In sociolinguistics, a style is a set of linguistic variants with specific social meanings. In this context, social meanings can include group membership, personal attributes, or beliefs. Linguistic variation is at the heart of the concept of linguistic style—without variation there is no basis for distinguishing social meanings. Variation can occur syntactically, lexically, and phonologically. Many approaches to interpreting and defining style incorporate the concepts of indexicality, indexical order, stance-taking, and linguistic ideology. Note that a style is not a fixed attribute of a speaker. Rather, a speaker may use different styles depending on context. Additionally, speakers often incorporate elements of multiple styles into their speech, either consciously or subconsciously, thereby creating a new style.

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