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Colloquialism is an informal use of speech or writing (Agnes 288). Colloquialism is derived from Latin col+loqui, which means to speak together or converse. It is suggested by Bernstein that casual is a better word because it is more familiar and relaxed (Bremner 175). Colloquialisms are loosely used conversational words which may include slang and/or aphorisms. These words are generally found being used in certain geographical regions in which the people are comfortable with others in that same area. Gleason states that they are also generally used in a person's writing. It takes part in keeping the written and spoken language close together (374).

We use colloquial words in our everyday conversations. Mark Twain mastered colloquial speech by knowing when to use it and when not to (Glencoe 305). In Twain's "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County," he uses examples of colloquial language. An example includes the dialogue "'What might it be that you've got in the box?' And Smiley says, sorter indifferent like, 'it might be a parrot, or it might be a canary, maybe, but it ain't-it's only just a frog'"(Glencoe 300).

Literary Terms

Works Cited

  • Agnes, Michael. Webster's New World College Dictionary. 4th ed. USA:Macmillan, 1999.
  • Glencoe. American Literature. CA:McGraw-Hill, 1989.
  • Gleason, H.A. Jr. Linguistics and English Grammar. USA: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc., 1985.
  • Bremner, John B. Words on Words. NY:Columbia University Press, 1980.