Stylistic refers to the study of Language variations and styles depending on the social situation or context, whether is written or spoken. Language always varies.

Stylistic aims at studying Language features or habits/characteristics and why such features are used where they are used i.e. in the newspapers, Religion, Advertisements etc.


Stylistic is the study of Language variations distinguished according to the use or users of different social situations. It deals with how one can identify different texts given depending on the markable features present which are unique to a particular kind of writing.


Variety; is a variation of the same Language which may be determined by historical, geographical or social factors.

Note; variety is pre-determined i.e. the speaker is not trying to make the most suitable choice of the alternatives the Language offers, but finds himself/herself speaking a variety determined by geographical, historical or social factors.

A person who speaks non-standard English because he/she is uneducated cannot be said to be using a style but is speaking a variety pre-determined by his/her social position.

Examples of variety:

American English (Am. E) and British English (Br. E) are two varieties of the English Language.

There are varieties of Language, namely;

  1. Dialect
  2. Register


Dialect is a variety of Language according to user. It is usually brought about by distance, on the sense that, a speaker in one geographical location may differ from a speaker elsewhere in terms of phonology, vocabulary and in some few cases structure. So we can say Dialect shows the origin of the speaker


The Language used can vary depending on the following factors:

I. Geographical extent/Regional dialect

It depends on the place where a user of such Language comes from. The people in one geographical area or location will have some features in a Language different from those of another geographical location, speaking the same Language.


Regional dialect are found at a National level and at a Broad level

At a National level; for instance, the dialect of English Language in Britain (British English) are Welsh, BBC, Scottish and cockney. RAJMPELLA

At a Broad level; for instance the dialects of English Language are British English, American English, Australian English, Nigerian English, South African English as well as other dialects like different Languages like Kiswahili in Tanzania has also many dialects in it like kiunguja, kimvita, kipemba etc.

II. Social stratification/social division/social dialect

Social stratification means social classes; this situation can happen depending on the educational background as well as economic set up.

Here the speakers can be grouped into different classes namely; lower class, middle class and the upper class.

The lower class; Language variety is non-standard e.g. speakers use double negation i.e. I haven’t done nothing, instead of I haven’t done anything.

The middle class; features in the middle class, variety are; they try to keep Language, they tend to use Euphemism e.g. bathroom to mean toilet.

The upper class; they use standard Language (formal Language).

In this class, people are educated who master the grammar of a specific Language. They adhere to the grammatical rules i.e. phonological, semantic, syntactical and lexical features.

III. Chronological/ Historical/Temporal dialect

Language is not static in real; it is in a dynamic state by nature, everywhere in the World.

Question; why a Language is not static? State

It is so because Language changes with time

Some Languages change faster while others change slowly.

Written Language changes slowly compared to non-written (spoken) Language which changes faster (remarkably).

For example, the old English spoken in the 18th century has changed faster (remarkably) in pronunciation, lexis, meaning etc. The same applied to Kiswahili as well as other Languages.

IV. Idiolect/individuality

Is the variety of Language used by an individual that people differ in using a Language when speaking. On the sense that one may use a certain Language term and sentences in a special way which differentiates him from other speakers i.e. some prefer to use the following utterances; you know…………, In fact………, well…….., I see……….. etc.

V. Level of formality

Refers to the choice of the type of Language in relation to different social situations (to whom you are talking to).


Definition; Register is a variety of Language according to the use. That is according to activity (occupation) or according to situation to which Language is put into use. The variation can be reflected in vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and meaning.


Register can be determined by the following;

I. The mode/medium/discourse

The discourse refers to the media or channel of Language used, it can be whether in written or spoken form. Or refers to the medium employed in a Language by a speaker or writer.


Spoken discourse; is the spontaneous Language because you can transmit a message without any preparation.

Written discourse is the non-spontaneous language because someone can transmit a message without any prior-preparation.

II. Province

Province refers to an area of specialization to which a Language is put into use, whether in the field of Law, Religion, medicine, etc.

That Language differs according to an area of specialization or to the subject matter, i.e. medicine (Scientific Language), Literature and Religious Language.

For example, a politician giving a speech at a mass rally will use popular Language but at a diplomatic meeting he/she will use non-popular Language.

NB: popular Language (specialized Language)

Non-popular Language (more specialized)

Jargon is a specialized Language concerned with a particular subject, culture or profession.

III. Status/ Tenor

Refers to the level of formality a particular Language use, i.e. it can be formal, neutral or informal. Social relation among the people involved in a Language discourse e.g. inferior, equal or superior.

IV. Modality/mode of presentation

Refers to the graphology to that is how you organize your materials i.e. paragraphing, capitalization, punctuation etc. for a particular purpose.

This will differ according to the forms (channels) one may decide to use i.e. Newspapers, postcards, letters (formal or informal), memo, telegram, advertisements etc.

V. Setting

Refers to an area where the event takes place or where events are taking place e.g. in the church, court, school etc.

VI. Style

This refers to the variation in person’s speaking or writing. It can also be referred the departure from the norm (known or a way of doing things)

Crystal and Davy argue that there are certain features that are common to all Language varieties.


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