Outline 1. Language and Dialect 2. Language Contact 3. Language Change: a Social Perspective 4. Language and Gender 5. Taboo 6. Sapir-Wholf Hypothesis 7. Summary
Sociolinguistics communication Language is used for communication. idiolect Every individual’s language is an idiolect. Every single individual speaks a language of his own. S/he speaks her/his own dialect.
regional dialects Individuals share a lot of common backgrounds with others in the same community, area, or district. People living in the same area speak a language of their own. religious belief or ceremony, living style or habits, or working environments local color social dialects People doing the same jobs, or of the same interest (not living in the same area) concerned with their common topics giving rise to social dialects
language competence ≠ a successful communication linguistic competence (Chomsky) grammar (the linguistic intuition) grammatical sentences People of the same community share a common communicative competence communicate successfully (social/ cultural topics) social settings, cultural backgrounds, & to which extent one is socialized language is spoken differently
a mirror Language is a mirror of a society. What is pursued or disliked is directly or indirectly reflected. e.g. (1) expectations male:strong, brave, ambitious… female: graceful, attractive… (2) expressions male (in a certain manner): I am sure…, I guarantee… female (in an uncertain manner): I am afraid that…, I am not sure that…
sociolinguistics = linguistics + sociology the target: It is to examine the nature of language from the perspective of social factors. social factors: one’s backgrounds like age, gender, education, jobs, interests and communities.
1. Language and dialect 1.1 The Dialects of English 1.2 Dialects in Taiwan 1.3 The Myth of Standard language 1.4 The difference between Taiwan Mandarin and Beijing Mandarin (Putonghua)
Language and dialect (A) language = dialects (1) speech forms Both languages and dialects are speech forms. (2) communication There is no specific difference in terms of communication.
(B) language ≠ dialects (1) in general (use) language: broader dialects: regional / social (2) in linguistics (mutual intelligibility) languages: mutually un-intelligible (e.g. Chinese & English) dialects: mutually intelligible (e.g. British English & American English)
(C) exceptions (1) un-intelligible dialects (e.g. Chinese dialects) Mandarin, Wu, Min, Xiang, Yue, Hakka, Gan,Ping & Jin mutually un-intelligible but treated as Chinese dialects (a) share the common writing system (b) spoken within the same country, politically (2) intelligible languages (e.g. Danish, Norwegian & Swedish) mutually intelligible but treated as independent languages
(D) two types of dialects (1) regional dialects It occurs to most people that a language would yield different accents or dialects in different areas. e.g. English in York, Newcastle, New England, Texas e.g. British  and American [a] e.g. chicken, [ke] of Zhangzhou &[kue] in Quanzhou
(2) social dialects Social dialects are limited to some professions, which are called slogan. e.g. terminologies sound change, code-switching, grammaticalization, lexicalization, reconstruction, c-command… (X) decoded in surface lexical meaning
1.1 The Dialects of English (A) two types (1) English as a native language It is spoken in the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand & South Africa. (2) English as a second language It is spoken in India, Singapore, the Philippines, Nigeria…
(B) Differences of American & British English (1) the r-color vowels a trill /r/, a retroflexed vowel American English (V) & British English (X)
(2) the “a” vowel some vowels for // American English (man) British English (father)
(3) some words / vocabulary There are some difference in words or vocabulary. (4) syntactic difference American English: Do you have a pencil? British English: Have you a pencil?
1.2 Dialects in Taiwan (two language families) (1) Chinese language : Mandarin Southern Min Hakka (2) Formosa language: Rukai Paiwan Bunun… the linguistic atlas
1.3 The Myth of Standard Language (1) a pure myth We have to speak a standard language. There is no standard language from the sociolinguistic perspective. (2) standard Mandarin ? Mandarin spoken in Taiwan - nativized (phonology, vocabulary, morphology, syntax) Putonghua spoken in Mainland China
(3) the standard English? (a) English as a native language / a second language (?) (b) English dialects within the US Eastern New England, Northern, Midland & southern American atlas of the English dialects
1.4 the difference between Taiwan Mandarin & Beijing Mandarin (Putonghua) (A) in phonetic sounds (1) the loss of r-retroflexation Neutralization: The three distinct syllables with phonetic segments in Beijing Mandarin are neutralized into one homonym in Taiwan Mandarin.
the retroflexed palatal affricates of Mandarin fused with ts, tsh, s in Taiwan Mandarin
(2) shortening of diphthongs Different parameter settings give rise to different tree configurations.
(B) vocabulary Vocabulary also distinguishes Taiwan Mandarin from Beijing Mandarin.
(C) Syntactic structure a “yu” (have) in every sentence Taiwan Mandarin (V) & Beijing Mandarin (X) (Taiwan Mandarin is highly influenced by Southern Min)
2. Language contact 2.1 Lingua Franca 2.2 Pidgin 2.3 Creole
Language contact Language contact-1 Two languages are divided by an isogloss which exists more theoretically than practically where the isogloss between language A and B is not regular.
language contact-2 One is an island surrounded by another language. language contact-3 One language is neighboring with more than two languages.
language contact - superstratum & substratum superstratum (loaning): superior in population / politics / economics playing the role of loaning substratum (borrowing): inferior in population / politics / economics playing the role of borrowing
e.g. (1) William the Conqueror French (superstratum) & England (substratum) (England borrowed a lot of vocabulary from French.) (2) Japan colonized Taiwan (1895-1945) Japan (superstratum) & Taiwan (substratum) (Taiwan borrowed a lot of vocabulary from Japan.) (3) in Taiwan Mandarin (superstratum in politics & economics) Southern Min ( superstratum in population) (mutual borrowing of vocabulary & morphological structures)
2.1 Lingua Franca Lingua Franca refers to the language for common or mutual communication (in an environment in which there is more than one language spoken). e.g. in India English: lingua franc in Singapore English: lingua franc in Taiwan Mandarin: lingua franc
2.2 Pidgin a mixture of the two contact languages in their simplified forms (1) foreign &un-intelligible Two languages are foreign & un-intelligible to each other. (2) simplifying / comprehensible / body languages One of the speakers would simplify his own language in such a way that it might be comprehensible to the other speakers, accompanied wit a lot of body languages.
(3) mutually intelligible The speaker of the other language would do the same. In so doing, speakers of two languages are mutually intelligible to some extent. (4) pidgin A new language form comes into being when people speak simplified forms of each language. e.g. TokPisin (in Papua New Guinea) Wes-Kos Pidgin (in West Africa)
Guangxing (a small village of about 1200 speakers of Hakka) a pidgin: simplified Hakka + simplified Paiwan
2.3 Creole (1) pidgin creole: When a pidgin (a mixture of two simplified language forms) becomes an independent language or mother tongue of a certain people, then it becomes creole. (2) creole: (a) Portuguese: The word creole comes from Portuguese, referring to those white descendants born in colonies of Portuguese. (b) languages: It is used to refer to languages spoken in West Africa or along the Caribbean. (3) Gullah: (a) spoken in Georgia & South Carolina (b) speakers: descendants of black slavery (c) mother tongue: mother tongue of those inhabitants
3. Language change: a social perspective 3.1 Martha’s Vineyard 3.2 The r-variation in New York City
3.1 Martha’s Vineyard (Labov) (1) vowel reduction why[way] [y] & wow[waw] [w] (2) geographically Martha’s Vineyard an isolated island, one hour flight from Boston people (a) descendants of those immigrating from England (b) Portuguese descendants (c) those immigrating from inland (d) others
(3) economic background (age, jobs, education) (a) who was talked with natives vs. tourists: vowel reduction (X) natives vs. natives: vowel reduction (V) (b) races Portuguese & English descendants : vowel reduction (V) (c) jobs The more pressure on finding a job ( age 30-40), the more vowel reduction was used.
(4) conclusions 1. (a) + (b) The more one try to be natives, the more s/he used vowel reduction. 2. (c) The more one wanted to be recognized, the more vowel reduction s/he used. social factors: Vowel reduction is an indicator for the identity of Martha’s Vineyard.
3.2 The r-variation in New York (Labov) (1) r-color (V) or (X) in New York City r-color: the sound after a vowel ( V ) the silent after a vowel ( X ) (2) Labov’s assumption r-color an indicator for one’s social status The better one’s social status, the more r-color was retained clerks served as a social mirror better social status customers r-color (V) inferior social status customers r-color (X)
(3) experiments (a) three stores of different customers better social status: Saks 5th Avenue good social status: Macy’s lower social status: St. Klein (b) procedures Labov went to “the fourth floor” (r-color words) asked the clerks: Where can I buy “shoes”? (see what was sold there) asked twice (one, casual & the other, more careful) went to a corner & wrote down what he heard
(5) Implications (a) r-color & social status The r-color has much to do with social status. Saks (62 %) > Macy’s (51%) > St.Klen(20%) (b) more r-color, more careful circumstances No matter which store Labov visited, clerks used more r-color in careful circumstances. (c) r-color, customers of better social status In Saks, which was a fine store, there was no great difference between casual and careful talks, implying that clerks were treated to speak English with r-color, because customers coming to this store were of better social status.
Conclusions (vowel reduction in Martha’s Vineyard & r-variation in New York City) (1) Sound change is not merely limited to regional difference. (2)Social difference would be an important factor for a sound change (Some sound change is motivated by social factors).
4. Language and gender 4.1 Different Evaluation in Gender 4.2 Social Expectation 4.3 Gender in Language Use
4.1 Different Evaluation in Gender language seems to be created by man Most words directly refer to man only in English vocabulary. man human beings (human, containing man) chairman good jobs are for man only (chairman) housewife heavy duty / hard-working for woman (housewife, woman)
a gender prejudice ? the experiments (240 subjects) Q1: My friend is a distinguish physician in a hospital. What gender do you think s/he is? Q2: My friend is a very qualified nurse in a hospital. What gender do you think s/he is? results: the physician (male: 72 %) & the nurse (female: 84 %) implication: a better job for males, a gender prejudice for jobs
men & women in words (not equally treated) (a) Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent… (Where were our mothers?) (b) surface (no great difference) & meaning (quite different)
4.2 Social Expectation (1) psychological expectations for children a female baby: room (pink), toys (dolls) a male baby: toys (tanks, trucks, cars, guns…) (2) the modifier for female & male female: attractive, adorable, charming, lovely, beautiful, pretty, graceful, slender, tempting, cute, quite, gentle, plain, considerate, passionate… male: manly, strong, generous, handsome, talented, genius, gifted, ambitious…
(3) Expectations of parents in name-given in Chinese girls:Shu-jing (淑靜), to be clever and quiet Ya-hui(雅慧), to be graceful and full of wisdom, Yi-wen (怡雯), to be happy and quiet boys: Jian-haou (健豪), to be strong and ambitious, Bian-xian(秉憲), to be abiding by the constitution Zhi-jian(志堅), to be insistent with a strong will (4) Summary social expectation of males and females is different socially defined > biologically defined language is a mirror reflecting what we want in our mind