Register Theory and Communicative Teaching

  • Anne-Marie Simon-Vandenbergen


In this paper the term ‘register’ will be used in the sense of language-variety according to use. There are two important implications: (i) A difference of register is recognized when there is both a difference of language and a difference of use or situation. If therefore on non-linguistic grounds we distinguish two situation-types but we find no linguistic differences, we have only one register (Halliday et al., 1964); (ii) Registers are not ‘marginal’ varieties of a language but cover between them the whole language. Every language has its own specific register-system, which covers a range of situations. It follows that the foreign learner will have to acquire a knowledge of the register system in the target language. While register awareness in the native speaker grows partly spontaneously (by acquiring the mother-tongue in context), and partly through formal education, the foreign learner obviously goes through the latter process only. This creates the need to explain register differences.


Communicative Teaching Language Teaching Register Theory Communicative Competence English Language Teaching 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne-Marie Simon-Vandenbergen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of English LinguisticsState University GhentBelgium

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