Language and Media

II. Register

Lexis or vocabulary

Vocabulary use tending towards the informal, colloquial.

  • slang, e.g. “bloody”, “cops”, “cigs”, “hoodies”, “hubbie” (The Sun, Nov. 21, 2007)
  • idioms, e.g. “Red alerts make us all blue.” (The Sun, Nov. 21, 2007)
  • clichés, e.g. “Guards Party Ban…Because They’re Men” (The Sun, Nov. 21, 2007)
  • proverbs
  • catch-words, e.g. “Killer Jailbreak Plot Fear”; “Killing”; “Paedos”; “Agony” Bomber” “House of Horrors”; “TIMEBOMB”; “drug hell”; “Suicide”; “Mental Disorder”; “Prostitutes”, “Hookers”; (The Sun, Nov. 21, 2007)

used to cue the illusion of oral mode

Note: I am mostly refering to The Sun's November 21 edition of this year. Many more examples could be extracted from this single issue!

Naming and address

Use of

  • first names, e.g. "Charles" (Prince Charles), "Tony" (Tony Blair), "Bill" (Bill Clinton), Gordon (Gordon Brown), "Liam" (Liam Gallagher),...
  • diminuitives, e.g. "Di" (Princess Diana), "Maggie" (Margret Thatcher), "Winnie" (Winnie Mandela);.. (see also "Angie" (Angela Merkel) and "Sarko" (Nicolas Sarkozy)in G and F respectively)
  • nicknames, e.g. "Rambo Ronnie" (Ronald Reagan), "le Worm" (Jacques Chirac), "Iron Frau" (Angela Merkel), "Urs hole" (Urs Meier), Jacko (Michael Jackson),...

to connote informality and intimacy of face-to-face discourse

Note: In the case of diminuitives, it is generally agreed upon that it is predominantly women who are referred to in this peculiar fashion, and that, as far as gender is concerned, the discriminitive touch of this form of address is not coincidental (see Fowler pp. 91-105). In comparison, nicknames fulfil their discriminative function in a way of rather overt hostility.