Formal and informal language

formal and informal conversations

Formal language is the register of speech we use when we are in contexts of greater formality and more alien to our familiarity or intimate environment. Examples could be a communication between boss-employee, student-teacher or doctor-patient.In addition, we leave below the points you should pay attention to in order to identify a type of formal language:Examples of formal language

On the other hand, informal language is a type of register that we use when we are in familiar or intimate communicative contexts. The characteristics of the informal register are: Examples of informal language.

Human beings tend to change the way we speak in front of another person depending on the type of relationship we have established with that person and the situation in which we find ourselves. It is not the same the type of language or expressions we use with our best friend when talking about the weekend plan, than the way we communicate with our boss when asking about a promotion, since there is a different type of closeness and different registers.This is understood in such a way that, in the same way that to attend a wedding or a job interview there is a dress code that suits the situation, when communicating it is also necessary to adjust our language to a formal or informal register.

formal and informal language examples

Formal educated language Focuses on the transmission of content and is used in the language of the news media, in work meetings, in reports and school work, etc.

Example: Dear Carlos, how nice to see you. Let me tell you that I received your report on the effect of pollution in the lakes of southern Chile and, although your results are not encouraging, I find it a surprising formulation.

Informal cultured languageFocused on personal interaction, it is the one used in colloquial communicative situations such as in television entertainment programs (matinee, star programs, etc.), personal letters, errands, etc.

Formal uneducated languageIt is focused on the transmission of content, has little grammatical and vocabulary management that prevents it from complying with the syntactic and grammatical rules for an adequate construction of the discourse.


This image shows the relationship between strings, well-formed formulas and theorems. In some formal systems, however, the set of theorems coincides with the set of well-formed formulas.

In mathematics, logic, and computer science, a formal language is a language whose symbols are primitive and the rules for linking those symbols are formally specified.[1][2] The set of primitive symbols is called the alphabet (or vocabulary) of the language, and the set of rules is called the formal grammar (or syntax). A string of symbols formed according to the grammar is called a well-formed formula (or word) of the language. Strictly speaking, a formal language is identical to the set of all its well-formed formulas.

For some formal languages there is a formal semantics that can interpret and give meaning to the well-formed formulas of the language. However, a formal semantics is not a necessary condition for defining a formal language, and that is an essential difference with natural languages.

colloquial language

For example, when we talk to a friend, we use our everyday lexicon and even use vulgar words or crutches. But if we address a person with whom we do not share our friendship, our language becomes more rigid and structured.

Informal language or colloquial register is the language we use when we talk to people with whom we have confidence, for example, friends or relatives. It is the language we use on a daily basis and is very expressive.

When we talk to our friends we use informal language, in which we employ repetitive vocabulary and use buzzwords. However, when we speak to a teacher or a person we know little, we use formal language and with it we use a varied vocabulary and avoid repetition of words.

We have already seen that speakers of a language do not always speak the same way. But alongside formal or informal language, we also find vulgar speech. Vulgar speech is typical of people with little culture who use a careless language, with a poor vocabulary and many vulgarisms.


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