Language and Linguistics

Language levels with Features of colloquial language

Language levels

Language levels , also called speech levels, are the different registers in which language can be used by speakers, according to the communicative context, the level of education of the speakers, the interaction with different interlocutors,…

There are two main levels of language: cultured and colloquial.

The cultured register , called cultured norm, formal language and formal register, is used in written language, at school and at work, in social communication, in situations that require greater seriousness, when there is no familiarity between the communication interlocutors. 

The colloquial register , also called colloquial language, informal language and popular language, is the language spoken in everyday situations of communication and in relaxed conversations between family, friends, acquaintances, neighbors,…,

Features of colloquial language

  • Used in informal or family situations;
  • It is a spoken language, spontaneous and carefree;
  • Responds to immediate day-to-day communication needs;
  • Accepts the existence of some linguistic inaccuracies;
  • There is greater relaxation with regard to grammatical rules;
  • It presents a simple vocabulary and popular expressions;
  • There is the use of slang and non-dictionary words;
  • Uses simple syntactic structures;
  • Allows the speaker freedom of expression;
  • It is subject to regional, cultural and social variations.

Characteristics of the cultural norm

  • Used in formal situations, mainly in writing;
  • It is a planned, careful and elaborate language;
  • Prioritizes grammatical correction;
  • It presents a rich and diversified vocabulary;
  • Uses complex syntactic structures;
  • Taught in school and used in the media.

Other language levels

In addition to this main division between cultured language and colloquial language, there are other classifications of language levels, according to different authors, such as:

  • regional level;
  • vulgar level;
  • technical or professional level;
  • literary or artistic level.

Level is not hierarchy

Although classified into levels, it does not mean that there is a hierarchy between formal and informal language, that is, one cannot be considered better or more important than the other.

A speaker who knows how to adapt his speech to different communicative situations and different interlocutors will necessarily use cultured language and colloquial language in his daily life, as complementary languages. This is an example of situational variation, that is, linguistic variation depending on the context.

There are other linguistic variations that occur according to geographic, temporal and social changes, such as regional variations, historical variations and social variations.

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