AN Idiolect is a word created by an individual & then used consistently, and as often as context applies, in their narrative-circle. What allows comprehension in that narrative-circle is the fact that the originator has supplied to their hearers at introduction of the new term the denotative meaning.
As the reader will appreciate, this phenomenon is most common in intimate groups; the family-circle, eg.
An example will demonstrate all of the foregoing points:
IT Is June, in 1963 or 1968.
I have been told off by our mother to clean the basement.
Naturally, I am sitting down on an upended peach-crate and reading old Reader’s Digest magazines or Donald Duck comics.
The prolonged silence excites maternal suspicion and Ma shouts down the cellarsteps:
“GOD Damn it, you little bastard! Have you got them cunodens swept up yet? Jesus Christ….”
Cunoden, pl cunodens; n — Any originally firmly-formed and consequently desiccated, individual, piece of feline excrement. In my mother’s original definition:
Dried-up pieces of catshit the little bastards kick out of their litterbox for you to step on barefooted at night so that you fall down and crack your crutch!
Cunodens, as they dry, do indeed take on the approximate diameter of marbles; and, they are about as hard; thus, when stepped upon barefooted (or, in light slippers) the effect can be painful, causing falls & injury.
Thus the denotative meaning of our idiolect-sample.
HOWEVER [And, on this point, I await the notice of other scholars — OUC], there is an additional connotative dimension of usage; and, I submit, a true item of for example family-based idiolect requires these selfsame connotative usages that are 1) shared by narrative-group members, and 2) productive of mutually understood later communications; in the main, innuendo, aspersions & cet.
The word cunoden as originated and defined by our mother ca 1963 fulfills this last requirement as shown in the following quote (said by our mother in 1980 ca, to myself and one other sibling present, about a retired county judge & probate-attorney who had insinuated himself into our family business-affairs):
“GOD Damn it, you little bastards, do you even think that that shriveled-up little [N]-cunoden is even capable of enjoying all that money that he is stealing off these God-damn free-ride farm-probates?”
SO, A true idiolecta originates as the creation of an individual dialogue-participant in an intimate circle; and, its denotative meaning is supplied at creation explicitly to the other speech-group members. Their assent is critical, and it is demonstrated by 1) their grant of understanding in future and, indeed, themselves even using, the new term; and, their assent marks the eligibility of the term for consequent connotative applications in the later ongoing narrative between group-members; and, with metaphorical contexts & in similitudinous applications.
In other words, the original referrent in our example (desiccated feline-droppings, eg) is supplemented in usage by additional, and not-infrequently, ad hoc objects:
CROOKED, Or at least adventitious, retired county judges & probate-lawyers, ie.
copyrighted by tiocuervo April 22nd, 2007