GRAMMAR - Colloquialism

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GRAMMAR - Colloquialism

Post  Vincent Law on Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:45 pm

A colloquialism is a word, phrase, or paralanguage that is employed in conversational or informal language but not in formal speech or formal writing. Dictionaries often display colloquial words and phrases with the abbreviation colloq. as an identifier. Colloquialisms are sometimes referred to collectively as "colloquial language".

Colloquialisms include words (such as y'all, gonna, and wanna), phrases (such as old as the hills, raining cats and dogs, and dead as a doornail) and aphorisms (such as There's more than one way to skin a cat).

Generally, colloquialisms are specific to a geographical region. They are used in "everyday" conversation and, increasingly, through informal online interactions. An example of the regional specificity of colloquialisms is the term used when referring to "soft drinks". In the Upper Midwestern United States and Canada, soft drinks are called "pop", whilst in other areas, notably the Northeastern and far Western United States, they are referred to as "soda". In some areas of Scotland, the term "ginger" is used.

Words that have a formal meaning can also have a colloquial meaning. For example, "kid" can mean "young goat" in formal usage and "child" in colloquial usage.

Auxiliary languages are sometimes assumed to lack colloquialisms, but this varies from one language to another. In Interlingua, the same standards of eligibility apply to colloquialisms as to other terms. Thus, any widely-used, international colloquialism may be used in Interlingua. Expressions such as en las manos de... ("in the hands of..."), and Que pasa? ("What's going on?") are common.

An example of a colloquialism and how it migrates to other areas is the Indian phrase, "Please do the needful", meaning, "Please do what is implied and/or expected". As the global workplace expands, this once regional phrase is now being used outside the area in which it originated.

Vincent Law
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