Nobody's Perfect Dept. - lects

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Dec 15 18:06:44 UTC 2006

"Dialect" does not mean "two lects."  Myself, I try to check facts before screwing them up in transmission and embarassing myself anyway.


Tom Zurinskas <truespel at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Tom Zurinskas
Subject: Re: Nobody's Perfect Dept. - lects

If the term "idiolect" is a proposed word to summarize all dialects of a
language, then there's no need for the word because there is nothing to
compare it to. You can't say one idiolect of English compared to another.
Basically it's just another language, like English in all it's dialects.

Actually "dialect" means “two lects (two ways of speaking), focusing on the
difference between two monolects. You can’t have a dialect unless you have
two ways of speaking that are different in some way. If there weren’t at
least two, the term, dialect, would be unnecessary. And if there were only
one way of speaking, there would be no need for the term monolect, because
there’s no other lect to differentiate one monolect from another. So
perhaps that’s why the term monolect never was created.

The first monolect was spoken by Adam and Eve and the snake. The snake
might have had a dialect however, being a snake.

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL4+
See and the 4 truespel books at

>From: Beverly Flanigan
>Reply-To: American Dialect Society
>Subject: Re: Nobody's Perfect Dept.
>Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2006 10:11:30 -0500
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender: American Dialect Society
>Poster: Beverly Flanigan
>Subject: Re: Nobody's Perfect Dept.
>Here's another gem, from a thesis I'm reading, quoting one Benedict
>Anderson, who writes on "imagined communities" and the rise of "print
>capitalism": The Reformation and the use of vernaculars allowed
>"idiolects, i.e. groupings of vernacular dialects, to be assembled, within
>definite limits, into print-languages far fewer in number" (1991, p.
>43). Footnote (Anderson's or my student's?): "An idiolect is the entire
>repertoire of lects (i.e. language varieties) for any given language."
>At 08:50 AM 12/15/2006, you wrote:
> > From a professional explication for undergraduates of cultural-theory
> >
> > "Phoneme... A phoneme is the smallest significant unit in language;
> > thus, both 'a" and 'an' are phonemes, but 'n' is not."
> >
> > --Ross C. Murfin, "Glossary of Theoretical and Critical Terms," in
> > Daniel R. Schwarz, ed. _Joseph Conrad: The Secret Sharer...with
> > Biographical and Historical Contexts...and Essays from Five Contemporary
> > critical Perspectives_ (Boston: Bedford Books, 1997), p. 264.
> >
> >
> >
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