Tristram is the guy you'd never want to play at Scrabulous. He likes to mess with the meaning of words, make jokes and puns, and suggest words that he doesn't actually mean. He also gives each of his characters specific types of language (see "Speech and Dialogue" for more about this). A literary critic named Mikhail Bakhtin argued that one of the key features of a novel as opposed to other types of writing is that novels contain lots of different types of language, which he called "discourse." Prime example: Tristram Shandy. It's not just that Tristram's friends and family all have different types of language, but he uses ways of speaking from lots of different areas of life: religious, legal, medical, folk tales, travel narratives, and more. It's like being in the monkey cages at the zoo.
All the characters in Tristram Shandy use such different types of language that they cannot truly communicate with each other.
Language provides a key to character. In Tristram Shandy, you can tell who a person is by how he or she speaks.