2 IntroductionDefinitionsSociolinguistics: 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. (Dai and He, 2002, p. 111)Sociolinguistics is the field that studies the relation between language and society, between the uses of language and the social structures in which the users of language live. It is a field of study that assumes that human society is made up of many related patterns and behaviours, some of which are linguistic. (Spolsky, 2000, p. 3)Sociolinguistics: the study of linguistic behavior as determined by sociocultural factors.(Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=sociolinguistics)
3 The study of language and linguistic behavior as influenced by social and cultural factors. (Sociolinguistics is the study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used.(Wikipedia:
4 Language and societySocial factors must be included in description of language and language use.Language is not only used to communicate meaning, but also maintain social relationships.What and how we speak may reflect ourselves.Lexicon reflects both physical and the social environments of a society.Judgments on language may vary among linguists and ordinary people.
5 Speech community and speech variety General linguists and sociolinguists look at speech community differently. In a speech community there are different kinds of social groups which are divided in different ways (educational background, occupation, gender, age, ethnic affiliation)Speech variety: any distinguishable form of speech used by a speaker or a group of speaker. (three types: regional dialects, sociolects, registers)
6 Varieties of languageDialectal varietiesRegional dialectGeographical barriers; loyalty to one’s native speech, physical and psychological resistance to changeMedia, transport and young people’s values may reduce the difference between varieties.
7 SociolectSocial dialect has to do with separation brought about by different social conditions. Differences in sociolects can be reflected in pronunciation, grammar and othersPronunciation: [n] for ; RP (Received Pronunciation)Grammar: third-person present-tense singular form of verbs; double negationOthers: (maybe combined)Speaker A Speaker BI did it yesterday. I done it yesterday.He hasn’t got it. He ain’t got it.It was she that said it. It was her what said it.
8 Language and genderDifference in pronunciation. (women are more status-conscious than men)Difference in intonation (female speakers have a wider range in intonation)Difference in lexicon (some adjectives used more frequently by female)Women are more polite and milderLanguage and ageThe difference may come from the changing of society, social attitudes and value judgments.
9 IdiolectA person’s dialect of an individual speaker. (factors: region, social status, gender, age; reflected in: voice quality, pitch, speech tempo, rhythm)Ethnic dialectMay be caused by racial discrimination or segregation.Black English is just another non-standard variety of English.Difference between black English and standard English in pronunciation and syntax.Passed [p:s], mend [men], desk [des], told [tl]He don’t know nothing. (He doesn’t know anything.)I ain’t afraid of no ghosts. (I’m not afraid of ghosts.)
10 RegisterThe type of language which is selected as appropriate to the type of situation.Field (语场): refer to what is going on, subject matter of communicationTenor (语旨): refer to the role of relationship between the communicatorsMode (语式): refer to the means of communication (oral or written (read or spoken))e.g. a lecture on biology in a technical collegeField: scientific (biological)Tenor: teacher – students (formal, polite)Mode: oral (academic lecturing)
11 Degree of formalityMartin Joos’s five degrees of formalityFrozen: Visitors would make their way at once to the upper floor by way of the staircase.Formal: Visitors should to up the stairs at onceConsultative: Would you mind going upstairs right away, please?Casual: Time you al went upstairs now.Intimate: Up you go, chap!
12 Different styles can be characterized through differences at three levels: syntactic, lexical and phonological.In syntax (see p. 121)In lexiconMore formal Less formalOffspring childrendecease dieperuse readreply answerparticipate in take part inencounter come acrosstolerate put up withIn address forms (Sir, Mr. Smith, Professor Smith, Smith, Frederick, Fred, Mate, Uncle, Fred, Dad)
13 Standard dialectThe standard variety is a superimposed, socially prestigious dialect of a language.It is based on a selected variety, the local speech of an area considered the nation’s political and cultural center.It is superimposed from the upper level of the society over the range of regional dialects. It is officially standardized.
14 Pidgin and CreoleA 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.Formed by combining a European language and local oneLimited vocabulary and very reduce grammatical structurePidgin may be extended to Creole
15 Bilingualism and diglossia Two languages are used side by side with each having a different role to playRobin’s five variables concerning the usage:Location of the interactionFormality-informality of the interactionDegree of intimacy of the speakersDegree of seriousness of the discourseSex of the participantsBilingualism occurs in areas where there are immigrants or children of immigrantsDiglossia (双变体): two varieties of a language exist side by side throughout the community with each having a definite role to play. Each variety is the appropriate language for certain situations with very slight overlapping.
16 TaskDo the following as written exercise:2. Explain with an example that the evaluation of language is social rather than linguistic.ReferencesDai, W. D & He, Z. X. (2002). A new concise course on linguistics for students of English. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.Spolsky, B. (2000). Sociolinguistics. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education PressMerriam-Webster Online Dictionary:Wikipedia: