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What is formal language?

 

Definition
 

Formal language is language use characterized by

 
  • speech before a passive audience
  • the assumption of a role by the speaker
  • the use of artificial means of communication such as writing or electronics, and
  • the use of a “high” dialect or language in preference to a “low” one.
Examples (English)
 

Here are some examples of domains where formal language takes place:

 
  • A sermon
  • A political speech
  • A lecture
  • A letter
  • Poetry
 
Source:

Ferguson 1959 329

Generic
  Formal is a kind of
 
Sources
 

Crystal 1985 125

 

Britto 1986 298, 315–316

 

Fasold 1984 35

 

Ferguson 1959 329


Context for this page:

Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

Page content last modified: 5 January 2004

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