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What is formal language?



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

Ferguson 1959 329

  Formal is a kind of

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.]

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