Presentation on theme: "Handbook of Language & Ethnic Identity, ch. 11 Sociolinguistics Joshua Fishman."— Presentation transcript:
Handbook of Language & Ethnic Identity, ch. 11 Sociolinguistics Joshua Fishman
Sociolinguistic perspective Sociolinguistic includes “the more sociological and the more linguistic aspects of a growing awareness that language use and language behaviors (including both language structure and a variety of behaviors toward languages) vary in accord with the social contexts in which they transpire.”
How many kinds of French? There is not just one French, but many, sometimes within the repertoire of a single speaker, modulated according to: –Context of use –Social class –Education This is true of all languages, but variation within a language is harder to monitor than variation between languages
Variation in Ethnolinguistic Saliency An individual may belong to many groups An individual’s ethnic identity may be more salient in some contexts than in others The salience of using a specific language may also depend on context – when more than one language may be used, what prompts speakers to choose one over the other? When salience is high, speakers are more likely to promote their identity and language
Variation in Language Attitudes and Language Functions Attitudes are not always logically linked to functionality – e.g. English which enjoys huge functionality but is still perceived by the “English- only” factions as being threatened… There is a great growth in standardization and literacy in lesser languages, and literacy is now supported in over ¼ of the world’s languages. What about the other three-fourths?
What is Diglossia? When a language community uses two languages for two distinctive purposes (e.g., speech vs. writing) Accepting diglossia (with English or another major language) may help many smaller languages to survive VS.
Summary so far: Contextual variation – grievance and contrast heighten ethnolinguistic saliency Functionality – advantageous functions heighten ethnolinguistic saliency Attitudinal-functional mismatch – attitudes toward languages are often irrational, not informed by actual functionality
Variation in language policies Policies are adopted to foster (or hamper) and to modernize (or archaize) one or more languages of a community’s repertoire Can you name some examples of language planning?
Examples of language planning: Noah Webster and a distinctively American Federal English French protected in France and Quebec Academies and gov’t agencies that protect late- modernizing and minority languages –Corpus planning: lexicons, orthographies, grammars, phonologies –Status planning: acquisition of power-related functions 2/3 of world’s languages are endangered, but it seems that most are trying to survive
Variations in Language Policy The need for economic survival is ultimately the most important factor, forcing many groups to become diglossic in order to survive Basques, for example, eschew diglossia, but seek universal bilingualism – so everything inside Basque country will be in Basque, but Spanish/French will be used to communicate outside the community
“Outside” – “Inside” Insiders experience the link between language and ethnicity positively, as something romantic and essential This energy can also be genocidal
Conclusions The language and ethnicity link is strongest when –there are collective grievances –It rewards competitive late modernizers –It is fostered by language policies that pursue status or corpus planning Cf. ethnic revivals in 1960s-70s in W. Europe and US
Conclusions, cont’d. Two seemingly contradictory trends: –A few mega-languages are spreading –Small local languages are gaining status Why isn’t this a contradiction?
Conclusions, cont’d. Two seemingly contradictory trends: –A few mega-languages are spreading –Small local languages are gaining status Why isn’t this a contradiction? –Because bi- and multi-lingualism make it advantageous for many people to promote a local language and at the same time use another language for economic and political purposes