My Personal Idiolect Essay

Whilst completing this project on spoken language, I discovered aspects of my own personal speech (also known as idiolect) and the variation between people’s language due to their culture and environment. Living in Luton for sixteen years I have had many experiences which shapes my idiolect to what it is today. Three main factors which have influenced me the most are my family, my friends and the media such as internet, music and TV. I was born and raised in Luton, England.

Both my parents were born in England and both come from irish backgrounds, however have no trace of an irish dialect. In my home, we all have the Lutonian accent except from my mum who comes across as posh due to her job as a teacher. The typical Lutonian accent is the missing pronunciation of the letter ‘T’, for example. A good example of this is the pronunciation of the word “Luton”: to most natives, it is said like “Lu’n”, or for the word “water”, we would pronouce it as “war’a”.

During primary school, I was known as a difident girl, when communicating with people I would get really nervous, i feared silence and would get some type of speakers anxiety. This made me use fillers such as ‘erm’ and ‘like’ and hesistaions. I would use these fillers to give myself a short period of time to consider on what I’m going to say. Another reason for why I used fillers was to make the person I was having a conversation with take over and finish my sentence, as I am more of a listener than a talker. As I have gotten older, I have gained more confidence. I still use fillers (as you can see in my transcript) but I use them for holding the floor, I do not want to give 5+up my turn in speaking and instead want a little extra time to think about what I’m going to say next. I would use a “filler” to signal this. I was accused of having a posh accent during primary school due to the fact i rarely use the slang that my peers used.

Words such as ‘sick’ meaning good or ‘peng’ meaning nice/beautiful were not the language i would use, due to the fact that my mum has a teaching role as an english teacher, so she has higher expectations of me and vocabulary. My mum consistently corrects my speech for instance, i usually say ‘teached’ instead of ‘taught’ which my mum would immediatly stop me in a conversation to correct me, she even corrects my punctuation or spelling mistakes in text messages. This is why in my transcript you can see I use more fillers and hesitations as I am making sure I am understandable even though I am not using developed sentences. I used the word ‘innit’at the end of my sentence when speaking to Calam, this is another way of saying ‘isn’t it’ or ‘do you agree’. I would use this word to look for reassurance that my audience (Calam) is engaged into the conversation.

It is a hidden rhetorical question, which a lot of the younger generation use. In the conversation with my dad, I changed the word ‘Innit’ to say ‘Ya know what I mean’. This is because I know most adults consider slang as bad-mannered and disrespectful. Another reason is because I wouldn’t want my dad or any adult to feel uncomfortable and confused when talking to me if I spoke in the way I do with my friends. I speak to adults politer than how i would speak to my friends as society makes young people feel inferior whereas adults are seen as the unspoken authority figure.

Contraction is another element I use, which is a shortenered form of group of words. An example of this is highlighted in the conversation with my brother when I say words such as ‘gonna’. This is a shorterned way of saying ‘going to’, that can also be classified as slang. This adds to the informality of the text. On the other hand, the choice of vocabulary I used with my mum was simple and more understandable than what I used with Calam. This is due to the age and generation difference.

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