It has been a huge problem for the sociolinguists to tell the difference between style and register through the years. All of them have their own theories and ideas about these two notions and certainly there will be many more for the future. To be able to compare the two definitions first I will go through their work and afterwards I will express my personal point of view. Register is a combination of all the parameters of the communicative situation . Register is an occupationally determined variety of language.
Register is concerned more with specific language choices whether vocabulary and grammar is formal or informal. Style concerns not only register but looks at the way the words, sentences and paragraphs are put together. According to the role of the speaker, a young lecturer, will speak in different ways when communicating with his wife, his children, his father, his colleagues, his students, when shopping and so on. Each of these varieties will be a register.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
According to the subject matter or field of discourse, registered varieties are scientific, religious, legal, commercial, of airport announcers, etc. A register is also determined by the medium or mode of discourse. The main distinction is between speech and writing, but in beech also one may find such distinctions as conversation, discussion, debate, lecture, talk. Style is a set of linguistic variants with specific social meaning. Style is not a fixed attribute of a speaker. Rather, a speaker may use different styles depending on context.
Additionally, speakers often incorporate elements of multiple styles into their speech, either consciously or subconsciously, thereby creating a new style. According to Allan Bell language style is the dimension of language where individual speakers have a choice. We do not always speak in consistently the same way. In fact we are shifting the way we speak constantly as we move from one situation to another. On different occasions we talk in different ways. These different ways of speaking carry different social meanings.
They represent our ability to take up different social positions, and they affect how we are perceived by others. There is another founding of the American sociolinguists William Labor about style as attention to speech. His theory states: style is treated as a result of the amount of attention that speakers pay to their speech. According to Andrew Redford, we are all probably unconscious that we speak differently to a teacher than to our friends over a coffee. We tend on the whole to speak using a more standard dialect with the teacher, and use more non-standard or informal language when having a chat.
Similarly, we may find that we speak in a more standard way when discussing some topics – say, politics or linguistics – than when discussing others – yesterdays baseball game, or your neighbor’s latest antics. Linguistic variability that is dependent on the social context we find ourselves in or the topic of the conversation we are engaged in is usually termed stylistic variation. All in all I can say that style and register are almost the same only with a few differences.
Register refers more specifically to the vocabulary or level of formality or informality in a text. It also refers to the grammar of the language. You can have technical, conversational or scientific register depending on the purpose or audience of a text. Style, on the other hand, has a broader meaning. The text can be written angrily, satirically or coldly depending on the ways of writing. It is also aimed at people with different social status, thus if your society status is low your language level will be poor.