LINGUIST List 7.886

Sum: formal and informal English

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1. shimizulet.kumamoto-u.ac.jp, Sum: formal and informal English

Message 1: Sum: formal and informal English

Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 17:32:26 +0200
From: shimizulet.kumamoto-u.ac.jp <shimizulet.kumamoto-u.ac.jp>
Subject: Sum: formal and informal English
 Hello everybody!

Thank you for your e-mails in reply for our query on formal and
informal English. My colleague has made the following summary by
taking sections from some of the responses and pasting them to a new
message. I hope you find it as helpful as the student did.

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1.
In response to your question on the 'Linguist' list, I can recommend
the book: Biber,D. (1988) 'Variation across Speech and Writing'
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
This book analyses the linguistic characteristics of 23 spoken and
written genres of English, using computational methodology.

May I recommend Douglas Biber's book "Variation across Speech and
Writing" (1988) as a way of looking at formal and informal English
that does not
assume that the differences are due to written and
spoken registers, respectively. Rather, Biber shows
that there are various underlying dimensions of
variation across spoken and written registers in English, and that
registers are more formal on some dimensions, and less formal on
others. The publisher is Cambridge University Press, I think (or
is it Oxford?)

Marie Helt
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, AZ USA

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2.
The subject areas your colleague's student needs to pursue are '
register' (as a linguistic term it means something like 'language
variation according to social situation'); 'style' may be helpful, but
is obviously much more broad. 'Register' is the technical term for
this in linguistics. An item to start with is 'The Five Clocks' by
Martin Joos.

Good luck!

Johanna Rubba Assistant Professor, Linguistics = English
Department, California Polytechnic State University = San Luis
Obispo, CA 93407 = Tel. (805)-756-
0117 E-mail: jrubbaoboe.aix.calpoly.edu = = = = = = = = = = =

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3.
I'd suggest the following:

The London-Lund corpus of spoken English : description and research /
edited
by Jan Svartvik. Lund, Sweden : Lund University Press, c1990. Series
title: Lund studies in English ; 82.

Biber, Douglas.
Dimensions of register variation : a cross-linguistic comparison /
Douglas
Biber. Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Best Wishes,

-Jane Edwards
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4.

Douglas Biber 1989. A typology of English texts'', Linguistics, 27:
3-43, and something in the 1993 or 1994 Computational Linguistics.

His work is on different varieties of language - mainly using English
as an example: he measures various computationally simple clues for
distinguishing different types of language from each other, and uses
simple multivariate statistical methods to verify differences between
varieties.

If your student is interested in computational work, a publication of
mine might be interesting:

Jussi Karlgren and Douglass Cutting. 1994.
Recognizing Text Genres with Simple Metrics Using Discriminant
Analysis'', {\it Proceedings of COLING 94}, Kyoto. (In the Computation
and Language E-Print Archive: cmp-lg/9410008).

It describes an experiment to automatically recognize different genres
in a genre-analyzed corpus.

Jussi Karlgren karlgren
cs.nyu.edu Visiting Researcher, Computer Science 715
Bwy # 704, NYU, NYC vox: (212) 998-3496 fax: (212) 995-4123
URL: http://sics.se/~jussi

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Once again thank for taking the time to help my colleague and her
student.

K. Shimizu