Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Chapters 5 and 6 – Speech Communities and Language Variation    Top left: Greek Bottom left: Cherokee Middle: Arabic Top right: Russian.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Chapters 5 and 6 – Speech Communities and Language Variation    Top left: Greek Bottom left: Cherokee Middle: Arabic Top right: Russian."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapters 5 and 6 – Speech Communities and Language Variation    Top left: Greek Bottom left: Cherokee Middle: Arabic Top right: Russian

2 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.

3 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


5 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

6 “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)

7 “…a search for the various characteristics which make individuals feel that they are members of the same community” (Wardhaugh 118)

8 “r” dropping in NY, though commonly done, is considered “low” pahk de cah “r” dropping in South England is considered “posh” ‘fahthah’

9 “h” dropping considered low in South England but normal in most American dialects Eliza Doolittle vs “it’s erbal Herb”

10 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)

11 Language and Culture not always connected:

12 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)

13 Groups in North America with culture but not language? Which ones Are these “speech communities?” Magdalene College, Cambridge!

14 Hypercorrection Lower Middle Class speakers sometimes use prestige features at a greater rate than Upper Middle Class speakers. And LMC speakers use stigmatized features at a lower rate than the UMC. Because the LMC wish to achieve the next higher level of status, they attempt to talk like members of the next higher class, but they go too far.

15 Gender and Language Variation Trudgill also studied the effect of gender on variation in word-final –ing in words like running (runnin') and swimming (swimmin'). He found that women tend to use more standard language features than men. And men tend to use more vernacular forms in their speech.

16 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.

17 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

18 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…

19 Look at questions 1 and 2 on p. 126

20 What is Social Class? Social class involves grouping people together and according them status within society according to the groups they belong to. What is Social Class? A number of modern thinkers have tried to define what makes a particular “social class.” – Is it accent? –…neighborhood? –…occupation? –…income? –…wealth?

21 Determinants of Social Class Personal performance – Education – Occupation – Income – Awards and achievements Wealth – Amount – Source Social orientation – Interactions – Class consciousness – Value orientation

22 The United States of America is a classless and egalitarian society!! Do you agree or disagree?

23 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 economically disadvantaged

24 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

25 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

26 Variables of Social Class Power – The degree to which a person can control other people Wealth – Objects or symbols owned by people which have value attached to them Prestige – The degree of respect, favorable regard, or importance accorded to a person by members of society

27 Networks and Repetoires Various network relationships on p 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.

28 Social Class and Speech Style Peter Trudgill studied variation in word-final ing in 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 styles parallels variation across social class. What method is used in our accent presentations? Should we include class?

29 Now it is time for a ten minute break. When you return, we will do 10 to 15 accent presentations

30 Language Variation Dialects

31 Language Variation Dialects Regional Dialects (geography) Social Dialects (class, group, ethnicity, etc)

32 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

33 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

34 Dialects in Middle English At least five Kentish Southern Northern East-Midland West-Midland

35 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.

36 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.

37 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.

38 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).

39 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.

40 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.

41 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.


43 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




47 Examples from some Middle English Dialects We’ll use the ELMO for this.

48 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

49 The Soda pop page

50 American Dialect page (note area for San Francisco dialect) 1906/dialects.html

51 Linguistic Atlas of the US and Canada “The selection of informants tends not to be very well controlled” Wardhaugh 137 Broken down into simplified categories like high, middle, and low class – no education, some education, superior education – old, middle aged, young Most studies tend to prefer older people One survey of British dialects instructed researchers to choose informants who were over sixty, at least second generation, and had good teeth

52 Dialects remember two kinds Geographical dialects. We’ve just done. Social dialects. We discussed social dialect and class in the first part of this powerpoint.

53 William Labov Sociolinguist who we mentioned in the first part of this presentation Interested in class and did most of his studies in New York City.

54 Linguistic Variable A linguistic item which has identified variants. Fishin / fishing/ fishen Car / cah With / wit / wif Latin / la?in thirty / thirdy Coffee / cowfee “It was a macao Tom not a parrot!” He’s happy / he be happy / he happy Climbed / clomb Look for a present for my mom / look for my mom a present

55 Labov also uses indicator, marker, stereotype Indicator: a linguistic variable without social importance. Cot/caught. merry/marry/Mary Marker: a linguistic variable with social significance. Car/cah, schedule/shedule, Magdalene college/ Maudlin college, Down Below/LA, Los Angeles/Los Angeles, The City/Frisco? Stereotype: a popular and therefore concious characterization of speech of a group. Boid for NY, Chap for Brit, Howdy partner, dude for Ca

56 William Labov’s Department Store Study Saks Fifth Avenue – At 50th Street and 5th Avenue, near the center of the high fashion shopping district Macy's – Herald Square. 34th Street and Sixth Avenue, near the garment district S. Klein – Union Square. 14th Street and Broadway, not far from the Lower East Side

57 Discussion Questions on p What is a shibboleth? 3. What linguistic variables might be usefully investigated in our part of the world? What kind of variations have you noticed? 4. Examples where people hypercorrect and get things wrong? English avacado? 5. What’s wrong with double negatives?

58 Hypercorrection It is I. We want to sound high class sometimes, so we say and write things that are stilted and/or purple. The upper class often don’t care what fork they use and use slang with relish. Middle class people sometimes reveal themselves as middle class by being too proper in dress, behaviour, and language.

59 Labov and class In one study (Wardhaugh 147) Labov used education, occupation, and income to set up ten social classes. What class are you? How can we tell? House size? In AV there wasn’t much variation, now there is. Do people with really big houses act and speak differently?

60 Idiolects and Sociolects Idiolect (idios Greek “self” lect “speech” as in lecture): speech characteristics and linguistic behaviour of individuals Sociolect: speech characteristics of members of social groups

61 Idiolects How can we tell if someone is speaking in a unique way because of individual difference rather than dialect? Clint Eastwood? Truman Capote? Johny Depp as Willy Wonka? Carol Channing? Fran Drescher? George Bush?

62 Data Collection How to we properly design and deliver and analyze our studies Observer’s paradox, how can we adjust for our own biases Can any sociolinguistic study be completely objective and clean? Questionnaires

63 Questionnaires: four-fold distinctions 1. Casual situation 2. An interview 3. Reading aloud a story 4. Reading aloud a list of word pairs

64 Casual and careful speech We should try to distinguish whether the speech involved is casual or careful What is the speech of the Please call Stella speakers? Does it vary from speaker to speaker?

65 Please call Stella Are there any words that are clear linguistic variables in the paragraph? What is the different between the accent of a native speaker and the accent of a learner?

66 Random Sample or Judgment Sample Random: usually better way to do it. It is more objective, but more difficult to do. Judgment sample: an investigator chooses subjects according to a set of criteria: age, gender, social class, education, etc… These are the kind of samples that sociolinguists usually take

67 Dependent and independent variables The linguistic variable in these studies is the dependent variable – the difference that we are interested in. Other variables may be incidental or unrelated to the correlation being studied. Statisticians consider most of these sociolinguistic studies to lack sufficient rigour.

68 Sociolinguistics and scientific studies Sociolinguists need to collect reliable data, but how can they? Since we can not even give satisfactory definitions of sociolingustics, or language, or society, or dialect, or creole, how can we do scientific studies in this field?

69 Epistemic relativism vs Logical Positivism Relativism: sociolinguistic studies are not useful because all linguistic norms are relative. Jibberish or the sound of gas escaping from a tube is as important and interesting as human speech Logical positivism: since we can not be sure about any of these claims, we should not make any claims. We need scientific proof. Theoretical linguistics is about universals. It is rigorous and highly structured.

70 Is Sociolinguistics A science A social science Part of the humanities A liberal studies requirement


72 Nonhuman Communication - Washoe Born 1965 Taught ASL 1966 Mastered 100s of signs First nonhuman to learn language

73 Nonhuman Communication - Lana Taught with keyboard, 1970s Able to use and combine signs

74 Nonhuman Communication - Koko 1970s, first gorilla taught ASL IQ of 85 at 4 years old Koko learning ASL Koko on AOL

75 Nonhuman Communication – Nim Chimpsky 1980s taught ASL Wouldn’t initiate conversation Never signed to other chimps Nim Chimpsky and his namesake, the famed linguist Noam Chomsky

76 Nonhuman Communication - Kanzi 1980s, communicates with lexigrams Vocabulary of 90 symbols Could understand English Command of syntax

77 Nonhuman Communication – Jane Goodall Gombe Game Reserve Chimps need stimulus to make sounds Since 1960s

78 Animal v. Human Communication Four differences: Productivity (infinite expressions) Displacement (past, present, future) Arbitrariness (no link between word and sound) Combining sounds (phonemes) Dime versus dine or lock versus rock in English English has 45 phonemes; Italian 27; Hawaiian 13 Nonhuman animals cannot combine sounds (1:1 correspondence of sounds)

79 Anatomy of Language Brain Size Laterality Wernicke’s area Broca’s area Motor cortex

80 Sociolinguistics Like descriptive linguistics in a way, in that sociolinguists are concerned with the ethnography of speaking—cultural and subcultural patterns of speech variation in different social contexts. Examples: Pronunciation and dialects Honorifics and social status Gender differences Multilingualism

81 Anatomy of Language Respiratory System Larger lung capacity Larynx, pharynx Tongue, lips, nose Hyoid

82 Structure of Language Phonology (sounds) Morphology (words) Syntax (sentence structure) Semantics (meaning) Pragmatics or grammar (rules)

83 Structure of Language - Phonology The study of sounds of a language. No human language uses all the sounds humans can make. IPA – International Phonetic Alphabet Phonemes and phones /l/ and /r/ = phonemes (English has 40) /p/ and /ph/ = phones Ghoti = fish (tough, women, position) Other sounds Tones, nasals, clicks (Genesis in the !Kung language)

84 Structure of Language - Morphology Morphemes are the smallest units of language. Words (dog, cat) = free morphemes Prefixes (un-, sub-) Syllables (-s, -ly ) Declining and conjugating Verbs are conjugated (am, are, is) Nouns are declined in some languages Latin, Greek, German, Russian, etc. Word form changes based on position in sentence. = bound morphemes

85 Structure of Language - Syntax Rules for how to put together sentences and phrases. Six possible arrangements, based on Subject, Verb, Object English is SVO = The girl will hit the boy. Forming questions: English = V 1 SV 2 O?

86 Structure of Language - Syntax Example of syntax Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky: ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe. All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe. VerbNounAdjective

87 Structure of Language - Semantics The meaning of symbols, words, phrases, and sentences of a language. Ethnosemantics and kinship terms Aunt/uncle versus non-gendered cousin

88 Evolution of Language Old Theories: “bowwow” and “ding-dong” Locke, B.F. Skinner, Descartes New Theories: Noam Chomsky Universal and generative grammar Principles and parameters Creoles, pidgins, and EbonicsEbonics Sapir-Whorf

89 Historical Linguistics Focuses on how language changes over time and how languages relate to one another. Anthropologists are interested in cultural features that correlate with language families. Reconstruction of languages: Proto-Indo-European Sino-Tibetan Linguistic divergence Gradual or by force

90 Historical Linguistics – Old English Compare Old, Middle, and Modern English Beowulf (Old English): Hwæt! We Gardena in geardagum, þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon, hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon. Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum, monegum mægþum, meodosetla ofteah, egsode eorlas. Lo, praise of the prowess of people- kings of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped, we have heard, and what honor the athelings won! Oft Scyld the Scefing tore the mead-bench from squadroned foes, from many a tribe awing the earls.

91 Historical Linguistics – Middle English The Canterbury Tales (Middle English): This worthy lymytour, this noble Frere, He made alwey a maner louryng chiere Upon the Somonour, but for honestee No vileyns word as yet to hym spak he. This worthy limiter, this noble friar, He turned always a lowering face, and dire, Upon the summoner, but for courtesy No rude and insolent word as yet spoke he.

92 Descriptive Linguistics Also called structural linguistics Tries to discover the rules of phonology, morphology, and syntax of another language, especially those with no written dictionary or grammar. Seeks to discover language rules that are not written down but are discoverable in actual speech.

93 Fun Stuff Language as art Calligraphy Illumination Left to Right: Chinese Greek Arabic English

94 Fun Stuff Internet and English … as a tool of mass communication … as a way to propagate non-standard English … as a dialect, or a linguistic event? Romeo & Juliet - IM style

Download ppt "Chapters 5 and 6 – Speech Communities and Language Variation    Top left: Greek Bottom left: Cherokee Middle: Arabic Top right: Russian."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google