Colloquial language differs from written language

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Publsihed: Monday, 13 June, 2016 10:10 AM

Colloquial language differs from written language

Colloquial language is a variety of language that relates closely to informal language.Colloquial language is distinct from formal language. A colloquial word, phrase or expression is employed in communications in informal language. The language used in writing is an example of formal language.

1. Technique

Written language, especially intended for formal purposes, require a different approach and has little space for colloquial expressions. A written work is distinguished as containing a certain formality in the expression and tone, using ‘correct’ language without any profanity and uses the standard form of language which is understood by a wide section of people. Colloquial language, on the other hand, is a form of informal language, which allows the user to take liberties with regard to syntax and semantics.

2. Reach

Colloquial language is an informal variety of language and is specific to an area. Words and their usages differ according to regions, for instance, there are differences between American and British accents, soccer/football, color/colour respectively.Colloquial expressions might not be understood by a wider audience. Written language is more formal and caters to a wider audience, irrespective of differences in regions, nationalities and so on.

3. Parameters

Colloquial language can be identified if it demonstrates the regional dialect of the speaker, it includes contractions or profanity, or if the phrases and aphorisms are not literal usages but are widely understood within a particular region. Written language follows the standard form of a language. It adheres to all rules and principles that guide that language. For instance, words like ‘can’t’, ‘gonna’, ‘bloody’ might be acceptable as a part of colloquial use of language but unacceptable in the written language. These words will become ‘cannot’, ‘going to’. Any profane word like ‘bloody’ should be avoided in formal language.

4. Slangs

Colloquial language allows the use of slangs, which are understood within a particular group. For instance, ‘it was raining cats and dogs’ is a colloquial expression which is understood by people who are aware of this usage of ‘cats and dogs.’ In formal language, this sentence will simply be written as ‘it was raining very heavily.’ By removing the limitations of colloquial language, written language makes the language more accessible. 

5. Use

Colloquial language emerge in the conversations between friends, on the ‘streets’, in informal settings. It cannot be used in formal and official settings such as at work places and in board meetings. Written language (formal), in this sense, uses the pure form of language, correct grammar, standard vocabulary, used in formal settings, such as workplaces, board meetings, newspapers, and other formal forums. Colloquial language is more dynamic in nature, as newer words, phrases, contractions, arising out of informal settings get added to it which become popular over time. Written language, in this sense, is much more restricted as it has to follow the standard form of language.

Thus, colloquial language is different from written language. Both these expressions of language serve their own purposes.

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