Saturday, August 06, 2005

Language Registers

One of the analytical tools we will use this semester is the language register, which will foster critical thinking and create inferential thinking. There are five language registers.

1. Frozen: language repeatedly used over generations whose purpose is to create community through ritual and whose speaker (audience) is participating in a ritual; the Pledge of Allegiance or Lord's Prayer are examples

2. Formal: the speaker is involved in one-way communication and is an expert as the audience listens, receives, and does not participate; the speaker's purpose is to inform or persuade and standard English is the grammar used; a speech, sermon, lecture, presentation are examples

3. Consultative: identical to formal except it involves two-way conversations and both parties are experts; networking, e-mail, or colleague conversations are examples

4. Casual: although there is two-way conversation, the speaker and audience are friends, grammar can be lax, and background information of discussion is known by both; this conversation creates social glue or entertainment; banter between friends is an example

5. Intimate: language between lovers, twins, or very "old friends" are examples

These language registers lead to writing for different purposes. For example,

Personal Writing includes self-expressive pieces, journals, diaries, letters and is defined by the casual language register because human emotion is involved

Creative Writing includes cartoons, movies, novels, poetry and may involve any language register because human imagination is involved

Academic Writing includes essays, articles, professional journals, dissertations and is defined by the formal register using formal grammar because human intellect is involved

Credit for language registers is given to and Marcy Bowman as well as Martin Joos' The Five Clocks.