An ELT Glossary : Tenor

  • Definition : A term introduced by Halliday to describe one aspect of register - variations in language use caused by differing relationships between the interlocutors. 

  • Examples :  The  choice of a formal/informal, direct/indirect request exponent dependent on whether the participants are a mother speaking to a child or a shop assistant speaking to a customer. Will depend on status/affective involvement and frequency of contact. 

  • See here for a more in-depth explanation.