Linguistics and Verbal Context

Context is a notion used in the language sciences (linguistics, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, pragmatics, semiotics, etc. ) in two different ways, namely as * verbal context * social context Contents[hide] * 1 Verbal context * 2 Social context * 3 Multidisciplinary theory * 4 Influence * 5 References| [edit] Verbal context Verbal context refers to surrounding text or talk of an expression (word, sentence, conversational turn, speech act, etc. ). The idea is that verbal context influences the way we understand the expression.

Hence the norm not to cite people out of context. Since much contemporary linguistics takes texts, discourses or conversations as its object of analysis, the modern study of verbal context takes place in terms of the analysis of discourse structures and their mutual relationships, for instance the coherence relation between sentences.

[edit] Social context Traditionally, in sociolinguistics, social contexts were defined in terms of objective social variables, such as those of class, gender or race.

More recently, social contexts tend to be defined in terms of the social identity being construed and displayed in text and talk by language users.

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REGISTER In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting.

For example, an English speaker may adhere more closely to prescribed grammar, pronounce words ending in -ing with a velar nasal instead of an alveolar nasal (e. g. "walking", not "walkin'"), choose more formal words (e. g. father, child vs. kid, etc. ), and refrain from using the word ain't when speaking in a formal setting, but the same person could violate all of these prescriptions in an informal setting.

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As with other types of language variation, there tends to be a spectrum of registers rather than a discrete set of obviously distinct varieties — there is a countless number of registers we could identify, with no clear boundaries.

Discourse categorisation is a complex problem, and even in the general definition of "register" given above (language variation defined by use not user), there are cases where other kinds of language variation, such as regional or age dialect, overlap. As a result of this complexity, there is far from consensus about the meanings of terms like "register", "field" or "tenor"; different writers' definitions of these terms are often in direct contradiction of each other.

Additional terms such as diatype, genre, text types, style, acrolect, mesolect and basilect among many others may be used to cover the same or similar ground.

Some prefer to restrict the domain of the term "register" to a specific vocabulary (Wardhaugh, 1986) (which one might commonly call jargon), while others argue against the use of the term altogether. These various approaches with their own "register" or set of terms and meanings fall under disciplines such as sociolinguistics, stylistics, pragmatics or systemic functional grammar. Contents[hide] * 1 History and use * 2 Register as formality scale * 3 Diatype * 4 See also * 5 References * 6 External links| [edit] History and use.

The term register was first used by the linguist Thomas Bertram Reid in 1956, and brought into general currency in the 1960s by a group of linguists who wanted to distinguish between variations in language according to the user (defined by variables such as social background, geography, sex and age), and variations according to use, "in the sense that each speaker has a range of varieties and choices between them at different times" (Halliday et al. , 1964). The focus is on the way language is used in particular situations, such as legalese or motherese, the language of a biology research lab, of a news report, or of the bedroom.

M. A. K Halliday and R. Hasan (1976) interpret 'register' as 'the linguistic features which are typically associated with a configuration of situational features - with particular values of the field, mode and tenor... '. Field for them is 'the total event, in which the text is functioning, together with the purposive activity of the speaker or writer; includes subject-matter as one of the elements'. Mode is 'the function of the text in the event, including both the channel taken by language - spoken or written, extempore or prepared, - and its genre, rhetorical mode, as narrative, didactic, persuasive, 'phatic communion', etc.

The Tenor refers to 'the type of role interaction, the set of relevant social relations, permanent and temporary, among the participants involved. ' These three values - field, mode and tenor - are thus the determining factors for the linguistic features of the text. 'The register is the set of meanings, the configuration of semantic patterns, that are typically drawn upon under the specified conditions, along with the words and structures that are used in the realization of these meanings'. Register, in the view of M. A. K. Halliday and R.

Hasan, is one of the two defining concepts of Text. 'A text is a passage of discourse which is coherent in these two regards: it is coherent with respect to the context of situation, and therefore consistent in register; and it is coherent with respect to itself, and therefore cohesive'. [edit] Register as formality scale One of the most analyzed areas where the use of language is determined by the situation is the formality scale. Writers (especially in language teaching) have often used the term "register" as shorthand for formal/informal style, although this is an aging definition.

Linguistics textbooks may use the term "tenor" instead (Halliday 1978), but increasingly prefer the term "style" — "we characterise styles as varieties of language viewed from the point of view of formality" (Trudgill, 1992) — while defining "registers" more narrowly as specialist language use related to a particular activity, such as academic jargon. There is very little agreement as to how the spectrum of formality should be divided. In one prominent model, Martin Joos (1961) describes five styles in spoken English: * Frozen: Printed unchanging language such as Biblical quotations; often contains archaisms.

Examples are the Pledge of Allegiance, wedding vows, and other "static" vocalizations that are recited in a ritualistic monotone. The wording is exactly the same every time it is spoken. * Formal: One-way participation, no interruption. Technical vocabulary; "Fuzzy semantics" or exact definitions are important. Includes introductions between strangers. * Consultative: Two-way participation. Background information is provided — prior knowledge is not assumed. "Back-channel behavior" such as "uh huh", "I see", etc. is common. Interruptions are allowed.

Examples include teacher/student, doctor/patient, expert/apprentice,... * Casual: In-group friends and acquaintances. No background information provided. Ellipsis and slang common. Interruptions common. This is common among friends in a social setting. * Intimate: Non-public. Intonation more important than wording or grammar. Private vocabulary. Also includes non-verbal messages. This is most common among family members and close friends. STYLE * Stylistics is the study and interpretation of texts from a linguistic perspective.

As a discipline it links literary criticism and linguistics, but has no autonomous domain of its own. [1][2] The preferred object of stylistic studies is literature, but not exclusively "high literature" but also other forms of written texts such as text from the domains of advertising, pop culture, politics or religion. [3] * Stylistics also attempts to establish principles capable of explaining the particular choices made by individuals and social groups in their use of language, such as socialisation, the production and reception of meaning, critical discourse analysis and literary criticism.

* Other features of stylistics include the use of dialogue, including regional accents and people’s dialects, descriptive language, the use of grammar, such as the active voice or passive voice, the distribution of sentence lengths, the use of particular language registers, etc. In addition, stylistics is a distinctive term that may be used to determine the connections between the form and effects within a particular variety of language. Therefore, stylistics looks at what is ‘going on’ within the language; what the linguistic associations are that the style of language reveals

Updated: Jul 07, 2022
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Linguistics and Verbal Context. (2016, Sep 12). Retrieved from

Linguistics and Verbal Context essay
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