Linguistic Perspectives on Register

Larissa Goulart, Bethany Gray, Shelley Staples, Amanda Black, Aisha Shelton, Douglas Biber, Jesse Egbert, Stacey Wizner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Language users change their written and spoken language according to the situational characteristics and communicative purpose of production mdash that is, according to the register being produced. Research on registers has focused on register description or patterns of register variation, on detailed analysis of individual linguistic features or an account for the use of a broad range of linguistic features, and on the distinction between written and spoken registers. In this review, we survey register studies according to the register being investigated: spoken, written, electronic/online, literary, or historical. This survey also shows that recent register studies have focused on more specialized written and spoken domains and that the use of corpus linguistics tools and advanced statistical methods such as multidimensional analysis has allowed for broad analyses of the language used in different registers. Finally, we point to areas of register research that need further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-455
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual Review of Linguistics
StatePublished - 14 Jan 2020


  • corpus linguistics
  • multidimensional analysis
  • register variation
  • spoken registers
  • text linguistics
  • written registers


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