Colloquialism (also called colloquial language, everyday language, or general parlance) is the linguistic style used for casual (informal) communication. It is the most common functional style of speech, the idiom normally employed in conversation and other informal contexts.[1] Colloquialism is characterized by wide usage of interjections and other expressive devices; it makes use of non-specialist terminology, and has a rapidly changing lexicon. It can also be distinguished by its usage of formulations with incomplete logical and syntactic ordering.[2][3][4][5]

A specific instance of such language is termed a colloquialism. The most common term used in dictionaries to label such an expression is colloquial.



Colloquialism or general parlance is distinct from formal speech or formal writing.[6] It is the form of language that speakers typically use when they are relaxed and not especially self-conscious.[7] An expression is labeled colloq. for "colloquial" in dictionaries when a different expression is preferred in formal usage, but this does not mean that the colloquial expression is necessarily slang or non-standard.

Some colloquial language contains a great deal of slang, but some contains no slang at all. Slang is often used in colloquial speech, but this particular register is restricted to particular in-groups, and it is not a necessary element of colloquialism.[7] Other examples of colloquial usage in English include contractions or profanity.[7]

"Colloquial" should also be distinguished from "non-standard".[8] The difference between standard and non-standard is not necessarily connected to the difference between formal and colloquial.[9] Formal, colloquial, and vulgar language are more a matter of stylistic variation and diction, rather than of the standard and non-standard dichotomy.[10][8] The term "colloquial" is also equated with "non-standard" at times, in certain contexts and terminological conventions.[11][12]

A colloquial name or familiar name is a name or term commonly used to identify a person or thing in non-specialist language, in place of another usually more formal or technical name.[13]

In the philosophy of language, "colloquial language" is ordinary natural language, as distinct from specialized forms used in logic or other areas of philosophy.[14] In the field of logical atomism, meaning is evaluated in a different way than with more formal propositions.

Distinction from other styles


Colloquialisms are distinct from slang or jargon. Slang refers to words used only by specific social groups, such as demographics based on region, age, or socio-economic identity.[15] In contrast, jargon is most commonly used within specific occupations, industries, activities, or areas of interest. Colloquial language includes slang, along with abbreviations, contractions, idioms, turns-of-phrase, and other informal words and phrases known to most native speakers of a language or dialect.[15]

Jargon is terminology that is explicitly defined in relationship to a specific activity, profession, or group. The term refers to the language used by people who work in a particular area or who have a common interest. Similar to slang, it is shorthand used to express ideas, people, and things that are frequently discussed between members of a group. Unlike slang, it is often developed deliberately.[16] While a standard term may be given a more precise or unique usage amongst practitioners of relevant disciplines, it is often reported that jargon is a barrier to communication for those people unfamiliar with the respective field. [17]

See also



  1. ^ Bańko, Mirosław (2006). Polszczyzna na co dzień (in Polish). Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN. p. 84. ISBN 8301147938. OCLC 123970553.
  2. ^ Kwiek-Osiowska, Janina (1992). ABC... polskiej gramatyki: leksykon szkolny (in Polish). Kraków: Towarzystwo Miłośników Języka Polskiego. pp. 101–103. ISBN 8370640486. OCLC 76290254.
  3. ^ Buttler, Danuta (1982). "Miejsce języka potocznego w wśród odmian współczesnego języka polskiego". In Urbańczyk, Stanisław (ed.). Język literacki i jego warianty (in Polish). Wrocław.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  4. ^ Furdal, Antoni (1977). Urbańczyk, Stanisław (ed.). Językoznawstwo otwarte (in Polish). Opole: Opolskie Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Nauk. Wydział Języka i Literatury.
  5. ^ Buttler, Danuta (1977). "Polskie słownictwo potoczne". Poradnik Językowy (in Polish).
  6. ^ colloquial. (n.d.) Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved September 10, 2008, from
  7. ^ a b c Trask, Robert (1999). Key Concepts in Language and Linguistics. Psychology Press. pp. 27–28. ISBN 978-0-415-15742-1.
  8. ^ a b Trudgill, Peter (2000). Sociolinguistics: An Introduction to Language and Society. Penguin UK. p. 17. ISBN 9780141926308.
  9. ^ "NGS". German Department, Hull University. 1992. pp. 208–233.
  10. ^ Trudgill, Peter (1999). "Standard English: what it isn't". In Bex, T.; Watts, R.J. (eds.). Standard English: The Widening Debate. London: Routledge. pp. 117–128. Archived from the original on 21 March 2009.
  11. ^ Roger D. Hawkins; Richard Towell (2010). French Grammar and Usage. Routledge. p. x. ISBN 9780340991244.
  12. ^ Šipka, Danko (December 2016). "Exclusion Labels in Slavic Monolingual Dictionaries: Lexicographic Construal of Non-Standardness". Colloquium: New Philologies. 1 (1): 4. doi:10.23963/cnp.2016.1.1. ISSN 2520-3355.
  13. ^ "familiar, n., adj., and adv.". OED Online. Oxford University Press. 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  14. ^ Davidson, Donald (1997). "Truth and meaning". In Peter Ludlow (ed.). Readings in the Philosophy of Language. MIT Press. pp. 89–107. ISBN 978-0-262-62114-4.
  15. ^ a b Zuckermann, Ghil'ad (2003). Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1403917232.
  16. ^ Lundin, Leigh (2009-12-31). "Buzzwords– bang * splat !". Don Martin School of Software. Criminal Brief.
  17. ^ Fiset, J., Bhave, D. P., & Jha, N. (2024). The Effects of Language-Related Misunderstanding at Work. Journal of Management, 50(1), 347-379.