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Register

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Register

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  1. Register Commentary Lesson 11

  2. What is it? • The degree of formality suitable for the situation or the writing required

  3. Five Registers • On a continuum, they range from intimate to oratorical (frozen). Intimate Oratorical/Frozen Formal Informal

  4. How do you know what to use? • The choice of register depends on • the situation one is in. • the “distance” (either physical or emotional) between the speaker/writer and the listener/reader.

  5. Intimate • The language used by lovers and and by adults to small children or pets • Nearly always accompanied by touch • Consists of broken fragments of words such as “mmm,” “nice,” “there’s a good boy,” and so on

  6. Casual • The language used among friends and family • There is little/no planning of what is to be said • Sentences are not always grammatical • There will be inside jokes and references • Can be accompanied, but fleetingly, by touch

  7. Consultative • The language used in class discussions, meetings, and seminars • There is more forethought and organization given to what is being said • Attention signals are asked for and given • One expects an occasional “yes” or head nod as a response • Sentences may not always be grammatically correct • Ideas may shift mid sentence • Contractions and abbreviations used regularly

  8. Deliberative • The language one would find in an essay, scholarly work, or public lecture where the lecturer is reading a prepared set of notes • No verbal attention signals are expected • The speaker will expect the audience to look at him/her • The words have been planned across sentences and paragraphs • Often uses passive voice • Less likelihood of abbreviations and contractions

  9. Oratorical or “Frozen” • Totally impersonal • Completely prepared • The language used in law courts and church ceremonies • Sometimes the words can change a person’s legal status • “I now pronounce you man and wife.”

  10. Five ways of saying it. . . • Intimate: “Sshhh!” • Casual: “Shut up!” • Consultative: “Please be quiet!” • Deliberative: “Silence, please!” • Oratorical or “Frozen”: “Silence in the court!”

  11. Using Register to Create Humor • Comedians use the wrong register to create humor. • A workman who has just been hit by a tool dropped by a fellow workman does not say, “I way, old chap, could you be a wee bit more careful?”