Mr.Maru: I had fun at Doggy World today. How about you?
Although English does not have a strong set of rules for formal language, speakers need to be careful how they speak in different situations. Formal language is often used in official public notices, business situations, and polite conversations with strangers. Formal language has stricter grammar rules and often uses more difficult vocabulary. For example,
He is going to the dance tonight. NOT He's going to the dance tonight. (no contractions)
Vocabulary is often a little different as well.
Please refrain from smoking. (formal)
You must adhere to these guidelines. (formal)
There are numerous differences with vocabulary that can't all be listed here.
English is often spoken informally especially in the States, Canada, and Australia. Informal language is all right for friends, co-workers, host family, or service staff (at a restaurant for example). Informal language has less strict grammar rules and often has shortened sentences. For example,
Y'wanna go to the dance tonight? NOT Do you want to go to the dance tonight?
Vocabulary is often different as well.
That sucks. (informal)
That's legit/sweet/awesome. (informal)
Informal language is usually spoken more than written. Because it is spoken, informal language can be very different in every area. People in California might say 'legit', but people in New York might say 'sweet'. Informal language is also constantly changing. New words are added all the time and people stop using older words. This can make it difficult for a learner to understand the language.
Informal Language vs. Formal Language
So, when do you use informal language and when do you use formal language? This is a difficult question. There are many situations where both are completely acceptable. Also, as a language learner, people will understand if you make a few mistakes with formal and informal language. There are some guidelines though:
1) Start using formal language first. It is always the safest.
2) Do more listening when you first meet someone. Listen for the words the person you are talking to uses. Try to use those same words.
3) Don't be afraid to ask about a word. One of the best ways to learn is by asking questions.
Do you think you understand? Let's take a short quiz.
1) You are meeting your host parents in America for the first time. What is the best way to greet them?
A) Hey, what's up?
2) You are meeting your best friend from Australia for dinner. You haven't seen each other for awhile. What is the best way to greet them?
A) Long time no see. What's up?
Boss: Hey Carlos, can ya (you) help me for a sec?
What should Carlos say next?
A) Yes sir. I'll be happy to do that right away for you.
1) B) - When first meeting someone important (like your host family), it is important to use formal language.
|Last Updated on Monday, 24 May 2010 14:49|