How can I best describe this phenomenon (I do need a brief term). Would "differential style" be OK? or should it be plural ("differential styles")? or something quite different such as "style differentiation", or "differentiated styles"?

  • Varying style? Style tailored to context? – CowperKettle Dec 28 '15 at 13:28
  • Thanks for your answers. Nobody referred to any of the options mentioned in my original question. Does it mean they are all equally unacceptable? I am well aware of other options such as code-switching, but since both the notion of style and the idea of differentiation should be discussed in the same text, I try to find a solution that would mention both (unless, of course, it sounds too odd). – stultissimus Dec 29 '15 at 9:05

If the phenomenon you are describing is the appropriate or at least purposeful adaptation to a range of cultural environments or settings, then you might economically describe it as code-switching between registers.


You could say that the author has a protean style, where protean means something like "versatile or changing depending on circumstance".

Or you could say that the author's style was context-sensitive, meaning "sensitive to context".


Colloquially, "changing hats" can fit this context. It refers to changing one's role in a situation as one would change wearing apparel when performing different tasks. Alternatively, if you can substitute another word for "style," there would be more options for expression. Examples include "adapting to different audiences" or "varying his approach for different settings."

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