This question over whether or not to merge and may be a bit trickier than some other tag merging proposals.

I took the liberty of asking over on English L&U about the differences in a range of words that could appear as tags of this kind:

What's the difference between “informal”, “colloquial”, “slang”, and “vulgar”?

Responses vary between "they are the same", "colloquial refers to speech/conversation", "colloquial means provincial/regional"

So for our tagging purposes is it most useful to think of covering the same scope as ? And if not, what kind of wording should we use in the tag wiki of each to clarify the difference?

Are the two tags currently used in such a way that would indicate a preference for one particular sense of "colloquial"?

  • For our purposes, is there anything tagged colloquial that could not also be tagged informal and vice-versa? If not, I would suggest making informal an alias of colloquial.
    – Troyen
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 1:57
  • @Troyen: I tried to analyse the questions but that seems to be something I'm not so good at. As for merging I would merge colloquial into informal since informal is part of set of tags also including formality and formal. Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 1:59
  • @Troyen: OK I tried to analyse again and it seems we use colloquial so far for when speaking without any constraints and we use informal for questions that make some implicit contrast against formal language so informal might relate to keigo and colloquial might now? Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 2:03
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    @hippietrail Well, I'll take my vote back then (in spirit, since the system won't let me). I can see informal used to specify a context (like, a non-keigo situation) and colloquial used to ask about some kind of casual/common speech or slang.
    – Troyen
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 2:06
  • @Troyen: Yes that sounds like a good way to describe the distinction. I'll leave this question for now and leave the tag wikis alone in case there are some more responses or we see the tag usage morph over time... Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 2:10
  • I'd be inclined to vote against. Beside general linguistics definition of the terms, I think we can all agree there is a difference when applied to Japanese, which might have a more graduated scale of language levels: to me, colloquial is a few degrees down from informal (which, as the name hints, might just be the absence of perfunctory formal forms, without necessarily veering into outright familiar).
    – Dave
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 6:05


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