Language Registers PPT. In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting.
Halliday (1978) defines language registers based on three well-known parameters: field (what is happening or activities involved), tenor (participants’ status and roles), and mode (type of language and communication channels).
Audience. Different audiences require differing types of language. For example, the way people speak with their parents may differ from how they speak with their siblings. The language used likely changes when speaking with friends, and should change again when speaking with classmates at school. Similarly, when writing, people adjust the formality, tone, and vocabulary used based on who the writing is intended for.
Topic. Different areas in school and differing topics require differing styles of speech and writing. Mathematicians, scientists, historians, artists, musicians and others use differing styles when speaking about or writing about the subject and topic at hand. For example, when writing in science, students avoid the use of metaphors or unnecessary language, being as concise as possible while getting the appropriate principle, findings, descriptions, etc. across the reader.
Purpose. People should clearly understand the purpose of their writing or speech. Is it to inform, argue, persuade, describe, narrate, share cause and effect, or some other purpose? When they are clear on the purpose of writing or speech, they can more accurately choose the language register to use.
Location. It can, and often does, dictate the appropriate register to use. In a school setting, the language and formality used in the classroom differ from the language used in the hallways or on the playground. Similarly, the vocabulary and syntax used to answer a simple question versus giving a formal speech in the classroom differs.
Frozen or Static Register. At this level, language is literally “frozen” in time and form. It does not change. This type of language is often learned and repeated (rote practice).