The Thought Occurs

Friday, 19 June 2015

"A Register"

Halliday (2002 [1990]: 168):
I shall assume the concept of register, or functional (diatypic) variation in language.  It is convenient to talk of "a register", in the same way that one talks of "a dialect": in reality, of course, dialectal variation is typically continuous, along many dimensions (that is, with many features varying simultaneously), and what we call "a dialect" is a syndrome of variants that tend to co-occur.  Those feature combinations that actually do occur — what we recognise as "the dialects of English", for example, or "the dialects of Italian" — are only a tiny fraction of the combinations that would be theoretically possible within the given language.  Similarly, "a register" is a syndrome, or a cluster of associated variants; and again only a small fraction of the theoretically possible combinations will actually be found to occur.

Halliday M.A.K. 2002 Linguistic Studies of Text And Discourse London: Continuum