If you thought idiolect and idiot meant the same thing, you’re completely wrong, but you are not alone. I first thought something along those lines.
A person’s idiolect is their own personal way of speaking. It consists of the words and type of language they choose to speak. There are specific words and phrases that people use that become associated with them.
This post will basically explain my idiolect and how and where I have been influenced in the way I speak. I recently did a project on the study of English Language and the way we speak (especially concerning the British youth in the UK) and I thought it might be an interesting thing for you all to read. Obviously, I live in London, England so some of you more international readers may not fully understand all of this. But it’s been made to entertain you so don’t take everything too seriously.
Okay. First of all, English is the only language I am fluent in. My background is Nigerian and I can understand a few words in the Nigerian languages of Igbo and Yoruba but no where near as well as English. I learnt a bit of German and French but again, I am not fluent. That’s so embarrassing to admit.
Generally, I believe I speak correct standard English but when I’m with my friends and peers, I may use a few ‘mainstream’ slang words, such as ‘deep’, ‘butters’, ‘dead’, ‘safe’.. etc. However, I tend to not speak slang per se, but use regular words and change them to have slightly different meanings. For example; I say awkward a lot, often shorten it to awks. This means an uncomfortable situation or someone who makes you uncomfortable by the way they act. I also use it to mean ‘my bad’, like when I realise I got something or did something wrong.
Here are a few specific words I use and examples, with a brief funny translation as to what they mean (you’re allowed to laugh here, they’re meant to be funny)
- Awkward: “I am way too awkward” – I always create uncomfortable situations for myself, unintentionally.
- Forever: “Boys in suits are forever winning.” – Males who dress smartly tend to look more attractive than males who do not.
- Oh My Days (OMDs): “Oh my days, she said that?” – I cannot believe she said that, but I’ll ask anyway just to make sure.
- Shambles/Shambolic: “I’m just looking shambolic today.” – I look so horrible today that it’s comical.
- Ridiculous: “Sometimes, I am so cocky it’s actually ridiculous.” – Most of the time, I act cocky and it doesn’t really make sense because I’m actually not.
- Genuinely: “I genuinely used to have a phobia of planes.” - I’m not lying, I used to have a phobia of planes. Honest. I am not exaggerating.
- Bloody: “And they didn’t bloody call me.” – I’m annoyed that they didn’t call me but I’m too much of a good Christian girl to swear so I’ll express my anger through the word Bloody.
- Actually: “I actually love going to both a sixth form and a college.” – I’m surprised, I didn’t think I would like it since I was forced to do both but I actually like it.
- Freaking: “I’m so freaking hungry!” – I’m in need of food but I’d rather sit here and complain, because that seems easier.
- Really: “I don’t take myself too seriously, so you really shouldn’t.” – I don’t mind being a fool so you shouldn’t either.
- Though: “That girl’s fringe, though.” - I like that girls hair so much I can’t finish my sentence.
- Basically: “Basically, I start every sentence with basically.” – Basically, I don’t know what to say but saying basically gives me time to think.
- Literally: “I literally love her vocals.” - I love her singing so much, I’m practically in love with them.
- Randomly: “I start randomly singing and dancing as I walk down the street.” - Whilst walking, I forget where I am and start singing. Then I look around, realise where I am and get embarrassed and stop.
- Generally: “I’m generally a nice person.” - Most of the time, I’m a nice person. But I have my moments, so be scared.
In recent years, I’ve noticed as I grow up that girls have become more intimate, to an extent. It’s more common for girls to call their friends ‘babe’ ‘sweetie’ or ‘hun’ or something that used to be what a boyfriend or love interest used to say. Here are a few words I call my friends, girls or boys, but mostly girls. I usually use these to greet someone or start a text/tweet.
Another influence in the development of language and specifically how I speak, is the rise of social media, especially Twitter and instant messaging. I’ve started saying specific words that I picked up from twitter. Sociolect refers to how a specific social group talk for example, young college students. There is a sociolect specific to twitter, that many twitter users use.
That was a longish one. What I am saying is, overall, I have a specific was I speak that people do tend to recognise. The other day, I called someone ridiculous and they were slightly offended until I explained that it’s part of my idiolect. When I call you ridiculous it means you’re really random and funny because you’re generally unpredictable. So, it’s a good thing.
I hope this was interesting. I think this post was extremely needed so that you can fully understand all my other post.