Human beings from time immemorial have always communicated through language with each other across time, space and contexts. These times, spaces and contexts are created by a mix of particular combinations of people and a communication situation. For example interpersonal communication addresses communication between two people, group communication deals with groups, organisational communication addresses organisations, mass communication encompasses messages broadcast usually electronically to mass audiences, intercultural communication looks at communication among people of different cultures and gender communication focuses on communication between the sexes. All these contexts can be narrowed down into two main categories, namely, formal and informal communication.
Considering the above, we can deduce that the delivery of communication through language and tone can vary in order to suit a specific context and achieve the desired results. In a formal context, the communicator is quite often inclined towards straightforward and sophisticated usage of language. On the other hand, in an informal context, the communicator can rarely be seen as off the mark if colloquial language is used. A perfect example of colloquial language is e.g., ‘give me a hand’=’assist me'(it doesn’t translate into the literal act of throwing your hand at someone)
Colloquial language is the art of delivering a message in a more informal, personable and intimate manner, oftentimes with the use of metaphors. Both in spoken and written language, colloquialism is known to help define the communicators’ character and relationship with others. The individualistic touch of colloquialism has a unique effect on the audience because it feels more engaging due to the conversational feel. Colloquialism also conveys irony, humour and other layers of meaning in language. Colloquialism has also been credited with never allowing language to be static and stale but rather continuously evolving.
However, it is also important to note that colloquialism if not well used can result in very negative consequences. If not wisely used, colloquialism has the ability to invoke a very strong negative social, political and emotional charge from the audience. An example of negative colloquial expression is e.g,’I have noticed that you are quite vocal’ instead of saying you have been an active contributor.
Since the world is yet to see an official language police force, the onus therefore is on the communicator to exercise caution in order to properly use colloquialism, get the desired communication outcomes and avoid provoking negative audience reaction.