No, this does not mean the dialect of an idiot. Nor is it a reading by Idi Amin. It is also not pronounced like eye dialect, which refers to spellings that represent normal pronunciations differently – stomick, must of, stoopid – to indicate something about the speaker, usualy that they’re uneducated and would spell the word that way, even though it’s a normal way to say it. But an idiolect might engender eye dialect when transcribed, depending on the writer’s estimation of the speaker. It’s all about the speaker, anyway. Whether or not he or she is an idiot, he or she will be an idiotes, “private person” (in Greek), and perhaps or perhaps not an uneducated plebeian (a further implication in Greek and the source of our idiot), but anyway having a particular personal way of speaking, differing at least a little from everyone else in vocabulary, syntactic preferences, and pronunciations. The word, after all, comes from merging idios “private, own, peculiar” with dialect. But it’s not idiodialect! That would be a beast to deal with – you’d run a risk of getting lost partway through. So it limits itself to one tap and one lick, followed by the back-and-front lock-and-key of [kt]. And there is a visual echo of dialect – and of course of idiot – but that o is a cooler customer than an a. And there’s that d with its tandem torches, i i, guarding the gate. The clinical tinge of ect – which starts words like ectoplasm and ends words like dissect – and the echo of derelict do not make this word any friendlier. Rearrange it to get diet and coil and you are no happer, though if you cite an idol it may at least seem exotic. But this word’s object may be as friendly as you make it. It’s all yours, after all, as individually specified as your tongue and your lungs: others may emulate, but you have your own, ‘n that’s enuf fer innywun.
Be a patron!Support Sesquiotica and get extra premium content and goodies. Starts as low as $1 a month! Find out more and subscribe on Patreon.com
I am for hireI earn my living as an independent editor, writer, and educator. Find out more and contact me at jamesharbeck.com.
Buy the T-shirt (or coffee mug or hip flask)
Wear it proudly:
I operate on a NEED-TO-KNOW basis. I need to know EVERYTHING.
Buy it at cafepress.ca/sesquiphernalia
12 Gifts for Writers ebook – free download
Buy my books
Buy my books on Lulu.com:
- Confessions of a Word Lush (paperback)
- Confessions of a Word Lush (ebook)
- Songs of Love and Grammar (paperback)
- Songs of Love and Grammar (ebook)
- 12 Gifts for Writers (print edition)
You can also get them on Amazon.com. Please note that I make less than half as much per book if you buy them there, however.
Word Tasting Notes Google groupGet just the word tasting notes daily by email – join the Google Word Tasting Notes group.
- Coffice Space
- from the bookshelf
- language and linguistics
- new old words
- Poetry Minute and a Half
- pronunciation tips
- sentence tastings
- The Week
- Word Country
- word pictures
- word portraits
- word reviews
- word sommelier
- word tasting notes