Meaning of Language Levels

The language and the levels of language belongs to all members of a community and is a living entity in constant change. New words are created or assimilated from other languages, as new habits, objects and knowledge emerge. The dictionaries incorporate these new words ( neologisms ), when consecrated by the use.

Currently, audiovisual media, especially computers and the Internet, have been the source of countless neologisms – some necessary, because there were no equivalents in Portuguese; others dispensable, because they duplicate words in the language. The only criterion for its integration in the language, however, is its constant use by a considerable number of users.

In fact, who determines the linguistic transformations and the language levels is the set of users, regardless of who they are, whether they are writing or speaking, since both the written and oral languages ​​present variations conditioned by several factors: regional, social , intellectuals, etc.

“The 1922 movement did not give us – nor could it give us – a ‘Brazilian language’, it urged our writers to give absolute primacy to essentially Brazilian themes […] and to always prefer living words and constructions of Brazilian Portuguese to others. , dead and cold, stored in dictionaries and grammatical textbooks. ” (Celso Cunha)

Life didn’t come to me through newspapers or books It
came from the mouth of the people in the wrong language of the people
Right language of the people
Why does Brazilian Portuguese speak well
(Manuel Bandeira)

Although linguistic variations and levels of language are conditioned by circumstances, both spoken and written language fulfill their purpose, which is communication. The written language obeys grammatical norms and will always be different from the oral language , more spontaneous, loose, free , since it is accompanied by mimicry and intonation, which fulfill important significant roles.

More prone to failures, the language used colloquially differs substantially from the cult pattern, which, according to some linguists, has created in Brazil an almost insurmountable chasm for users of the language, since expressing oneself in Portuguese with clarity and correctness is one of the greatest difficulties of Brazilians: “In Brazilian Portuguese, the distance between the popular level and the cultured level has become so marked that, if it continues, it will eventually come to resemble the phenomenon verified in Italian or German, for example, with the distance between a dialect and other. ” (Evanildo Bechara, Teaching Grammar. Oppression? Freedom?)

Based on these considerations, language teaching should not be governed by the notions of right and wrong, but by the concepts of adequate and inadequate, which are more convenient and accurate, because they reflect the use of language in the most different contexts. It is not expected that a teenager, together with others in a cafeteria, will express himself: “Let’s go to the mall to watch a movie”, but it is accepted: “Let’s go to the mall to watch a movie”. It would not be appropriate for a university professor to express himself like this: “It has been ten years since I participated in lectures at this distinguished University, in which there were always interested students”.

Writing according to the cultured norm – which does not represent a straitjacket, but a treasure trove of the best cultivated forms of expression in the language – is a requirement for any university-level professional who wishes to rise above the common grave of his profession. The efficient command of the language, in its varied records and in its inexhaustible possibilities of variation, is one of the conditions for good professional and social performance.

Popular or colloquial language

It is the one used spontaneously and fluently by the people. It is almost always rebellious to the grammatical norm and is loaded with vices of language (solecism – errors of regency and agreement; barbarism – errors of pronunciation, spelling and inflection; ambiguity; cacophony; pleonasm), vulgar expressions, slang and preference for coordination , which emphasizes the oral and popular character of the language. Popular language is present in the most diverse situations: family conversations or between friends, anecdotes, sports broadcasting, TV programs (especially those in the auditorium), soap operas, expression of emotional states, etc.

Cultured or standard language

It is the one taught in schools and serves as a vehicle for the sciences in which it presents itself with special terminology. It is used by educated people from different social classes and is characterized by obedience to grammatical norms. Most commonly used in written and literary language, it reflects social and cultural prestige. It is more artificial, more stable, less subject to variation. It is present in classes, conferences, sermons, political speeches, scientific communications, TV news, cultural programs, etc.


According to Mattoso Câmara Júnior, “literary style and slang are, in fact, two poles of Stylistics , because slang is not the popular language, as some think, but only a style that is integrated with the popular language”. So much so that not all people who express themselves through popular language use slang.

According to AVIATIONOPEDIA, slang is related to the daily life of certain social groups “who live on the margins of the ruling classes: students, sportsmen, prostitutes, thieves” They use it as a weapon of defense against the ruling classes. These groups use slang as a means of expressing everyday life, so that messages are decoded only by the group itself.

Thus, the slang is created by certain segments of the social community that spread the word to other groups until it reaches the media. The mass media, such as television and radio, propagate the new words, sometimes they also invent some. The slang that circulates may end up being incorporated into the official language, remain in the vocabulary of small groups or fall into disuse.

Characterized as a special vocabulary, slang appears as a group sign, at first secret, exclusive domain of a restricted social community (be it the slang of the marginals or the police, students, or other groups or professions).

(…) However, when it is popularized for the large community, taking the form of a common slang, of general use and not differentiated, (…) it becomes difficult to specify what is in fact a slang word or a popular word.

(…) It is often expressed in a humorous form (and often obscene, or both together), as occurs, for example, in certain signs that reveal evident aggressiveness, such as an animal, a form of calling that in the 1970s replaced a friend, colleague, man; crown, for older, mature person; square, instead of traditional conservative, reactionary; mine, for girlfriend, a form brought from the marginal language of prostitution, where it originally originates a profitable woman for the rascal, who lives at her expense, etc.
(Dino Pretti)

First, she paints like someone who wants nothing. It arrives in morale, playing Migué, and ends up falling into the mouth of the people. Then he shakes off the rat, turns lero-lero, sneaks out and disappears. But, at times, it comes crashing back, without the slightest warning. After all, what’s with the slang?
(Cássio Schubsky, Superinteressante)

Vulgar language

There is a vulgar language, according to Dino Preti, “linked to extremely uneducated groups, to the illiterate”, to those who have little or no contact with civilized centers. In vulgar language, structures are multiplied with “we go, he stays”, “I say a kiss to her”, “Let’s go to the market”.

Regional language

Regionalisms or local speeches are geographical variations in the use of the standard language, in terms of grammatical constructions, use of certain words and expressions and from a phonological point of view. There are, in Brazil, for example, speaking Amazonian, Northeastern, Bahian, Fluminense, Mineiro, Sulino.

Example of gaucho speaking:

Pues, says that the couch in the Bagé analyst’s office is lined with a hide. He receives the bombacha patients and is down to earth.
Buenas. Go inside and fan yourself, old Indian.
– Do you want me to lie on the couch right away?
– Well, if the friend wants to dance a march, first, feel free. But I prefer to see the living being stretched out and chattering like Chinese from the border, so as not to waste time or money.
(Luís Fernando Veríssimo, The Bagé Analyst)

Example of a hillbilly speaking:

At the age of eighteen, father Norato stabbed a boy, in an adjunct, and opened his foot in the world. No one else ever laid eyes on him, apart from his godson.
– Godfather, evim here call the man for mode i will live more me.
– Qua, flo, that shard of people doesn’t get out of here anymore.
– Bamo. Buli people in a bole, more animal … The manhorn is perrengado …
(Bernardo Élis, Pai Norato)

Language Levels