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Colloquialism or colloquial language is the linguistic style used for casual communication. It is the most common functional style of speech, the idiom normally employed in conversation and other informal contexts. [1] Colloquialism is characterized by wide usage of interjections and other expressive devices; it makes use of non-specialist terminology, and has a rapidly changing lexicon. It can also be distinguished by its usage of formulations with incomplete logical and syntactic ordering. [2] [3] [4] [5]


A specific instance of such language is termed a colloquialism. The most common term used in dictionaries to label such an expression is colloquial.


Colloquialism or general parlance is distinct from formal speech or formal writing. [6] It is the form of language that speakers typically use when they are relaxed and not especially self-conscious. [7] An expression is labeled colloq. for "colloquial" in dictionaries when a different expression is preferred in formal usage, but this does not mean that the colloquial expression is necessarily slang or non-standard.

Some colloquial language contains a great deal of slang, but some contains no slang at all. Slang is often used in colloquial speech, but this particular register is restricted to particular in-groups, and it is not a necessary element of colloquialism. [7] Other examples of colloquial usage in English include contractions or profanity. [7]

"Colloquial" should also be distinguished from "non-standard". [8] The difference between standard and non-standard is not necessarily connected to the difference between formal and colloquial. [9] Formal, colloquial, and vulgar language are more a matter of stylistic variation and diction, rather than of the standard and non-standard dichotomy. [10] [8] The term "colloquial" is however also equated with "non-standard" at times, in certain contexts and terminological conventions. [11] [12]

A colloquial name or familiar name is a name or term commonly used to identify a person or thing in non-specialist language, in place of another usually more formal or technical name. [13] (See also: common name, trivial name).

In the philosophy of language, "colloquial language" is ordinary natural language, as distinct from specialized forms used in logic or other areas of philosophy. [14] In the field of logical atomism, meaning is evaluated in a different way than with more formal propositions.

Distinction from other styles

Colloquialisms are distinct from slang or jargon. Slang refers to words used only by specific social groups, such as demographics based on region, age, or socio-economic identity. [15] In contrast, jargon is most commonly used within specific occupations, industries, activities, or areas of interest. Colloquial language includes slang, along with abbreviations, contractions, idioms, turns-of-phrase, and other informal words and phrases known to most native speakers of a language or dialect. [15]

Jargon is terminology that is explicitly 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. Similar to slang, it is shorthand used to express ideas, people, and things that are frequently discussed between members of a group. Unlike slang, it is often developed deliberately. [16] 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

Related Research Articles

The term dialect can refer to either of two distinctly different types of linguistic phenomena:

Internet slang Slang languages used by different people on the Internet

Internet slang is a non-standard or unofficial form of language used by people on the Internet to communicate to one another. An example of Internet slang is "LOL" meaning "laugh out loud". Since Internet slang is constantly changing, it is difficult to provide a standardized definition. However, it can be understood to be any type of slang that Internet users have popularized, and in many cases, have coined. Such terms often originate with the purpose of saving keystrokes or to compensate for small character limits. Many people use the same abbreviations in texting and instant messaging, and social networking websites. Acronyms, keyboard symbols, and abbreviations are common types of Internet slang. New dialects of slang, such as leet or Lolspeak, develop as ingroup internet memes rather than time savers. Many people use internet slang not only on the Internet but also face-to-face.

Polish language West Slavic language

Polish is a West Slavic language of the Lechitic group, written in Latin script. It is spoken primarily in Poland and serves as the native language of the Poles. In addition to being the official language of Poland, it is also used by Polish minorities in other countries. There are over 50 million Polish speakers around the world – it is the sixth-most-spoken language of the European Union. Polish is subdivided into regional dialects and maintains strict T-V distinction pronouns, honorifics and various forms of formalities when addressing individuals.

Slang is language of an informal register more common to spoken than written usage. It also sometimes refers to the language generally exclusive to the members of particular in-groups prefer over the common vocabulary of a standard language in order to establish group identity, exclude outsiders, or both. The word itself came about in the 18th century and has been defined in multiple ways since its conception.

Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular communicative context and may not be well understood outside that context. The context is usually a particular occupation, but any ingroup can have jargon. The main trait that distinguishes jargon from the rest of a language is special vocabulary—including some words specific to it and often different senses or meanings of words, that outgroups would tend to take in another sense—therefore misunderstanding that communication attempt. Jargon is sometimes understood as a form of technical slang and then distinguished from the official terminology used in a particular field of activity.

Patois is speech or language that is considered nonstandard, although the term is not formally defined in linguistics. As such, patois can refer to pidgins, creoles, dialects or vernaculars, but not commonly to jargon or slang, which are vocabulary-based forms of cant.

Linguistic prescription, or prescriptive grammar, is the establishment of rules defining preferred or correct usage of language. These rules may address such linguistic aspects as spelling, pronunciation, vocabulary, syntax, and semantics. Sometimes informed by linguistic purism, such normative practices often suggest that some usages are incorrect, inconsistent, illogical, lack communicative effect, or are of low aesthetic value, even in cases where such usage is more common than the prescribed usage. They may also include judgments on socially proper and politically correct language use.

In sociolinguistics, a variety, also called an isolect or lect, is a specific form of a language or language cluster. This may include languages, dialects, registers, styles, or other forms of language, as well as a standard variety. The use of the word "variety" to refer to the different forms avoids the use of the term language, which many people associate only with the standard language, and the term dialect, which is often associated with non-standard varieties thought of as less prestigious or "correct" than the standard. Linguists speak of both standard and non-standard (vernacular) varieties. "Lect" avoids the problem in ambiguous cases of deciding whether two varieties are distinct languages or dialects of a single language.

A standard language is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and usage, although occasionally the term refers to the entirety of a language that includes a standardized form as one of its varieties. Typically, the language varieties that undergo substantive standardization are the dialects associated with centers of commerce and government. By processes that linguistic anthropologists call "referential displacement" and that sociolinguists call "elaboration of function", these varieties acquire the social prestige associated with commerce and government. As a sociological effect of these processes, most users of this language come to believe that the standard language is inherently superior or consider it the linguistic baseline against which to judge other varieties of language.

A cant is the jargon or language of a group, often employed to exclude or mislead people outside the group. It may also be called a cryptolect, argot, anti-language or secret language. Each term differs slightly in meaning; their use is inconsistent.

In sociolinguistics, a sociolect is a form of language or a set of lexical items used by a socioeconomic class, a profession, an age group or other social group.

There are various lexical differences between Quebec French and Metropolitan French in France. These are distributed throughout the registers, from slang to formal usage.

In sociolinguistics, a register is a variety of language used for a particular purpose or in a particular communicative situation. For example, when speaking officially or in a public setting, an English speaker may be more likely to follow prescriptive norms for formal usage than in a casual setting, for example, by pronouncing words ending in -ing with a velar nasal instead of an alveolar nasal, choosing words that are considered more "formal", and refraining from using words considered nonstandard, such as ain't.

Shiksa is an often disparaging term for a non-Jewish woman or girl. The word, which is of Yiddish origin, has moved into English usage, mostly in North American Jewish culture. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it came into English usage in the late 19th century from the Yiddish shikse, which is an adaptation of the Hebrew word šiqṣâ, which is derived from sheqeṣ and the feminine suffix .

Sexual slang is a set of linguistic terms and phrases used to refer to sexual organs, processes, and activities; they are generally considered colloquial rather than formal or medical, and some may be seen as impolite or improper.

Buttocks Anatomical feature on the posterior of some primates

The buttocks are two rounded portions of the exterior anatomy of most mammals, located on the posterior of the pelvic region. In humans, the buttocks are located between the lower back and the perineum. They are composed of a layer of exterior skin and underlying subcutaneous fat superimposed on a left and right gluteus maximus and gluteus medius muscles. The two gluteus maximus muscles are the largest muscles in the human body. They are responsible for achieving the upright posture when the body is bent at the waist; maintaining the body in the upright posture by keeping the hip joints extended; and propelling the body forward via further leg (hip) extension when walking or running. In the seated position, the buttocks bear the weight of the upper body and take that weight off the feet.

Güey is a word in colloquial Mexican Spanish which is commonly used to refer to any person without using their name. Though more often, and originally only applied to males, it can be used equally for males and females; although women would more commonly use another slang word to refer to another unnamed female person, such as "chava" or "vieja". It is used roughly the same way "dude" is used in modern American English. It is derived from the term buey, which refers to an ox, used for meat, sacrifice, or labor. It was used to insult men as cuckolds, because oxen are slow, castrated bulls. Over time, the initial underwent a consonant mutation to a, often elided; resulting in the modern wey. The word can be used as an insult, like "fool", although, due to its extremely high frequency of use in a multitude of contexts, it has lost much of its offensive character, becoming a colloquialism.

The National Corpus of Polish is the biggest and the most important corpus of the Polish language. A linguistic corpus is a collection of texts where one can find the typical use of a single word or a phrase, as well as their meaning and grammatical function.

Usus is the common usage of linguistic units in a particular speech community. It may be used as one of the criteria of laying out prescriptive norms for standard language usage.

Euro English or European English, less commonly known as EU English, Continental English and EU Speak, is a pidgin dialect of English based on common mistranslations and the technical jargon of the European Union and the native languages of its non-native English speaking population. It is mostly used among EU staff, expatriates from EU countries, young international travellers, European diplomats, and sometimes by other Europeans that use English as a second or foreign language.


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