Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Formal Language


Formal language is language use characterized by:

  • speech before a passive audience
  • the assumption of a role by the speaker
  • the use of artificial means of communication such as writing or electronics, and
  • the use of a “high” dialect or language in preference to a “low” one.


Here are some examples of domains where formal language takes place:

  • A sermon
  • A political speech
  • A lecture
  • A letter
  • Poetry

Glossary Hierarchy