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Intro to Sociolinguistics. An exploration into the relationship between language and culture. Fundamental Question. a. What is the relationship between language and culture? b. Humans are the only animal to have culture . c. Humans are the only animal to have language.

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intro to sociolinguistics

Intro to Sociolinguistics

An exploration into the relationship between language and culture.

fundamental question
Fundamental Question

a.What is the relationship between language and culture?

b.Humans are the only animal to have culture.

c.Humans are the only animal to have language.

d. How do the two connect?

e. What is language? “what members of a particular society speak” (Wardhaugh 1).

different meanings of language
Different Meanings of Language

a.I know I don't speak English correctly.

b.Most French-Canadians prefer to speak French, even though they can

speak English too.

c. The treaty wasn't ready to sign until both sides had a chance to look over

the language.

d. A polyglot is someone who knows many languages. A linguist is someone

who can analyze language structure.

e. English is the most widely-spoken language in the world.

f.American thought and language.

g.I need to work on my language skills.

h. When Fred speaks to Sam, sometimes he uses English and sometimes Arabic.

three views of language
Three Views of Language
  • Language as Grammar:
  • Language as communication:
  • Language as thing:
language as grammar
Language as Grammar

The object of a science of linguistics (Saussure).

noam chomsky 1928
Noam Chomsky (1928-)
  • Syntactic Structures
  • Review of Skinner: ‘Verbal Behavior’ (1959)

Universal Grammar

difference between surface structure and deep structure in language

  • Three sub-systems
  • Representational
  • Phonology (sounds), graphic, gestural
  • Lexical
  • morphology; words and morphemes
  • (Syn)tactic = syntax
language as communication
Language as communication
  • Language as Text.
  • The Interaction of People
  • The Interpretation of Texts
  • What do you communicate? Ideas? Emotions? Intentions?
  • How do you communicate?
  • Messages:
  • The interpretation of messages
  • The construction of messages
language as thing
Language as thing
  • Language as an element in social constructs.
  • Language planning, code switching, dialect debates.
note to distinguish between and language and communication look at the following questions
Note: to distinguish between and language and communication, look at the following questions:

1. Is language as Dawkins suggests part of the DNA of homosapiens?

2. Is there a “creative” component (the horrible honeybee story)

competence v performance
Competence v. Performance

Langue v parole

Structure v event

Structural v communicative

universal v dialect

approaches to language and culture
Approaches to language and culture

Wardhaugh, quite sensibly, argues that sociolinguistics is both macrolinguistic and microlinguistic:

  • Microlinguistic-- language emphasis
  • Macrolinguistics – social emphasis
  • Whorf, Politeness; French Structuralism (Lévi-Strauss).

Communicative approaches: p. 14

Language and power (Fairclough), Social construction of reality (Berger and Luckmann); Language and Symbolic Power (Bourdieu); Pragramatics (Austin)

Use Approaches:

Language Planning, Multilingualism

Let’s take five more minutes to chat about discussion questions 2, 5, and 6 on pp. 15 and 16 of Wardhaugh.
relations between language and culture wardhaugh pp 9 11

Relations between language and culture Wardhaugh pp. 9-11

Social structure may influence or determine linguistic structure and/or behaviour

Linguistic structure/behaviour influences or determines social structure (Whorfian hypothesis)

Desperate Definitions: Sociolinguistics is an attempt to find correlations between linguistic structure and social structure
Sociolinguists “whatever it is, is about asking important questions concerning the relationship of language to society” (Wardhaugh 11)
this is not reassuring
This is not reassuring
  • Even our textbook seems unable to give us a straightforward, agreed upon definition of sociolinguistics.
  • Let’s try the discussion questions on page 12 of Wardhaugh. Get into groups of 4 or 5 and take 15 minutes to go over questions 1 and 2.

Methodological principlesWardhaugh p. 181. Cumulative2. Uniformation3. Convergence4. Subordinate shift5. Style shifting6. Attention7. Vernacular8. Formality

more discussion
More Discussion
  • There is a connection between questions 1 and 4 on p. 19 of Wardhaugh. What can we say about historical vs synchronic linguistics, about written vs spoken language?
  • I told you sociolinguistics is squishy. Can you all remind me what we learn about our topic of study from chapter 1 of Wardhaugh and this pitiful powerpoint? What is most important? 3 things? 5 things? 10 things?
  • What will you remember in 10 years about it?
l ron hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
  • All men are your slaves," he once wrote in a diary entry unearthed during a 1984 lawsuit.He reportedly once claimed to have written a manuscript that contained such brutal truths that anyone who read it went insane or committed suicide.