Colloquialism

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Everyday language, everyday speech, common parlance, informal language, colloquial language, general parlance, casualism,[1] or vernacular (but this has other meanings too) is the most used variety of a language, which is usually employed in conversation or other communication in informal situations. Interestingly, there is no well established term for this in everyday speech and writing in English, and many different terms are used, even more than those listed here.

An individual example of such language is called a colloquialism or casualism. The most common term used by dictionaries to label such an expression is colloquial. Many people however misunderstand this label and confuse it with the word local because it sounds somewhat similar and because informal expressions are often only used in certain regions. (But a regionalism is not the same thing as a colloquialism, and a regionalism can be local formal speech). Much of the misunderstanding is ironically caused by the dictionary label itself being formal and not part of everyday speech. As a result, there is widespread confusion between colloquialisms and regionalisms and idioms even among dictionary users and perhaps especially among them. In addition to the problematic colloquial, Wiktionary also uses the universally understood label informal but doesn't define any difference between them.

The word colloquial by its etymology originally referred to speech as distinguished from writing, but colloquial register is fundamentally about the degree of informality or casualness rather than the medium, and some usage commentators thus prefer the term casualism.[citation needed]

Explanation[edit]

General parlance is distinct from formal speech or formal writing.[2] It is the variety of language that speakers typically use when they are relaxed and not especially self-conscious.[3] An expression is labeled colloq. for "colloquial" in dictionaries when a different expression is more common in formal speech, but this does not mean that the expression is inappropriate in informal speech or writing or that it is necessarily slang. Many people misunderstand this very common dictionary label due to the widespread misconception that colloquial means "location" or a word being "regional". This is not the case; the word root for colloquial is related to locution, not location.

Some colloquial speech contains a great deal of slang, but some contains no slang at all. Slang is permitted in colloquial language, but it is not a necessary element.[3] Other examples of colloquial usage in English include contractions or profanity.[3]

In the philosophy of language, the term "colloquial language" refers to ordinary natural language, as distinct from specialized forms used in logic or other areas of philosophy.[4] In the field of logical atomism, meaning is evaluated in a different way than with more formal propositions.

A colloquial name or familiar name is a name or term commonly used to identify a person or thing in informal language, in place of another usually more formal or technical name.[5]

Distinction from other styles[edit]

Colloquialisms are distinct from slang or jargon. Slang refers to words used only by specific social groups, such as teenagers or soldiers.[6] Colloquial language may include slang, but consists mostly of contractions or other informal words and phrases known to most native speakers of the language.[6]

Jargon is terminology that is especially defined in relationship to a specific activity, profession, or group. The term refers to the language used by people who work in a particular area or who have a common interest. Much like slang, it is a kind of shorthand used to express ideas that are frequently discussed between members of a group, though it can also be developed deliberately using chosen terms.[7] While a standard term may be given a more precise or unique usage amongst practitioners of relevant disciplines, it is often reported that jargon is a barrier to communication for those people unfamiliar with the respective field.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ngram Viewer
  2. ^ colloquial. (n.d.) Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved September 10, 2008, from Dictionary.com
  3. ^ a b c Trask, Robert (1999). Key Concepts in Language and Linguistics. Psychology Press. pp. 27–28. ISBN 978-0-415-15742-1. 
  4. ^ Davidson, Donald (1997). "Truth and meaning". In Peter Ludlow. Readings in the Philosophy of Language. MIT Press. pp. 89–107. ISBN 978-0-262-62114-4. 
  5. ^ "familiar, n., adj., and adv.". OED Online. Oxford University Press. 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-01. (Subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ a b Zuckermann, Ghil'ad (2003). Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1403917232. 
  7. ^ Lundin, Leigh (2009-12-31). "Buzzwords– bang * splat !". Don Martin School of Software. Criminal Brief. 

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