Linguistic Variation in the Situational Context

This section is concerned with the influence of the speech situation on linguistic variation. The character of the speech situation can affect the way language is applied within a situation (see Central Terminology -> Speech Situation).

(1) Speakers have to decide what can be said to whom in a particular social context and in what way this can be said. An approach to this kind of situational variation is represented by Brown and Levinsonís Politeness Theory. Just click on the link below and you will be redirected to the respective section on politeness in the Pragmatics module.

Linguistic politeness: Brown and Levinsonís Politeness Theory

(2) An important factor in this connection is the speakerís orientation or attitude towards the social context in general and towards the addressee and his or her language in particular. A theory considering the factor Ďorientationí is Accommodation Theory.

Linguistic Accommodation: Accommodation Theory

(3) Textual variation shows that different registers (appropriate for use in particular social situations) are characterized by register-specific linguistic features Ė so-called register markers - which distinguish one register from another. Switching between registers includes switching between these register markers.

Textual Variation: Registers, Jargon, Slang