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Should the tag be used for questions about other 'lects?

  • Sociolects ("is this proper for the boardroom/street/etc.", "how do chavs say _")
  • Ethnolects ("what terms do _ use differently in British English")
  • Idiolects ("I say this word funny", "Was _ actually written by Shakespeare")
  • *Sexlect ('wa'/'no'/etc. in Japanese)
  • etc.
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  • 'sociolect' sounds like 'register' to me an already well-defined term, so dialect would be inapprpriate.
  • 'ethnolect' sounds like dialect, so appropriate to use the dialect tag (but the semantic difference between sociolect and ethnolect is dubious)
  • 'idiolect' is a reasonable term to use in a question or answer, but if a question would warrant such a tag, that is, the question is about a particular idiolect ('my cousin always says X, but nobody else I know does') then that would be ultra localized and so an inappropriate and closable question.
  • whatever the existing term for 'sexlect' is...I don't know if that is considered by linguists to be register, dialect, or something else (dialect just doesn't seem right). Anyway, as far as I do know, nothing grammatical like that occurs in English. Of course, sex differences do occur in vocabulary in English. I'd think it'd be better to tag sex differences in English with 'sex difference' rather than a neologism.

So in sum,

  • sociolect - no (use 'register')
  • ethnolect - yes (but 'register' will work)
  • idioloect - no (and there shouldn't be questions about particular idiolects
  • sexolect - no ('sex-difference' sounds better)
  • There are a few nascent features of *sexlect in English ("like" and final /i/ in names and some other words), but surely not enough for a dedicated tag. I like your tag analysis in general. – Charles May 6 '11 at 5:47
  • Oh, and colors. That could make for a good question. – Charles May 6 '11 at 14:55
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Sociolect is basically a word for "social dialect" and ethnolect is a dialect predominantly used within a certain ethnic group. These are types of dialects.

I have never heard of the term "sexlect", and any papers I have read dealing with gender-specific speech patterns have referred to them as dialects (or speech patterns). I would mark such questions with , myself (though not only with that tag, of course).

An idiolect is not a dialect; it is something less than a dialect. Some people use the term very strictly to refer only to a single individual, and some use it slightly more broadly to refer to, say, the way a husband and wife speak to each other. While there may be a relevant question dealing with idiolects, the topic is likely to be too localized — the examples you give for idiolect would probably be closed (I think).

  • I have never seen "sexlect" either, thus my *. So your answer is basically: questions relating to sociolects, ethnolects, and gender-specific speech patterns should be marked [dialect] and questions relating to idiolects should not. Right? – Charles May 5 '11 at 20:28
  • @Charles: Yes. That's my take on it. – Kosmonaut May 5 '11 at 20:32

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