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Social Dialectology Ch.3 Measuring the Cause of Variation Defining a Linguistic Variable Social Factors Related to Variation Identifying Variation in.

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Presentation on theme: "Social Dialectology Ch.3 Measuring the Cause of Variation Defining a Linguistic Variable Social Factors Related to Variation Identifying Variation in."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Social Dialectology Ch.3 Measuring the Cause of Variation Defining a Linguistic Variable Social Factors Related to Variation Identifying Variation in Spoken and Written Texts

3 Various Views of Language Variation Earlier Explanations Dialect Mixture: Implies the coexistence in one locality of 2 or more dialects which enables a speaker to draw on one dialect at one time, and on the other dialect(s) on other occasions. Free Variation: Refers to the random use of alternate forms within a particular dialect. Labov’s Variationist Theory Language involved ‘structured heterogeneity.’ Language contained systematic variation which could be characterized and explained by patterns of social differentiation within speech communities.

4 Terminology of Dialectology Linguistic Variable: Any single feature of language that could be realized by choice; can be phonological, lexical, morphological, etc. Variant is a term for different ways the feature is used. Hypercorrection: When the lower middle class uses more of an elite form than the high-status group. It reflects their desire to distance self from working class. Overt Prestige: Use of linguistic variants to show higher social status. Covert Prestige: Working class speech that conforms to local values and norms instead, in order to mark solidarity. Ethnolect: A variety of language that differs from the general patterns of wider society, based on a sense of identity through ancestry, religion, and culture. Vernacular: The least self-conscious style of speech used in relaxed, informal situations. This style shows more regular rules of variation.

5 Fieldwork Methods: Measuring Causes of Variation Sociolinguistic Interview Participant Observation Anonymous Surveys Field Experiments

6 Sociolinguistic Interview Samples representative of population In context (avoid observer’s paradox) Informal personal interview Interviewee leads in teaching about “local ways and attitudes”

7 Participant Observation Researcher works in setting gathering data Insider/outsider status Example: Labov uses it to study language of gangs in NYC as well as Philadelphia neighborhoods

8 Anonymous Surveys Random sample 15 minutes on phone Used to supplement other methods

9 Case study #1 Children in New England (p. 77) Brief interviews from formal (ex: classroom recitation of a story) to informal settings. Girls use more –ing than boys ‘Model’ boys use more –ing than “typical” boys

10 Case Study #2 Martha’s Vineyard Methods: 69 tape- recorded interviews. Labov assigned a number to each of 4 possible responses and, using averages, created an index of linguistic use of feature according to age group. Variations: –2 diphthongs [aI] & [əI] –Scores increase as one scans down the column –Reduced levels of centralization in one group Age in yearsIndex Score for (aI)

11 Case Study #3 NYC Dept. Store Methods: Labov pretended to be a customer at three large department stores used by different classes. He recorded 264 salespeople saying “fourth floor.” as well as their gender, race, age. Variations: → Postvocalic /r/ variations 62% Saks 51% Macy’s 20% Klein’s Deliberate Usage

12 Case Study #3: NYC Lg Study Variations: (th) variable pg 88 –Most non-fric forms occurred in casual speech for all groups. –Decreasing frequency through more formal style. –Sharply stratified char btwn the WC and LMC.

13 Case Study # 3: NYC Lg Study Variations: Postvocalic (r) pg 89 Methods: Extensive interviews recording continuous speech, short passage, word list, word pairs –A fine stratification –Casual Speech level: only UMC shows significant degree of r-pronunciation. –All groups increase from informal to formal styles. –LMC shows greater increase in the use of [r], until the word list and minimal pair styles. Overtake UMC.

14 Case Study # 4 Class Differences in Norwich Methods: Detailed socioling. interview with fifty adults, ten school children, to generalize about norms of city. Variations: –Sharply stratified. –Gap btwn norms of MC and WC. –Males: Covert Prestige –Females: Overt Prestige MMC100% LMC98% UWC30% MWC13% LWC (the GA slave class) 3%

15 Case Study # 5: Class Struggles in Cane Walk Methods: Interview recording using phonetic spelling for a Creole that’s only spoken. Variations: –WC: Used standard variants only 18 % of the time. –LMC: Used it 83% of time.

16 Social Factors? What are the social implications that affect the variations in these case studies Break up into 5 groups and come up with one social factor for each case study gender, class, age personality –Aggressive –Cooperative mood –Tense –relaxed formality SES ethnicity occupation geographic local school norms residents vs. seasonal res. attitude identity hypercorrection & covert / overt prestige standard vs. creole usage

17 Outline and Label the possible variations on this map of the US:


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