Diaphase variety definition and characteristics in detail

Diaphase variety

Once introduced to the subject, now we are going to discover the definition of diaphase variety so that you understand in a concrete way what we mean when we talk about this variety. As we have already mentioned, this variety is also known as “functional” and this is because, depending on the communicative context in which we find ourselves, we can use the language in one way or another. Diaphase variety definition and characteristics

It is a variety that takes into account the communication situation we are in: talking to your boss is not the same as talking to your partner; It is also not the same to speak to a child than to speak to a teenager. These changes that we make when speaking and using language depending on the moment in which we are is what is known as diaphase variety.

One of the most decisive points in this variety is the degree of formality that we give to our speech. With a boss we will use a more formal grade and with our friends a more informal grade. This is given by social aspects such as trust, familiarity, respect, and so on. It is the speakers who choose which will be the most appropriate register of the language according to the communicative situation in which they find themselves. Diaphase variety definition and characteristics

In this sense, linguistics differentiate different registers of the language that have to do with diaphasic variety. Although there is not yet a common agreement on how many records there are, in a generic way these are differentiated:

  • Cult or formal
  • Colloquial
  • Vulgar
  • Jargon

The varieties of language in sociolinguistics

At the level of sociolinguistics, the varieties of the language are studied , that is, the different uses that we give to the language depending on the social context in which we find ourselves. This context can be geographical, sociocultural, functional or historical and, depending on it, we can end up using one linguistic variant or another. The diaphase variety is one of these 4 variants that we find in the language but before knowing it in detail, we are going to discover what all the varieties are in order to better understand this concept:

  • Diaphasic or functional variety : this variety occurs when the speaker chooses different modalities of the language according to the communicative situation in which he finds himself. This is where the registers of the language come from, which are divided into colloquial, formal, familiar, technolect, and so on. Here we also find the jargon that is the variety that is used in a specific professional field.
  • Diastratic or sociocultural variety : this is what refers to the levels of the language, that is, depending on the knowledge of a speaker, he may use the language in a more or less cultured way. People with a higher level are proficient at all language levels and can adapt their language to the appropriate context; people with less knowledge and education do not master the most cultured language and, therefore, their adaptation to the communicative context is lower.
  • Diatopic or geographical variety: this is what refers to dialects and regional speech. This linguistic variety appears for geographical reasons since depending on the territory in which we are, the language may have different characteristics. characteristics
  • Diachronic or historical variety : they are the different states that the language has experienced throughout history.

Characteristics of the diaphase variety: the registers of the language

The registers of the language always depend on the communicative context in which we find ourselves. We will use an informal register when we are talking to our parents and a more educated one when we are doing an oral presentation, for example. Therefore, depending on the situation in which we find ourselves, we will choose to use one registry or another.

In general terms, linguists determine the existence of these language registers:

  • Formal register : it is the one used when we are within a more serious and sober context. This register is the one that can be used by people with more education and with a greater knowledge of the language because it requires a certain knowledge of the language and its rules. This registry is often used between people who do not know each other well or between more professional or academic contexts. It is characterized by the use of a high vocabulary, the absence of vulgarisms and both grammatical and spelling errors are avoided. This record may include the use of technicalities of the language.
  • Colloquial or informal : let’s not confuse the colloquial register with the vulgar one because it is not the same. The colloquial is that register that is used in familiar and trustworthy environments, in more relaxed environments and where there is some relationship between the speakers. This register is used by all speakers when we are in a more relaxed environment.
  • Vulgar register: this register is associated with the sociocultural level of the speaker and, in general terms, it is the register used by people with less knowledge of the language. This causes an incorrect use of the language due to the lack of knowledge in this regard. Some of the errors that this registry entails are phonic errors, constant use of fillers, use of generic words due to lack of lexicon, etc.


When we talk about jargon , we are referring to a type of language that is used in very specific communicative contexts. And it is that depending on the social group in which we find ourselves, we can find that a certain jargon is used and that, above all, it has its own lexicon and that is only understood within the social group.

There are different types of jargon such as the following:

  • Social jargons : they are those used by different groups in society and that serve to identify and differentiate themselves from the rest. A clear example is the jargon spoken by rappers, by young people, by car lovers, and so on.
  • Professionals : these are the words that are used within a specific professional field such as, for example, medical jargon, of lawyers, of programmers, etc.
  • Technological jargon : these are the new words that have appeared within the technological field and that are only understood if they are used in a communicative context that talks about technological issues. Diaphase variety definition and characteristics

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