abgdezhqiklmnxoprstufcyw Top left: Greek Bottom left: Cherokee Middle: Arabic Top right: Russian Chapters 5 and 6 – Speech Communities and Language Variation
What is language? • A system of symbols with standard meanings. • Allows humans to communicate and is the main vehicle of transmission of culture. • Language provides context for symbolic understanding.
Other Communication • Human: • Direct • Body language (kinesics), tone of voice, personal space (proxemics), gesture • Indirect • Writing, mathematics, music, painting, signs • Nonhuman: • Sounds, odors, body movements • Call systems, ethologists • ASL – American Sign Language
Speech Community • “some kind of social group whose speech characteristics are of interest and can be described in a coherent manner” Wardhaugh 116 • “fuzzy” Wardhaugh 116 • Groups? What does that mean? How do we avoid stereotyping? • Ethnicity, class, geography, etc
“Our search must be for criteria other than, or at least in addition to, linguistic criteria if we are to gain a useful understanding of ‘speech community.’ (Wardhaugh 118)
“…a search for the various characteristics which make individuals feel that they are members of the same community” (Wardhaugh 118)
“r” dropping in NY, though commonly done, is considered “low” pahk de cah“r” dropping in South England is considered “posh” ‘fahthah’
“h” dropping considered low in South England but normal in most American dialectsEliza Doolittle vs “it’s erbal Herb”
A speech community is defined as much by what it is not as what it is. The group must manifest regular relationships between language use and social structure, and there must be norms (Wardhaugh 120)
Language and Culture not always connected • Ngoni of Africa • No longer speak their own language but have adopted language of the people they conquered in Malawi. • “However, they use that language in ways they have carried over from Ngoni, ways they maintain because they consider them to be essential to their continued identity as a people” (Wardhaugh 120)
Groups in North America with culture but not language? • Which ones • Are these “speech communities?” • Magdalene College, Cambridge!
Hypercorrection • • Lower Middle Class speakers sometimesuse prestige features at a greater rate thanUpper Middle Class speakers.• And LMC speakers use stigmatizedfeatures at a lower rate than the UMC.• Because the LMC wish to achieve the nexthigher level of status, they attempt to talklike members of the next higher class, butthey go too far.
Gender and Language Variation • • Trudgill also studied the effect of genderon variation in word-final –ing in words likerunning (runnin') and swimming(swimmin').• He found that women tend to use morestandard language features than men.• And men tend to use more vernacularforms in their speech. • We’ll try to return to this in the section of the text on language and gender
Discussion Questions p. 122 Take 30 minutes in groups • 1. Try to label yourself according to what kind(s) of English you speak. Explain why you choose the specific terms you use and any connotations these terms have for you, e.g. Lancastrian, Bakersfeldian, Texan English, Californian, American • 3. In what respects do the following pairs of people belong to the same speech community or to different ones: Presidents Bill Clinton and GWBush; Madonna and Guy Ritchie; Hugh Grant and Carey Grant; Sean Connery and Ewan McGregor • 4. Describe the linguistic uses of some bilinguals with whom you are familiar. When do they use each of the languages? If you are bilingual yourself, in what ways do you identify with people who show the same range of linguistic abilities? A different range? • 5. Answer question 5, time permitting.
Intersecting Communities • A great deal of bilingualism in the modern world • Most speech communities are fairly fluid • What should the ‘target’ language and dialect be? • Individuals shift identities and speech and languages freely
Communities of Practice • “an aggregate of people who come together around mutual engagements in some common endeavor. Ways of doing things, ways of talking, beliefs, values, power relations – in short, practices – emerge in the course of their joint activity around that endeavor” Ekert and McConnell-Ginet in Wardhaugh 125 • Examples? Gangs, reading groups, etc…
What is Social Class?• Social class involves groupingpeople together and accordingthem status within societyaccording to the groups theybelong to.What is Social Class?• A number of modern thinkers have tried todefine what makes a particular “socialclass.”– Is it accent?–…neighborhood?–…occupation?–…income?–…wealth?
Determinants of Social Class• Personal performance– Education– Occupation– Income– Awards and achievements• Wealth– Amount– Source• Social orientation– Interactions– Class consciousness– Value orientation
The United States of America is aclassless and egalitarian society!!Do you agree or disagree?
Class Structure in the U.S.• Two upper classes– Upper upper : Old money– Lower upper : New money• Three middle classes– Upper middle : Professional– Middle class : White collar and entrepreneurs– Working class : Blue collar• Two lower classes– Upper lower : Unskilled laborers– Lower lower : Socially and economicallydisadvantaged
Americans • Tend to think they are middle class or upper class or upper middle class • Tend to think that they will be upper class someday
Indexes of Social Class• How you look• How you dress• How you talk• What you like to do• Where you live• What your house looks like• What you eat a lot of food, good tasting food, good looking food
Variables of Social Class• Power– The degree to which a person can control otherpeople• Wealth– Objects or symbols owned by people which havevalue attached to them• Prestige– The degree of respect, favorable regard, orimportance accorded to a person by members ofsociety
Networks and Repetoires • Various network relationships on p. 127. These diagrams show that a person can be part of various speech communities, some that intersect and some that do not. Certain individuals may be in one or more groups but not others.
Social Class and Speech Style • • Peter Trudgill studied variation in word-final ingin words like running (runnin') and swimming(swimmin') in Norwich, England.• Four speech styles– Reading aloud of word lists– Reading aloud of text– Formal speech– Casual speech• Trudgill found that variation across speech stylesparallels variation across social class. • What method is used in our accent presentations? Should we include class?
Now it is time for a ten minute break. When you return, we will do 10 to 15 accent presentations
Language Variation • Dialects • Regional Dialects (geography) • Social Dialects (class, group, ethnicity, etc)
Regional Variation • Traditional study of dialect • Important part of Historical Linguistics • Family trees and phonemic “splits” between languages and dialects attributed to time, space, etc… • Latin v /w/ to /v/ in later period • IE. *ptr to Latin pater to French pere • To Germanic fader to English father
Dialect in Old English • They no doubt existed, but we don’t see them in the manuscripts very much because scribes wrote the literary standard for of Old English • Hwaet we gardena in geardagum theodkinginga thrim gefrunon
Dialects in Middle English • At least five • KentishSouthernNorthernEast-Midland West-Midland
Kentish • Kentish was originally spoken over the whole southeastern part of England, including London and Essex, but during the Middle English period its area was steadily diminished by the encroachment of the East Midland dialect, especially after London became an East Midland-speaking city (see below); in late Middle English the Kentish dialect was confined to Kent and Sussex. In the Early Modern period, after the London dialect had begun to replace the dialects of neighboring areas, Kentish died out, leaving no descendants. Kentish is interesting to linguists because on the one hand its sound system shows distinctive innovations (already in the Old English period), but on the other its syntax and verb inflection are extremely conservative; as late as 1340, Kentish syntax is still virtually identical with Old English syntax.
Southern • The Southern dialect of Middle English was spoken in the area west of Sussex and south and southwest of the Thames. It was the direct descendant of the West Saxon dialect of Old English, which was the colloquial basis for the Anglo-Saxon court dialect of Old English. Southern Middle English is a conservative dialect (though not as conservative as Kentish), which shows little influence from other languages — most importantly, no Scandinavian influence (see below). Descendants of Southern Middle English still survive in the working-class country dialects of the extreme southwest of England.
Northern • By contrast with these southernmost dialects, Northern Middle English evolved rapidly: the inflectional systems of its nouns and verbs were already sharply reduced by 1300, and its syntax is also innovative (and thus more like that of Modern English). These developments were probably the result of Scandinavian influence. In the aftermath of the great Scandinavian invasions of the 860's and 870's, large numbers of Scandinavian families settled in northern and northeastern England. When the descendants of King Alfred the Great of Wessex reconquered those areas (in the first half of the 10th century), the Scandinavian settlers, who spoke Old Norse, were obliged to learn Old English. But in some areas their settlements had so completely displaced the preexisting English settlements that they cannot have had sufficient contact with native speakers of Old English to learn the language well.
More on Northern • They learned it badly, carrying over into their English various features of Norse (such as the pronoun they and the noun law ), and also producing a simplified syntax that was neither good English nor good Norse. Those developments can be clearly seen in a few late Old English documents from the region, such as the glosses on the Lindisfarne Gospels (ca. 950) and the Aldbrough sundial (late 11th century). None of this would have mattered for the development of English as a whole if the speakers of this "Norsified English" had been powerless peasants; but they were not. Most were freeholding farmers, and in many northern districts they constituted the local power structure. Thus their bad English became the local prestige norm, survived, and eventually began to spread (much later — see below).
East-Midland and West-Midland • The East-Midland and West-Midland dialects of Middle English are intermediate between the Northern and Southern/Kentish extremes. In the West Midlands there is a gradation of dialect peculiarities from Northern to Southern as one moves from Lancashire to Cheshire and then down the Severn valley. This dialect has left modern descendants in the working- class country dialects of the area. The East-Midland dialect is much more interesting. The northern parts of its dialect area were also an area of heavy Scandinavian settlement, so that northern East-Midland Middle English shows the same kinds of rapid development as its Northern neighbor. But the subdialect boundaries within East-Midland were far from static: the more northerly variety spread steadily southward, extending the influence of Scandinavianized English long after the Scandinavian population had been totally assimilated.
More on East and West Midland • In the 13th century this part of England, especially Norfolk and Suffolk, began to outstrip the rest of the country in prosperity and population because of the excellence of its agriculture, and — crucially — increasing numbers of well-to-do speakers of East-Midland began to move to London, bringing their dialect with them. By the second half of the 14th century the dialect of London and the area immediately to the northeast, which had once been Kentish, was thoroughly East-Midland, and a rather Scandinavianized East Midland at that. Since the London dialect steadily gained in prestige from that time on and began to develop into a literary standard, the northern, Scandinavianized variety of East-Midland became the basis of standard Modern English. For that reason, East-Midland is by far the most important dialect of Middle English for the subsequent development of the language.
Dialect Atlases • “Try to show the geographical boundaries of the distribution of a particular linguistic feature by drawing a line on a map” (Wardhaugh 134) • Such a line is called an isogloss • On one side of the line people say one thing, on the other they say a different thing.
Isogloss • The isogloss is the boundary line between groups who say something differently • When there are a number of different things said on one side of the boundary from what is said on the other side, we can say that the boundary marks a dialect boundary
Examples from some Middle English Dialects • We’ll use the ELMO for this.
Relic areas and transition areas (Back to modern examples) • Simply terms referring to sub areas where shifts do not occur. As if the Antelope Valley continued to refer to any bubbly soft drink as ‘coke’ while the rest of LA county shifted to calling it ‘soda’. AV would be a relic area, and perhaps Beverly Hills, a status area where the shift might originate or Watts a low status area where the shift might originate would be focal areas and LA county would be the transition area
The Soda pop page http://www.popvssoda.com/
American Dialect page(note area for San Francisco dialect) http://www.geocities.com/Broadway/1906/dialects.html