From this unit, I have learned multiple things about the way I speak and me in general. I’ve also learned what an idiolect is and how our idiolect changes the way we think and the way we perceive things.
Depending on where we grew up, our accents, background…etc, we are able to develop our own idiolect. In this idiolect we develop, there are phrases learned or various sayings made famous only to those in a certain sociolect. To others, they may be oblivious to these sayings and reject the idea or construction of the phrase or word.
The culture and environment that surrounded me at a young age have been the key element in shaping my idiolect. The friends that were around me and the adults I had to socialize with both expected different standards of speaking. At home, my dad expected perfect or “Standard” English to be used. Any grammatical errors in my sentences or mistakes in my pronunciation were pointed out and taken note of. I was and still, am very cautious about the use of words such as “thing” or “somethingy” or any words of that sort as I was criticized for word choice or vocabulary. This also bled into my texting or emailing with my parents. There were constant situations where the Asterisk symbol was used to point out incorrect syntax even in a casual context. Now, even at this age, I am very aware of the way I talk to my parents and how I talk with my parents. I have to constantly think before I say something and make sure I get my idea across quickly but still with clear and concise wordings when in contact with others older than me.
In contrast, when I was interacting with friends, more slang and texting language were and still are used. As my friends were of similar age and native speakers of English, most typos and bad sentence patterns were looked past and they could identify the true meaning of what I was saying. I was never afraid of misunderstandings and miscommunications when I spoke with language error. In addition, more casual texting language merged together in actual communications. Abbreviations such as “lmao,” “tbh,” “rip,” and “smh” came up in regular conversations and were widely recognized even with other teenagers or kids of similar age. Types of slang like “dude,” “duh,” “aight,” gave a sense of covert prestige amongst those who spoke in alike ways. Although these two types of speaking were indistinguishable to each other, they somehow worked in harmony and impacted me in general as a person. In front of adults, I like to display the proper and polite side of myself whilst in front of friends or acquaintances of about the same age, I can speak in a more lexical and relaxed manner.
In my household, there was an accepted way of doing things. In my earlier youth, my parents were stricter about the way manner words were used, my clarity in annunciating words and paralanguage. Instead of calling a friends dad so and so’s dad or mom, I had to refer to them as Mr., Ms., or Mrs. When asking to pass something across the dining room table, I had to ask using “may you please,” rather than “can you.” I made sure to sit in a way where it seemed I was actively listening in when communicating with an adult and showed interest with eye contact to give them a sense of respect. The justification behind all this was others recognizing the good fashion I was brought up in. At a young age, even without recognizing why I talk in this certain style, I built a habit of saying these short phrases and it has now fused together with my personality in general. Even speaking without mumbling and speaking understandably gave a sense of the level of education and status one received. These slight changes in words contribute to impressing others and giving a presence of overt prestige to family friends or colleagues of my parents. In a case where one of my friends was not up to the same standard, they were looked down upon and looked as if they were raised improperly.