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socio- +‎ -lect, by analogy with dialect, idiolect, etc.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈsəʊ.ʃɪ.ə(ʊ).lɛkt/, /-sɪ-/, /ˈsəʊ.ʃə(ʊ).lɛkt/
    • (file)
  • (General American) IPA(key): /ˈsoʊ.ʃi.əˌlɛkt/, /-si-/, /ˈsoʊ.ʃəˌlɛkt/
  • Hyphenation: so‧ci‧o‧lect


sociolect (plural sociolects)

  1. (sociolinguistics) The variant of language used by a social group such as a socioeconomic class, an ethnic group, an age group, etc.
    • 1984, Yu[ri] Suvaryan; V[aleri] Mirzoyan; R[uben] Hayrapetyan, “Language and Speech in the System of Public Administration”, in Public Administration: Theory and History, Yerevan, Armenia: “Gitutuin” Publishing House of the NAS RA [National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia], →ISBN, page 277:
      The French literary critic Roland Barthes has paid special attention to the relationship between the individual language ("idiolect") and the language of a collective of speech ("sociolect"). Public life is characterized by "social multilingualism." There are a number of languages, such as the language of the church, the language of the prison, the language of the children, the language of the ruling elite, and other "social languages."
    • 1984, John B[rookshire] Thompson, “Theories of Ideology and Methods of Discourse Analysis: Towards a Framework for the Analysis of Ideology”, in Studies in the Theory of Ideology, Berkeley; Los Angeles, Calif.: University of California Press, →ISBN, page 89:
      [] I believe that it is mistaken to maintain that the language of ideology is a discrete ‘sociolect’, a sort of meta-language which draws upon but remains distinct from the language of everyday life.
    • 1999, Pavol Odaloš, “Mi a szociolektus és mi a szleng? [What is a Sociolect and what is Slang?]”, in Anna Fenyvesi, Tamás Kis, and Judit Szilvia Várnai, editors, Mi a szleng? Tanulmányok a szleng fogalmáról [What is Slang? Studies on the Concept of Slang] (Szlengkutatás [Slang Research]; 3), Debrecen, Hungary: Kossuth Egyetemi Kiadó [Kossuth University Press], →ISBN, ISSN 1417-7730, English summary, page 50:
      This paper uses sociolect as a cover term for slang, technical jargon (professionalisms), and argot. From the point of view of its secret nature, two kinds of sociolects are distinguished: slang and technical jargon on the one hand, and argot on the other, with the difference being in the presence or lack of an intention of secrecy.
    • 2014, Peter Wuteh Vakunta, “Literary Camfranglais in Mercédès Fouda’s Je parle camerounais : pour un renouveau francofaune”, in Camfranglais: The Making of a New Language in Cameroonian Literature, Mankon, Bamenda, Cameroon: Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group, →ISBN, page 82, footnote 26:
      In sociolinguistics, a sociolect or social dialect is a variety of language (a register) associated with a social group such as a socioeconomic class, an ethnic group (precisely termed ethnolect), an age group, etc. Sociolects involve both passive acquisition of particular communicative practices through association with a local community, as well as active learning and choice among speech or writing forms to demonstrate identification with particular grounds. Sociolinguists define a sociolect by examining the social distribution of specific linguistic terms.



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sociolect n (plural sociolecten, diminutive sociolectje n)

  1. sociolect