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Register: degrees of formality

ALT IMG 197 Register: degrees of formality A Formal and informal words Some words are formal or informal, and others are quite neutral. Is your partner (neutral) / other half (informal) not with you today? [husband/wife] Rick's a really nice bloke/guy. [man; informal] She is able to converse with everyone, which is a great gift. [have a conversation; formal] Sometimes it is possible to arrange words into sets of neutral, formal and informal words. neutral formal informal the box / (the) telly TV/television glasses spectacles specs clothes clothing/garments gear use employ/utilise try endeavour/attempt have a go/stab/bash/crack/shot at Language help Register is concerned with the overall tone of a text or conversation, and the relationship that is built between the speaker and listener, or reader and writer. It is important to speak and write in the appropriate register for the situation. B Speech and writing Some words are more associated with either spoken or written language. It is worth noting if a word has a particularly strong association with speech (S) or writing (W). C word/phrase S/W comment and example subsequently W Linking adverb: (in speech, more likely to be "later" or "afterwards") e.g. The police found some important clues. Subsequently, three people were arrested. in sum W Linking expression: means "to sum up", e.g. In sum, we may say that most, but not all, English adverbs end in -ly. whatsisname/whatsername S vague word: used when we cannot remember the name of a person, e.g. I met whatsername at the party, you know, the woman who works at the university. thingy S vague word: used as a noun, of people and things whose name one cannot remember, e.g. Give me that thingy there, yes, that bottle opener. mind you S discourse marker: used to bring attention to an important point, e.g. He's a good actor. Mind you, he should be - he went to the best drama college. now then S discourse marker: used to get people's attention when you want to ask or tell them something, e.g. Now then, is everybody's luggage here? Outdated words Some words and expressions may be correct, but may sound archaic (outdated) or old-fashioned, e.g. asylum [hospital for the mentally ill], frock [dress], wireless [radio], consumption [tuberculosis/TB], eyeglasses [glasses]. 200 2Exercises 97.1 Make the underlined words in these sentences formal or informal, as instructed. 1 2 3 4 5 6 97.2 She works in a shop that sells women's clothes. (formal) I"ve got some new spectacles. Do you like them? (informal) Did you see that documentary about Wales on TV last night? (informal) Gerry's a decent man. I wouldn't want to upset him. (informal) I spent the morning talking with the Director. (formal) Molly was there with her other half. He's a nice guy. (neutral; neutral) Complete the table using the words from the box. Do not fill the shaded boxes. shades kids endeavour neutral cop really useful ensure formal umbrella employ children informal offspring sunglasses policeman/woman police officer brolly invaluable make sure try use 97.3 Decide whether these words are more likely to be associated with everyday spoken or everyday written English. Write S or W next to the word. 1 frequently 97.4 3 begin 4 maybe 5 moreover What do you think are the present-day equivalents of these now-outdated English words? Use a dictionary if necessary. 1 apothecary 97.5 2 start 2 damsel 3 poesy 4 whither Look at these text extracts and decide which register types you would classify them in. Underline key words which help you decide the register. For example, if you think the text is "written, formal, poetic and archaic", which word(s) make you think that? Some register types: literary / poetic / non-literary academic / non-academic archaic / modern technical / non-technical spoken / written formal / informal 1 When you have created a file that is to be stored in a shared folder, or one that is located on a server, you can use the tools in the client software to restrict access to the file. 3 Sweetest love, I do not go, For weariness of thee, Nor in hope the world can show A fitter love for me; But since that I Must die at last, "tis best, To use myself in jest Thus by feigned deaths to die. 4 2 Views are certainly divided on the answers to the questions listed above; even whether it matters that pluralism and different paradigms reign in SLA is a matter of heated debate. And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. 5 Mind you there was a lot of rain in Germany over Christmas wasn't there, cos I saw the river in Bonn on the news on telly, the Rhine. Yeah, the river in Bonn. 201
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