Idiolect is an individual’s distinctive and unique use of language, including speech. This unique usage encompasses vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. An idiolect is the variety of language unique to an individual.–Wikipedia
I think this is one of the most important words that means things. Idiolect is a sort of important point that I will draw back to, to help make this claim on words and their meaning. A lot of communication comes from our perspectives and our knowledge, our use and mastery of the words and languages.
Idio- + -lect =
The prefix ‘Idio-‘ means ‘own’ or ‘personal’ like in the words ‘idiot’ or ‘idioglossa’. ‘Idios’ is Greek meaning ‘private person’ or ‘individual’.
The suffix ‘-lect’ means ‘language’ or ‘words’, seen in ‘dialect‘ and ‘lexicon’. The Etymology of ‘-lect’ comes from Greek ‘lexis’ meaning ‘words’.
The literal definition based on etymological Greek root could simply mean “one’s word”. The Idiolect means something greater than one’s words, as it also means the particular speech patterns, accents, dialect, meaning, connotation, innuendo, context, brevity, knowledge, intention, etc.
Idiolect is different from any two persons in the world, it can be a related to like a thumbprint for identity. For no two people have the same vernacular, vocabulary, or cryptic knowledge.
We all know that people invent secret handshakes or codes, each with their own cryptic meaning. An inside joke is something shared between close friends and the interactions, how ever limited or sparse, you have with other people.
Some people know a little bit of a foreign language, maybe from primary schooling, or other forms of education. Their idiolect would include their knowledge of a foreign language into their idiolect.
Thus, no one has the same exact idiolect, at all. Not even identical twins, because they associated with different people, and do different things, and like different things. They wouldn’t know the same exact things, words, or have the same exact perspectives; all of which affects idiolect.
If you were to go up to two people and ask them to define in their own words, words such as ‘love’, they won’t use the same exact words. Words, as concepts, mean a variety of different things. The person who reads romance novels would have a very different interpretation of love than a person who reads tragedies or satirical works.
If two people describe love using only 5 words, or synonyms, they may say something similar to this:
These two people have different views for what one word means, that’s partly because words mean things.
The meaning of words is subjective and open to interpretations, but for a word to have meaning, it must have some nuance of objective base. That is, a formal standard or form for what is and isn’t the word. If we focus on the subjective aspects, we can see how our personal experiences affect our use and mastery of the word, to include our reception of the word.
To go even further, consider how other people think in their own idiolect about the things you would say. As a part of communication is conveying your message and meaning, to understand your audience’s idiolect.
Speak in a manner that would befit people you are speaking to.
Speak their language, their vernacular.
The word idiolect, sure, it can be used in sentences as such. You might impress friends or people by helping them learn a cool new word.
The real pragmatics, is knowing the word and accounting for it. Words are concepts, and the concept of ‘idiolect’ will help for you or anyone to try and understand the different language that is within all of us.
Idiolect is for a single person, but for two or more people, we have dialect. A dialect is a smaller intersection of a language, that has regional accents and speech patterns. A dialect can really mean to be the overlap in people’s idiolect.
Where people’s idiolect matches, that’s the dialect that they use. One can argue language and such. I would also reserve the room to say that there are still many misunderstandings within the same dialect, but you could argue that the dialect isn’t the same.
It’s weird, words mean things and dialects may or may not mean what everyone thinks it means. For instance, a dialect of three people share some similarities. But between each person, their idiolect shares different things and have their own differences.
Now imagine the dialect between a lot of people. Say a village, town, city, or even a Nation. Dialects can get to the point where they’re indistinguishable from each other. Would we say that the world has a Human Dialect?
What lies beyond Human language, is a concept I will cover in the future.
The Dialect is also, like all words, a concept. So the concept of this idea of ‘shared dialect’, is how people perceive it to be. Not necessarily the real reality, more like an approximation or estimation. How we feel about it.
People will always coin and add new words to the language, so keep that in mind too. More secret codes, inside jokes, scientific research, new discoveries, and so on and so forth.
Language is an evolving thing.
It seems to me that no two persons live the same exact life, our experiences shape us, and through that shaping of us, we use words. These words become our thoughts, and our own idiosyncratic language. Thus, is born a unique individual. One with particular peculiar thoughts and words, our idiolect.
So maybe, if idiolect is a new word for you, it probably is a new word for a lot of people. I’d like to help get it out there, so we can just kindly help each other learn how awesome words are. In a kind and caring manner, of course, because
Words Mean Things