Sociolinguistics (summary) . What is sociolinguistics? It studies why people speak differently according to: - Whom they are talking to? - What they are talking about? - In what kind of context they are talking? . More specifically ….
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What is sociolinguistics?
It studies why people speak differently according to:
- Whom they are talking to?
- What they are talking about?
- In what kind of context they are talking?
1. Social motivation for language variation:
- socio-economic status
2. Language contact
- Pidgin language
- Creole language
Dialect vs. language:
Situation in which speakers of different language varieties are able to understand and communicate with the other.
- Chinese dialect, a special case
Situation in which a large number of contiguous dialects exist, each mutually intelligible with the next, but with the dialects at either end of the continuum not being mutually intelligible.
- Overt prestige:
Type of prestige attached to a particular variety by the community that defines how people should speak in order to gain status in the wider community
- Covert prestige
Type of prestige that exists among members of nonstandard-speaking communities that defines how people should speak in order to be considered members of those particular communities.
e.g. the young boy in American Tongues
African American speech communitySeveral points to be noticed:
Language developed by speakers of distinct language who come into contact with one another and share no common language among them.
- originates to overcome communication barriers
- typically spring up in trading centers
- made of mixtures of elements from all of the languages in contact
- most of the vocabulary derived from socially or economically dominant language
a language that develops from contact between speakers of different languages and serves as the primary means of communication for a particular group of speakers
- typical in plantation setting
- some of them are stabilized pidgin
- different from pidgin, Creole language serves as the first language for speakers
r-Lessness in New York City:
lack of [r] in words as four, card etc. in New York dialect
- misconception: there is a total lack of [r] in those words for speakers of the dialect.
- Labov: speakers vary their use of [r] according to their social status.
high status: the use of [r]
low status: the lack of [r]
hypothesis: salespeople tend to reflect the prestige of their customers.
Salespeople from the highest prestige store would exhibit
the highest incidence of [r] in their speech, while those
from the lowest prestige store would exhibit the lowest
incidence of [r]
Percentage of [r]s in floor
Saks 63 64
Macy’s 44 61
S. Klein 8 18
Pau Princivalli: New York
bomb threat caller: the Boston area of
Eastern New England
- Linguistic fingerprint