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In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. As with other...

In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. As with other types of language variation, there tends to be a spectrum of registers rather than a discrete set of obviously distinct varieties—levels of linguistic analysis pdf registers could be identified, with no clear boundaries between them. Additional terms including diatype, genre, text types, style, acrolect, mesolect, basilect, sociolect and ethnolect among many others, may be used to cover the same or similar ground. These various approaches with their own “register”, or set of terms and meanings, fall under disciplines including sociolinguistics, stylistics, pragmatics or systemic functional grammar.


The focus is on the way language is used in particular situations, such as legalese or motherese, the language of a biology research lab, of a news report, or of the bedroom. The tenor refers to “the type of role interaction, the set of relevant social relations, permanent and temporary, among the participants involved”. The register is the set of meanings, the configuration of semantic patterns, that are typically drawn upon under the specified conditions, along with the words and structures that are used in the realization of these meanings.

Register, in the view of M. Hasan, is one of the two defining concepts of text.

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