Talking with my language exchange partner, I realized there are different ways to express English depending on the situation. I didn’t have words to describe these different styles of English, but I sensed they were similar to Korea’s levels of formality.
Tom Scott describes the book “The Five Clocks” where Martin Joos classifies English into 5 registers: frozen, formal, consultative, casual, and intimate. Linguists use the term register to refer to socially-sensitive verbal cues.
One blog quips, “Proper/Formal English has it’s place, to be sure, but so do the other four registers. How awkward would it be speaking to a loved one formally?”