Variety (linguistics)

A variety of a language is a form that differs from other forms of the language systematically and coherently. "Variety" is a wider concept than "style of prose" or "style of language".

Some writers in sociolinguistics use the term "lect", apparently a back-formation from specific terms such as "dialect" and "idiolect".

Examples of varieties are:
* dialects, "i.e.," varieties spoken by "geographically defined" speech communities
** "idiom" is a term neutral to the dialect–language distinction and is used to refer to the studied communicative system (that could be called either "a dialect" or "a language") when its status with respect to this distinction is irrelevant (thus it is a synonym to "language" in the more general sense);
* sociolects, "i.e.," varieties spoken by "socially defined" speech communities
* standard language, standardized for education and public performance
* idiolects, "i.e.," a variety particular to a certain person
* registers (or diatypes), i.e. the specialised vocabulary and/or grammar of certain activities or professions
* ethnolects, for an ethnic group
* ecolects, an idiolect adopted by a household

Varieties such as dialects, idiolects, and sociolects can be distinguished not only by their vocabulary, but also by differences in grammar, phonology and prosody. For instance the tonal word accents of Scandinavian languages has differing realizations in many dialects. As another example, foreign words in different sociolects vary in their degree of adaptation to the basic phonology of the language.

Certain professional registers such as legalese show a variation in grammar from the standard language. For instance English journalists or lawyers often use grammatical moods such as "subjunctive mood" or "conditional mood", which are no longer used frequently by other speakers. Many registers are simply a specialised set of terms (see technical terminology, jargon).

It is a matter of definition whether slang and argot are to be considered included in the concept of "variety" or of "style."
Colloquialisms and idiomatic expressions are usually understood as limited to variation of lexicon, and hence of "style."

ee also

* Language localization
* List of language subsystems

External links

* [http://www.pojkfilmsklubben.org/cgi-bin/langtools/whichVariety.cgi Which Language Variety?] , a web tool that estimates if a word or phrase is typical for a certain language variety (such as British English or American English)


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Variety — may refer to: *Variety (botany), a rank in botany below that of species. *Variety (cybernetics), the number of possible states of a system or of an element of the system. *Variety (linguistics), a concept that includes for instance dialects,… …   Wikipedia

  • Linguistics — is the scientific study of language, encompassing a number of sub fields. An important topical division is between the study of language structure (grammar) and the study of meaning (semantics). Grammar encompasses morphology (the formation and… …   Wikipedia

  • linguistics — /ling gwis tiks/, n. (used with a sing. v.) the science of language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and historical linguistics. [1850 55; see LINGUISTIC, ICS] * * * Study of the nature and structure of… …   Universalium

  • Linguistics and the Book of Mormon — Part of a series on The Book of Mormon …   Wikipedia

  • Linguistics Research Center at UT Austin — The Linguistics Research Center (LRC) at the University of Texas is a center for computational linguistics research amp; development directed by Prof. Winfred Lehmann until his death in 2007, and subsequently by Dr. Jonathan Slocum. Since its… …   Wikipedia

  • variety — /vəˈraɪəti / (say vuh ruyuhtee) noun (plural varieties) 1. the state or character of being various or varied; diversity, or absence of uniformity or monotony. 2. difference or discrepancy. 3. a number of things of different kinds. 4. a kind or… …   Australian English dictionary

  • Accent (linguistics) — In linguistics, an accent is a manner of pronunciation of a language. Accents can be confused with dialects which are varieties of language differing in vocabulary and syntax as well as pronunciation. Dialects are usually spoken by a group united …   Wikipedia

  • Historical linguistics — Linguistics …   Wikipedia

  • History of linguistics — Linguistics as a study endeavors to describe and explain the human faculty of language.Historically, linguistic study was motivated by the correct description of a liturgical language, notably that of Sanskrit grammar by IAST|Pāṇini (fl. 4th… …   Wikipedia

  • List of linguistics topics — Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Someone who engages in this study is called a linguist. See also the List of basic linguistics topics, the List of phonetics topics, the List of linguists, and the List of cognitive science… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”