LE1028 Texts in Action Assignment 1
According to Suzanne Romaine (2000:21) ‘register is typically concerned with variation in language conditioned by uses… and involves consideration of the situation or context of use, the purpose, subject matter and content of the message, and the relationship between participants.’ Consequently, my interpretation is that register can be - but is not solely - identified through linguistic choices and style. It is dependent upon the linguistic context and social situation surrounding the text- which can be identified as genre. Therefore, register is the language variety which results from the genre.
Genre differs from register in that ...view middle of the document...
The rapid development of technology has brought the use of virtual texts to the forefront of how we communicate and many informal registers I encountered during data collection emerged from Text Messaging and Social Networking [see Item 2]. Much of the language that I read and wrote virtually required a much larger pragmatic understanding because of the specialised vocabulary including abbreviations and acronyms as well as typical Twitter conventions i.e. hash tag followed by a key word to sum up a Tweet.
In contrast to the various registers I encountered, I did not change my language register at all throughout the 24 hour period and produced only an informal register in spoken, written and virtual text. The results would have differed had I been in alternative social surroundings for example, presenting a PowerPoint to my seminar group or had I emailed a lecturer in which cases I would have adapted my register to a formal style.
Similarly, I heard and listened to a wider range of dialects in comparison to dialects I produced. Generally, dialect is associated with geographic location. This may be any pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary which deviates from “standard language” i.e. Received Pronunciation. Less commonly referred to is social dialect or sociolect ‘which are language varieties associated with a particular demographic group e.g. Women vs. men, or different social classes.’ (Biber, Conrad, 2009: 11). In which case a sociolinguist may be able to identify my gender, ethnicity or social class through examining the linguist terms I use in speech.
In my research I focused on geographical dialect and as the utterances I collected were all personal between those I share a common discourse with, my speech was spontaneous and typical to my natural, informal style. This is evident from my results [Item 3] as I produced only one dialect which, geographically, is associated with Birmingham - and more generally - the West Midlands. Upon travelling to Manchester during the 24 hour period, I was able to come into contact with a larger range of dialects including a Northern dialect. Not only was the accent phonologically very different to my own but also characterised by vocabulary not familiar to my geographic location or social group for example, “nowt” used for the noun “nothing” and “dead” used instead of the adjective “very”.
It is interesting for me to identify just how important register can be in language. Register is functionally motivated so can easily be adapted to serve a different communicative purposes whereas dialect comes naturally to a speaker. An example of this may be a primary school teacher downwardly converging their speech style to accommodate a class of young children. The teacher will follow conventions of Child Directed Speech and slow down their speech, teach in present tense and change intonation, but...