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The Sociolinguistics of the Metropolis

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The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

The Sociolinguistics

of the Metropolis


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

It is a well-known fact that small cities are friendlier than big ones. But are they? Our research on street life indicates that, if anything, the reverse is more likely to be the case. As far as interaction between people is concerned, there is markedly more of it in big cities--not just in absolute numbers but as a proportion of the total. In small cities, by contrast, you see fewer interchanges, fewer prolonged goodbyes, fewer street conferences, fewer 100% conversations. . . Individually, the friendliness quotient of the smaller might be much higher. It could also be argued that friendships run deeper in a smaller city than in a larger one. As far as frequency of interchange is concenrned, however,the streets of the big city are notably more sociable than those of a smaller one.

--William H. Whyte, City. NY: Doubleday, 1988, p. 6.


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

The speech community as

• chaos

“one cannot predict what a person will say”

• a fictional construct

“the reality is the individual speaker”

• an average value

“merely the average of individual idiolects”


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

Ten methods for gathering linguistic data in the metropolis

Approach to Demogr.VolumeSoundControl of

Vernacular inform’nof speechqualityvariables

Sociolinguistic interviewVariableExcellentExcellentExcellentVariable

Group sessionsExcellentVariableVariableFairPoor

Participant observationExcellentExcellentExcellentNoneNone

Site studiesGoodPoorVariablePoorNone

Rapid & anonymous surveysPoorPoorPoorNoneExcellent

Written textsPoorVariableVariableNoneNone

Studies of mass mediaPoorPoorVariableExcellentNone

Laboratory experimentsPoorExcellentVariableExcellentExcellent

Direct elicitationPoorExcellentFairExcellentExcellent

IntrospectionPoorExcellentNoneNoneExcellent


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

Ten methods for gathering linguistic data in the metropolis

Approach to Demogr.VolumeSoundControl of

Vernacular inform’nof speechqualityvariables

Sociolinguistic interviewVariableExcellentExcellentExcellentVariable

Group sessionsExcellentVariableVariableFairPoor

Participant observationExcellentExcellentExcellentNoneNone

Site studiesGoodPoorVariablePoorNone

Rapid & anonymous surveysPoorPoorPoorNoneExcellent

Written textsPoorVariableVariableNoneNone

Studies of mass mediaPoorPoorVariableExcellentNone

Laboratory experimentsPoorExcellentVariableExcellentExcellent

Direct elicitationPoorExcellentFairExcellentExcellent

IntrospectionPoorExcellentNoneNoneExcellent


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

Percent [r] in rapid and anonymous study of three New York City department stores, 1962

Source: Labov 1966


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

Percent [r] in rapid and anonymous study of three New York City department stores, 1962 and 1986

Source: Labov 1966, Fowler 1986


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

Percent [r] in by age in Saks

Source: Labov 1966


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

Percent [r] in by age in Saks, 1962 and 1986

Source: Labov 1966, Fowler 1986


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

Percent [r] in by age in Macy’s

Source: Labov 1966


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

Percent [r] in by age in Macy’s, 1962 and 1986

Source: Labov 1966, Fowler 1986


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

Percent [r] in by stress and position

Source: Labov 1966


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

Percent [r] in by stress and position, 1982 and 1986

Source: Labov 1966, Fowler 1986


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

Overall increase in percent [r] from 1962 to 1986

Source: Labov 1966, Fowler 1986


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

Overall increase in percent [r] from 1962 to 1996

Tiernan 1996

Fowler 1986

Labov 1962

Source: Labov 1966, Fowler 1986, Tiernan 1996


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

Social and stylistic stratification of (r) in the random sample of the Lower East Side of New York City [N=81]

SOCIO-ECONOMICCLASS

higher

The cross-over pattern

lower


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

The introduction of constricted /r/ by upper middle class youth in the spontaneous speech of the Lower East Side sample of New York City [N=81]


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

Subjective evaluation of (r) in matched guise tests for New Yorkers by age and social class


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

Percent positive response to (r) on two-choice subjective reaction test in New York City


The sociolinguistics of the metropolis

The metropolis: a speech community with a high degree of social stratification on a uniform structural and evaluative base


Stratification by occupation in white employees at macy s 1962

Stratification by occupation in white employees at Macy’s (1962)


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