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A colloquialism is a word, phrase or other form used in informal language. Dictionaries often display colloquial words and phrases with the abbreviation colloq. as an identifier. Colloquialism is related to, but not the same as slang. Some colloquial speech contains a great deal of slang, but some contains no slang at all. Slang is permitted in colloquial language, but it is not a necessary element. Other examples of colloquial usage in English include contractions or profanity.
Colloquial language (also known as colloquial speech or informal language) is a variety of language commonly employed in conversation or other communication in informal situations. Colloquial language is distinct from formal speech or formal writing. It is the variety of language that speakers typically use when they are relaxed and not especially self-conscious.
In the philosophy of language the term "colloquial language" refers to ordinary natural language, as distinct from specialized forms used in logic or other areas of philosophy. In the field of logical atomism, meaning is evaluated in a different way than with more formal propositions.[clarification needed]
A colloquial name or familiar name is a name or term commonly used to identify a person or thing in informal language, in place of another usually more formal or technical name.
Colloquialisms are distinct from slang or jargon. Slang refer to words used only by specific social groups, such as teenagers or soldiers. Colloquial language may include slang, but also forms such as contractions or other informal words known to most native speakers of the language.
Jargon is terminology that is especially 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. Much like slang, it is a kind of shorthand used to express ideas that are frequently discussed between members of a group, though it can also be developed deliberately using chosen terms. 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.
Colloquialisms are often geographical in nature, and used in everyday speech. Words that have a formal meaning can also have a colloquial meaning.
Auxiliary languages are sometimes assumed to lack colloquialisms, but this varies from one language to another. In Interlingua, the same standards of eligibility apply to colloquialisms as to other terms. Thus, any widely used, international colloquialism may be used in Interlingua. Expressions such as en las manos de... ("in the hands of...") and Que pasa? ("What's going on?") are not uncommon.
An example of a colloquialism and how it migrates to other areas is the Indian phrase, "Please do the needful", meaning, "Please do what is implied and/or expected". As the global workplace expands, this once regional phrase is now being used outside the area in which it originated.
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