Chapter 8: Language and Society
8.1 The scope of sociolinguistics Definition Relatedness between language and society Speech community and speech variety Two approaches to sociolinguistic studies
Definition Sociolinguistics is the sub-field of linguistics that studies the relation between language and society, between the uses of language and the social structures in which the users of language live. 社会结构：人力资源在教育水平、文化类别、宗教、职业、社会地位阶层、组织内雇佣结构等方面的结构。
Relatedness between Language and society (1) 1. While language is principally used to communicate meaning, it is also used to establish and maintain social relationships.
Relatedness between Language and society (2) 2. Users of the same language all speak differently. The kind of language each of them chooses to use is in part determined by his social background. And language, in its turn, reveals information about its speaker.
Relatedness between Language and society (3) 3. To some extent, language, especially the structure of its lexicon, reflects both the physical and the social environments of a society. E.g. Breeze, wind, hurricane, tornado, typhoon…
Relatedness between Language and society (4) 4. As a social phenomenon, language is closely related to the structure of the society in which it is used, and the evaluation of a linguistic form is entirely social.
Speech Community What is a community? What is a speech community ? A community based on language. A a group of people who form a community and share the same language orparticularvariety of language. A a group of people who have the opportunity to interact with each other and who share not just a single language with its related varieties, but also attitudes toward linguistic norms.
Speech Variety Social groups---geographical backgroud; educational backgroud; occupation; gender; age; ethnic affliation Speech variety, or language variety, refers to any distinguishable form of speech used by a speaker or a group of speakers.
Two approaches to sociolinguistic studies Macro-Sociolinguistics Micro-Sociolinguistics
Macro-Sociolinguistics Macro-sociolinguistics is a bird’s-eye view of the languages used in society. It looks at society as a whole and considers how language functions in it and how it reflects the social differentiations.
Micro-Sociolinguistics Micro-sociolinguistics is a worm’s-eye view of language in use. It looks at society from the point of view of and individual member within it.
8.2 Varieties of language Dialects: varieties related to the user Registers: varieties related to the use Degree of formality
Dialectal varieties1. Regional dialects2. Sociolect3. Language and gender 4. Language and age 5. Idiolect 6. Ethnic dialect
1. Regional dialects A regional dialect is a linguistic variety used by people living in the same geographical region. Reason ? Trend?
2. Sociolect Sociolect, or social-class dialect, refers to the linguistic variety characteristic of a particular social class. Regional accent: the prestige was low RP: high status marker; a qualification for high prestige employment
3. Language and gender The language used by men and women have some special features of their own. Question: In what ways is language used by women different from that by men? ●Women are usually more status-conscious than men in the English-speaking world. ● Difference in the use of intonations ● Difference in the use of certain lexical items ● Female speech is, on the whole, less assertive and thus sounds to be more polite than male speech.
4. Language and age In many communities the language used by the old generation differs from that used by the younger generation in certain ways. ● Difference at the lexical level ● The root cause: society is changing, and this causes difference in social attitudes, value judgments, etc. between the two generations.
5. Idiolect Idiolect is a personal dialect of an individual speaker that combines elements regarding regional, social, gender, and age variations. In other words, an individual speaker’s regional and social background, his gender and age jointly determine the way he talks. And the language he uses, which bears distinctive features of his own, is his idiolect.
6. Ethnic dialect An ethnic dialect is a social dialect of a language spoken by a less privileged population that has experienced some form of social isolation such as racial discrimination or segregation. Black English
What is linguistic repertoire? The totality of linguistic varieties possessed by an individual constitutes his linguistic repertoire. How to choose? What's your principles? Subject matter Physical setting Participants Medium
What is Register?(Narrow sense &broader sense) relate to one's occupation Register (语域) refers to the type pf language which is selected as appropriate to the type of situation. Three variables to determine the register: Field of discourse 语场 Tenor of discourse 语旨 Mode of discourse 语式
Field of discourse Field of discourse (话语范围) refers to what is going on. It is concerned with the purpose and topic of communication. It answers “Why” and “about what”. determines to a great extent the vocabulary to be used in communication and it also determines the phonological and grammatical features of the language.
Tenor of discourse Tenor of discourse (话语基调) refers to the role of relationship in the situation in question: who are the participants in the communication groups are and in what relationship they stand to each other. It answers “To whom”. determines the level of formality and the level of technicality of the language we use. What is the relation between the speaker and the listener?
4. Mode of discourse Mode of discourse (话语方式) mainly refers to the means of communication. “How” communication is carried out . Speaking and writing
1. General idea Language used on different occasions differs in the degree of formality, which is determined by the social variables. Stylistic varieties
Stylistic varieties Five degrees of formality Frozen Formal Consultative Casual Intimate Different styles can be analyzed at three levels: syntactic, lexical and phonological
Variation at the lexical level More formal Less formal offspring children reply answer tolerate put up with 9. The words “kids, child, offspring” are examples of _____. A. dialectal synonyms B. stylistic synonyms C. emotive synonyms D. collocational synonyms
Definition The standard variety is a superimposed, socially prestigious dialect of a language. It is the language by the government and the judiciary system, used by the mass media, and taught in educational institutions, including school settings where the language is taught as a foreign or second language.
Features of the standard variety 1. It is based on a selected variety of the language, usually it is the local speech of an area which is considered the nation’s political and commercial center. 2. It is not a dialect a child acquires naturally like his regional dialect, rather it is taught and learnt in schools. 3. It has some special functions and it the language used on any formal occasions.
Pidgin Definition: A pidgin is a special language variety that mixes or blends languages and it is used by people who speak different languages for restricted purposes such as trading. Features: limited vocabulary and very reduced grammatical structure
Creole Definition: When a pidgin has become the primary language of a speech community, and is acquired by the children of that speech community as their native language, it is said to have become a Creole. Features: the structure of the original pidgin is expanded, the vocabulary vastly enriched, new syntactic-semantic concepts developed.
9. A special language variety that mixes languages and is used by speakers of different language for purpose of trading is called ____. A. dialect B. idiolect C. pidgin D. register
1. Bilingualism Bilingualism refers to the situation where in some speech communities two languages are used side by side with each having a different role to play, and language switching occurs when the situation changes.
Case in Paraguay Rubin’s 5 major variables to be considered in predicting language use in Paraguay. Location Degree of formality Degree of intimacy of the speakers Degree of seriousness of the discourse Sex of participants
Diglossia Diglossia refers to the situation where in some speech communities two varieties of a language exist side by side throughout the community, with each having a definite role to play. Feature: the specialization of function of the two varieties, each variety being the appropriate language for certain situations with very slight overlapping.