Monday, June 23, 2008

Dialects, Idiolects and Clanolects

While most people are familiar with the word dialect and have a general understanding of what constitutes a dialect, not everyone is familiar with the word idiolect. An idiolect is a variety of language distinctive to an individual person and may include word choice or vocabulary, pronunciations, grammatical patterns, use of phrases or idioms and more. What is not included specifically in the semantic parameters of either the word dialect or idiolect is a variety of language specific to an individual family and close friends. The more people I talk to and the more words and phrases I encounter, I believe there is definitely a need for a word to cover this variety of language. I propose the word clanolect.

Clanolect: A a variety of language specific to an individual family and immediate close friends. Includes distinctive vocabulary, pronunciations, grammatical patterns and phrases or idioms.

Examples from clanolects I have encoutered:

ascared - a blend of afraid and scared
klim - milk

purple pronounced as pur - pile
garage pronounced as though it rhymes with carraige

A phrase from a friend's father:
"Go take an obscornicle survey." - When the kids would ask if they could do something he would tell them to take an obcornicle survey first. (Obscornicle being an invented word)

A favorite idiom from my childhood:
"Poo on rye bread does not taste good." - Response to a person who said something with which you didn't agree or didn't like.

I'm sure there are many more examples out there and I would love to hear them. Please click on comments below to send me words or phrases from your clanolect.

1 comment:

Ken Rolph said...

How annoying. This afternoon I just made up the word clanolect but now I find you beat me to it. I was looking for a word between dialect and idiolect to describe some language that my extended family uses. Specifically we have always said bring-brang-brung. This seems to be from a Scottish dialect, but is used by our family in Australia. I've also just discovered that dove is not the official past tense of dive, except in American English. But I grew up thinking it was. Again a clan piece of language.

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