Thursday, September 25, 2008

Personal Languages

When I was in fourth grade I decided I needed my own language.

This was before I had heard of Tolkien, and far before Paolini even had the idea to release his dragonish mess upon the world.

And so I invented a code, and learned it, and because it is a code, not a language, I can fluently translate, read, and speak it today. I was a smart fourth-grader, and so I realized that I would have to rearrange vowels with vowels and consonants with consonants so that words didn't end up translating to: gbvtw.

I also realized that certain letters usually found in pairs (c,h,s,w,t) would have to stay the same to preserve their pair-sounds (so that ch, sh, wh, th, etc., didn't encounter the garbled situation described above).

My boyfriend insists this is a pointless activity because this code language has no real use in the world, but I love it because not only is it a great way to fake knowing a foreign language, but if I'm ever in a public place writing, I can switch over to code and no one will know what I'm really saying. It makes it a lot easier to be unselfconscious.

I told you this story because it ties in with today's awesome word:

IDIOLECT:

An idiolect is a variety of a language unique to an individual. It is manifested by patterns of word selection and grammar, or words, phrases, idioms, or pronunciations that are unique to that individual. Every individual has an idiolect; the grouping of words and phrases is unique, rather than an individual using specific words that nobody else uses. An idiolect can easily evolve into an ecolect—a dialect variant specific to a household.

What's in your idiolect?

4 comments:

Opalyn said...

That IS awesome, and now I've got the perfect excuse for my very stange pronunciation of the Swedish word for "genre" :D

Feliza said...

You mean... there's a word for it?

AMAZING!

You have just made my week. =]

[Incidentally, I did something similar when I was in seventh grade... but it was only a written code.]

Jaden said...

HEYYYY... I did exactly the same thing! Except mine wasn't as sophisticated (I was about... six?)

Can't believe there's a word for it these day...

- Jaden

Emu2 said...

"I was a very smart fourth grader."

Clearly very modest too.