English Essay On Idiolect Examples

Listening for idiolects

The particular way a person talks is called an idiolect. The idiolect of the two pilots in the sketch is a surprising mix of Received Pronunciation with Multicultural London English expression. A good exercise is to identify the idiolect of yourself and your friends. To do this you need to notice:

  • Words: what do people say when something is really good - or really bad?
  • Expressions: are there any particular phrases or expressions they are always using? What marks out their particular style of speech?
  • Style: does a speaker talk a lot or a little? Do they tend to dominate conversations (always setting the tone and subject, talking over people, moving the conversation on when they want)? Do they ask a lot of questions and bring people into the conversation?

Doing an impression of someone forces you to work out their idiolect. Think about how you would imitate your friends and perform impressions to each other. Laughter is often a form of recognition, so we laugh when we see something that is in some way true. So if you can make your friends laugh you have probably done a good impression. You need to pick up on things such as:

  • accent
  • body language
  • words
  • expressions

Back to Spoken Language Study index

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