Difference between written language and spoken language
Characteristics of the oral language
When we go to a store to buy a gift, call a friend or say hello to a neighbor on the street, we are using the oral variant of the language. The oral language is characterized, fundamentally, by being spontaneous, dynamic and interactive ; that is to say, the communicative act that takes place has not been previously thought and is being developed at that precise moment.
Another defining element of the oral language is the predominance of a basic and, in many cases, colloquial vocabulary . When we speak, we use an informal and repetitive lexicon (muletillas and phrases are very frequent), easy to understand by our interlocutor.
Along the same lines as vocabulary, the most frequent grammar in the oral language is non-standard. Thus, it is more likely to make errors of agreement or leave the sentences halfway, since it is a spontaneous dialogue, which is being built at the moment of interaction. The use of simple sentences from a syntactic point of view is often frequent to the detriment of more complex grammatical constructions with long sentences.
Characteristics of the written language
On the other hand, when we write a letter to the newspaper, write an academic paper or send an email, we are using the written variant of the language. Written language is characterized because it requires prior planning ; that is, first we think and decide what we are going to write and to whom and, from there, we turn to a specific language. For this reason, the written language is orderly, formal and, generally, more neutral .
The recurring lexicon in the written language is a specialized vocabulary , since more technical and appropriate words are used to the subject on which it is being written. Likewise, more synonyms appear with the aim of preventing the reading of the text from being boring and repetitive and adjectives are also abundant, which are responsible for describing and detailing as accurately as possible what you want to convey.
It is important to keep in mind that the recipient only has the written text to understand the message and, therefore, it must be written in a clear, orderly and adequate manner. Therefore , the grammar is usually more elaborate , with longer and more specific phrases on the subject to be treated, since it has previously been raised.
Differences between oral language and written language
Once we have seen the specific elements of both oral and written language, we will now focus on the differences between oral and written language :
- First, the transmission medium varies , since the oral variant uses the ear canal while the written variant uses it through a visual channel. Similarly, the first uses phonetically articulated sounds and the second communicates the message through the letters.
- On the other hand, the spontaneity of the oral language allows interruptions, reformulations and immediate clarifications while the written language does not admit any change once the text has been written and has reached its recipient.
- In relation to the above, the oral language is accompanied by gestures ( nonverbal language ) and changes in intonation that are not present in the written language, whose only means of transmission is the graphic sign. For this reason, written language is more neat, organized and careful.