From The General History of Virginia by John Smith, there is a confusing kind of diction. The words used in this passage is commonly spoken in the 16th century. I think John Smith's goal was to use colloquial vocabulary. This thought came to mind because back then everyone used those words. This whole passage has confusing vocabulary but in reality its simple when you brake it down.
John Smith himself is a pilgrim and when he speaks of them he refers to them as pilgrims instead of his own. When he would be with the pilgrims he would talk in a fluid manner. When it came down to speaking to the Europeans it seemed as if he didn't know what word to say next. In the story there's a part where mentioned something to the chief he was speaking sophisticated. My guess is that he was using bigger words to seem smarter then the people that were in his group.
When John would talk to the pilgrims he talked really elegant. Its impressive how changing up the tone of a character can make him seem educated. For example, John uses different grammer and everyone around him thinks he's smart. It got to a point where hes doesn't really know whats going on be he likes it. That's also why he keeps using that tone and why people around him think he is the smartest pilgrim around which makes smart.
Some words used in the story didn't even make sense at the time. For example, why would John say sack when he could of easily said white wine? His diction is pretty confusing along the passage. I'm not sure if he wants to sound complex or if hes trying to hard and it makes him sound foolish. One thing I'm certain of is that he sounds like a man who knows his stuff and is getting away with it. The way he speaks to everyone is interesting because he doesn't even know what he is saying.
In conclusion i believe John Smith used formal diction. As a writer i think John Smith exaggerated a lot of things, he could of easily used words that everyone else...