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LANGUAGE VARIATION. Speech Communities. Basic Definition:. A group of people steadily in communication with one another, steadily hearing one another’s speech and following the same conversation patterns/norms.

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Language variation

LANGUAGE VARIATION

Speech Communities


Basic definition
Basic Definition:

  • A group of people steadily in communication with one another, steadily hearing one another’s speech and following the same conversation patterns/norms.

  • Keep in mind though, that this is an ideal simplicity. Within speech communities, there may be other smaller ones (based on different sociolinguistic variables)


What aspects may cause you to belong in a speech community not in another
What aspects may cause you to belong in a speech community & not in another?

These aspects are called “sociolinguistic variables”


AGE community & not in another?

  • Oldsters may occasionally be conscious of, and annoyed by, the youngsters’ speech (they hope that when they grow, they will speak ‘better’, but it doesn’t really happen)

  • Kids may speak in one way in his home and in another in the playground

  • High-schoolers abide by the rule of ‘conformity’


Region space
Region/Space community & not in another?

  • Latin(Romance) history

  • ‘The group that doesn’t move changes more’ (England)

  • American dialects (‘if all other historical evidence were destroyed, the history of the country could still be constructed from the speech of modern America’).

  • Accents: ‘Bostonian’, ‘Southern’, ‘Western’, ‘Brit’


Social class
Social class community & not in another?

  • High social classes change more (probably because low social classes are so insecure of themselves that they do not dare to innovate) and overall the middle class changes more than high or low.

  • Labov’s study – dialects are socially and contextually distributed


Family
Family community & not in another?

  • 1st speech community of the child

  • Transitions to peer group and school

  • Children differ in how much they are influenced.

  • Bi-dialectal tendencies


Occupation hobbies
Occupation/Hobbies community & not in another?

  • Jargons, for example


Ethnicity race
Ethnicity/race community & not in another?

  • Hispanic accent??

  • African-American Vernacular??


Education
EDUCATION community & not in another?

  • The more educated a person is, the more standard (probably) this person would sound like.


Religion
RELIGION community & not in another?

  • Do you talk to your family the same when you are at church than when you are at home?

  • Some people, even not religious people, watch their language in front of religious people


Gender
GENDER community & not in another?

  • Can you tell who said this sentence?: (a woman or a man?)

    • Isn’t that a precious little puppy?!

    • That’s a really cute dog.


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