referring to language production moves away from the fundamental concept of an idiolect as a concept of observable phenomena... it moves in an oblique direction towards uncertain and debatable "underlying" language processes. This line is off track for a lead-paragraph-summary of a simple concept. This concept is not addressed more in-depth in the article, so while it might be suitable to discuss, it is not suitable for the lead paragraph. It would be more fundamental to the term "idiolect", for example, to introduce that the meaning of it refers to a spectrum of meaning: as a self-contained totality of an individual's language or as a differential relative to the person's dialect. Or that it's usefulness as a term is itself questionable. These ideas could then be expanded in the article.

Per the reference to Variety_(linguistics). As per above, this is wikilinking as a substitute for a specialized definition which a general audience member would not be familiar with. It's too easy for a general audience to confuse this term with standard english. Furthermore, as a lead paragraph which summarizes a topic, the concept of "variety" should be expanded in the main article but it is not. I kept "variety" in article, but it could arguably be put back into the lead paragraph.

Finally, describing "linguists disagree.." or "mathematicians disagree..." is often a misrepresentation. Scratch any concept and surely one will eventually find disagreement. But is it disagreement or more like different perspectives, as in Variety_(linguistics)#Idiolect:

  • Scholars "disagree" on the definition of idiolect. OR
  • For scholars who view language from the perspective of linguistic competence, essentially the knowledge of language and grammar that exists in the mind of an individual language user, the idiolect is a way of referring to this specific knowledge. For scholars who regard language as a shared social practice, idiolect is more like a dialect with a speech community of one individual

The article still needs some work, for sure. I hope these changes can be seen not as an absolute final, but rather as a step in a good direction toward some stylistic and content ideas for balancing the first paragraph with the rest of the text. — Preceding unsigned comment added by CoolHandLouis (talkcontribs) 18:44, 11 March 2014‎

(@CoolHandLouis:, you may want to check out Wikipedia:BOLD, revert, discuss cycle. In a nutshell: if another editor reverts your additions, do not re-add them until discussion on the talk page reaches some consensus. The text you added at 18:32 on 11 March was the exact same text that I removed at 5:43. Oh, and please sign your talk page comments by typing ~~~~.)
To the substance: I agree with the main point suggested, that the article needs work and the descriptions should be made more easily understandable. This is, after all, an encyclopedia for general readers, not a text for students of linguistics. That said, the changes suggested some things that, I think, are inconsistent with general consensus or state of the art in linguistics. For example, the prose suggested that an individual as "a dialect" and (separately?) "an idiolect". That is simply not correct. (It also said that dialects are either regional or class-based, ignoring sociolinguistic studies of age, gender, ethnicity, or other variables, but that's a bit beyond the scope of this discussion.)
The article is at present incomplete. A better way forward may be to seek out treatments of idiolect in tertiary sources such as text books and to summarize those facts in the body of the article. Then the lead section could be written to summarize the information in the article's sections. It is important for a good article to be readable, certainly, but also factually accurate, broad in coverage, and verifiable in all specifics. Cnilep (talk) 23:46, 11 March 2014 (UTC)