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Language, Society, and Culture

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1 Language, Society, and Culture

2 Sociolinguistics The way one speaks provides clues not only to a person’s regional background but also to his social one, e.g. his/her education and economic status. Speech is a form of social identity. Language indicates the membership of different social group- speech community. Speech community A group of people= share a set of norms, rules, and expectation about language use.

3 The Relationship between Language and Society
Linguistics + anthropology Language and culture Linguistics + sociology The role language plays in the organization of social groups Linguistics + social psychology In-group and out-group behaviors

4 (investigation of language and culture)
Speech community Group of people who share a set of norms, rules and expectations regarding the use of language Anthropology (investigation of language and culture) Sociolinguistics Sociology (role that language plays in social groups and institutions) Psychology (how attitudes and perceptions are expressed) Inter-relationships between language and society

5 Varieties of language used by groups defined
Social Dialects Varieties of language used by groups defined Education Other social parameters Class Age Sex

6 In social dialects… Over prestige Positively valued ways pf speaking in social communities Prestige Non –standard forms and expressions by certain sub-groups Covert prestige

7 Differences in pronunciation among social classes from the same place.
SOCIAL DIALECTS EDUCATION SOCIAL CLASS A person who spends a long time going through college or university will tend to have spoken language features. Differences in pronunciation among social classes from the same place.

8 Differ in form and pronunciation
Social Class Language And Education Upper class and more educated Tend to use more complicated forms Lower class and less educated Tend to simplify the way of speaking

9 are also factors that can determine language variety Age and gender
MALE SPEAKERS FEMALE SPEAKERS Elder people may talk a bit different from youngers Tend to use simpler ways of speaking Tend to use more sophisticated language

10 Importan form to determine languages
ETHNIC BACKGROUND Importan form to determine languages Is easy to identify people’s belonging place Black English Vernacular (speech of many African- Americans)

11 Dialect of each individual speaker of a language
IDIOLECT Dialect of each individual speaker of a language Voice quality Physical state Contribute to identifying features in an individual’s speech

12 Job interview, business letters, etc.
Formal Spoken or Written Job interview, business letters, etc. Style Informal Spoken or Written Speaking to a friend or writing to him.

13 Relations between Language and Culture
Structure of language determines the way that speakers of that language view the world. Culture is reflected in language. Cultural requirements do not determine structure of language, but influence how it is used.

14 Sapir-Whorf/Whorfian Hypothesis
Edward Sapir: Human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society. It is quite an illusion to imagine that one adjusts to reality essentially without the use of language.

15 Sapir’s Idea The fact of the matter is that the “real world” is unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group. We see and hear and…experience very largely as we do because the language habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation.

16 Benjamin Lee Whorf The background linguistic system (in other words the grammar) of each language is not merely a reproducing instrument for voicing ideas but rather is itself the shaper of ideas…the guide for individual’s mental activity…Formulation of ideas is not an independent process, but…is part of particular grammar…

17 Then… Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis = the structure of a language affects the way in which its speakers conceptualize the World. Different speakers will view the world differently in so far as the languages they speak differ structurally. Our language controls our world view, thus speakers of different languages will have different world views.

18 What to write for week 4: The Role of Language in Society
The Influence of Society and Culture to the Language

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