You might not have heard the word “familect” before, but chances are you’re already fluent in it. Does your family have an unusual word for the remote control that outsiders wouldn’t recognize? Do you have a nickname that everyone at the office calls you? Does your friendship group have a catchphrase that’s followed you through the years? Familect—the idiosyncratic use of language that is particular to a distinct social group, not necessarily a family—is a common linguistic phenomenon. When individuals spend a lot of time together, the language they use changes: Words born from a particular joke or incident slip into common parlance; the rules of grammar and pronunciation are bent and broken; we speak, effectively, in a kind of code. Years ago, an Italian friend and I stayed in a Milan apartment which was advertised This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Two Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 39 Half a Notion A reassessment of ambivalence. Arts & Culture Issue 34 How to Rekindle a Friendship On inching closer when you’ve grown apart. Arts & Culture Issue 24 Word: Desenrascanço Forget hygge: Uncertain times call for problem-solving the Portuguese way. Arts & Culture Issue 22 Word: Trypophobia More commonly known as the fear of holes, trypophobia is a word with both its etymology and experience rooted in the recesses of the internet. Arts & Culture Issue 17 Lean on Me Respect, admiration and trust are qualities that we look for in compatriots. The spark arising when two people bond can be unexpected and exciting. Arts & Culture Issue 16 Words with Friends Whether you’re a quiet person or a loud talker, your conversational skills can enhance your social interactions.