I need your help.I want to do a presentation about formality in language in social context.I need a lot of information.

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There are many instances where formality is required in our culture. What I find interesting about this topic is that acceptability of formality is constantly changing. Just a few decades ago, children were expected to be formal with their parents. This is almost never true now. Business environments used to be formal, were a suit and tie were always standard. After the dot com boom, there are different standards of formality of dress and behavior in the corporate world. I do think that part of the formality question is related to class, and old money versus new money. Old money still depends and highly prizes formality.
litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There are many instances where formality is required in our culture. What I find interesting about this topic is that acceptability of formality is constantly changing. Just a few decades ago, children were expected to be formal with their parents. This is almost never true now. Business environments used to be formal, were a suit and tie were always standard. After the dot com boom, there are different standards of formality of dress and behavior in the corporate world. I do think that part of the formality question is related to class, and old money versus new money. Old money still depends on and highly prizes formality.
dalepowell1962's profile pic

dalepowell1962 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

This is a multi-faceted subject.  You might begin with some of the lack of formality in texting--as well as the abbreviations like LOL, BFF or any of the host of others.  Perhaps you want to discuss who it is appropriate to be informal with and where is it taboo.  You might also deal with dialect differences.  Where I live (in southern Ohio), it is very common for folks to leave the "g" of an -ing ending (ie. Going becomes goin'-walking becomes walkin')- yet it is important for people to practice standard English in a formal or even a semi-formal setting.

Other social contexts such as casual friendships are dependent on the relative age and age differences of those involved.  There is also a general difference in communications between the sexes.

I have posted a link to Purdue University's writing site with a specific link to formal language.  I use this site often and I think you will find it helpful.

kc4u's profile pic

kc4u | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

'Formality' in language is very close to other forms of behaviour(non-linguistic). It implies:

1. Extreme preparedness;

2. Consciousness of approach;

3. Selectiveness of manner;

4. Studied logicality;

5. Strong purposiveness.

Whenever you are using language formally, you are very careful about your vocabulary, trying to avoid all sorts of slang and colloquial expressions. You will generally abide by all the sanctities of grammar, the tit-bits of construction, the purity of the idiomatic. Your sentences will be logically connected with a systematic build-up. You will maintain all possible care to sound solemn, decent, rational and decorous.

Think the manner in which you chat with your friends; you are always funny, spontaneous, ungrammatical, moody, colloquial, showing a deliberate insolence with your vocabulary, style and tone. Now think how things change when you are talking to your teacher, or the priest, or your lawyer. Had you ever been at a court of law as the judge delivers his verdict, you could have felt what formality in language might be.

A large part of our social behaviour is linguistic, sometimes formal, and at other times informal. Informal is casual, often audacious and even shocking. Formal language implies obedience to social/behaviorial norms: occasion, subject, purpose, relationship between the speaker and the hearer etc. guiding the form of language.

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