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H.L. Mencken
English is a big language

A recent article at Slate by Gretchen McCulloch, "Why Do You Think You're Right About Language? You're Not," prompts some fruitful thinking about idiolects.  An idiolect is "not just vocabulary; it's everything from how we pronounce certain words to how we put them together to what we imagine they mean." It's the whole set of associations from regional origins, family habits of language, education, reading, and jobs.  And English, the macro language, is the sum total of all our respective idiolects; it's crowdsourced. As Ms. McCulloch says, "Your sense of English as a whole is really an abstract combination of all of...