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Homework of Stylistics- 5  

2009-10-11 12:23:02|  分类: 教师学习 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Chapter 5 Formal vs Informal Language

7) How is variation of formality indicated by choice of vocabulary?

According to the variation of formality, the choice of vocabulary plays a vital part in the use of language. In English learning, we have got a range of words with the same meaning or referent. Those synonyms will be very confusing if we can’t identify their usages. Take bye and farewell for example, both words mean the same thing, but bye is quite informal, which is more likely to be used in our daily conversation with friends. However, farewell is much formal, which often appears in formal writings.

Also, when we do the translation, we should be careful in selecting a suitable word to respond to the situation. For the following sentences,

1、李华, 男,22岁,于2009年7月毕业于中山大学。

2、李华, 男,22岁,于2009年7月失踪至今未归。

As far as we know, “man, male” mean the same thing, but male is impersonal and would be appropriate for a missing person’s bulletin while man is the most commonly used term and have a wide distribution

Of course, there are many other examples to prove that formal style is characterized by the use of formal words, mainly learned words and technical terms. While informal style is characterized by the use of informal words which include colloquialism, slang, vulgarism, ect.

We can compare the following words to sense the formality and informality of the language.

I think--- I deem, 

rooms---accommodations

old timer ---graybeard---Old man---elderly--- senior citizen

kick the bucket---die---pass away

wanna ---want to

By the way, when we make a choice of the words we use, we should stick to “co-occurrence rules”.

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