2 SociolinguisticsThe 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 communityA group of people= share a set of norms, rules, and expectation about language use.
3 Sociolinguistics The relationship between language and the society. Linguistics + anthropologyLanguage and cultureLinguistics + sociologyThe role language plays in the organization of social groupsLinguistics + social psychologyIn-group and out-group behaviors
4 Social dialectsHow the linguistic variables (words- pronunciation) differ between groups separated by certain social variables, e.g., ethnicity, economic status, gender, level of education, etc.Social class defines a group of people as having something in commonMiddle classHigh middle classLower-middle classWorking classUsage varies among social classes, and it is these sociolects that sociolinguistics studies
5 Social dialects Accent may indicate social status In Edinburgh Lower-working class people pronounce ‘home’ as ‘he:m’Lower-middle class people pronounce it as ‘ho:m”Structure may also indicate social statusAin’t as ‘I ain’t finishes yet’ is used more by working class people than by middle class
6 Education and occupation Each of us has her own idiolect (personal dialect) but we sound more like those who share similar educational backgroundPeople who went to college speak different than those who didn’te.g. them boys throwed somethin’Education is reflected in occupationDoctors don’t speak like those who clean windowsUniversity professors, bank executives all speak different than those who work in local jobs
7 Education and occupation Labov (1966)Linguistic variable is the pronunciation differences [r] after vowels and the social variables are place of occupation + socio-economic statusHe looked at three New York department stores, one with upper-middle-class status, and one with middle-class status and another with working-class status.He asked ‘Where are the women’s shoes’?The higher the socio-economic the more [r] is pronounced.
8 Education and occupation Trudgill (1974) in Reading, EnglandLinguistic variable [r] and social variable is the social classIt has an opposite social value than in New York.Upper class pronounce the [r] fewer than lower classesOh, that’s mahvellous, dahling!
9 Social markersThe significance of the linguistic variable [r] can be the opposite in terms of social status in two different- it functions as a social markerHaving the feature marks you as a member of a particular group
10 Social markersAnother social markers is the final pronunciation of [ŋ] as [n] as a marker of less education and lower social statuse.g. drinkin’ , sittin’ , playin’The dropping of initial ‘h’ is associated with less education and lower social statusE.g I’m so ‘ungry I could eat an ‘orse
11 Speech style and style-shifting Speech style= a way of speaking that is either formal/careful or informal/casualA change from one to another is called ‘style-shifting’Middle-class people are more likely to shift styles (Labov, 1966)They sense that the a certain linguistic feature may be ‘better’ in terms of social status
12 PrestigeA prestige dialect is the dialect spoken by the most prestigious people in a speech communityOvert prestige- status that is generally recognized as ‘better’ or more positively valued in the communityCovert prestige- the status of a feature as having positive but ‘hidden’ value or not valued as such among the larger community
13 Speech accommodationSpeech accommodation-our ability to modify our speech toward or away from the perceived style of the person we’re talking to.Convergence- reduced social distanceC’mon Tony, gizzalook, gizzalookExcuse me, Could I have a look at your photo too Mrs. Hall? (Holmes, 1992)Divergence- emphasizes social distanceTEEN: I can’t do it, sir.TEACHER: oh, come on. If I can do it, you can.TEEN: Look, I cannae dae it so..
14 Register A variety that is appropriate in a specific context Situational (e.g. in church)Occupational (e.g. among lawyers)Topical (e.g. talking about languages)The morphology of this dialect contains fewer inflectional suffixesLinguistic register- the use of special jargon
15 Jargon ‘Insider’ vs. ‘outsider’ The defining feature of register is the use of jargon.Technical vocabulary associated with special activity or groupDoctorsLinguists (e.g. suffix, inflection)Computer specialists‘Insider’ vs. ‘outsider’
16 SlangWords or phrases used instead of everyday speech by those who are outside higher-status groupsE.g. ‘buck’ (dollar)It is used as a marker of social group especially among young people.Slang expressions can ‘grow old’ quickly.Taboo terms- words and phrases that people avoid- religious, politeness, or prohibited behaviorSwear words
17 Social barrierA phenomenon such as discrimination and segregation that separates social groups and creates marked differences in social dialects.African American English (AAE)Often labeled as ‘bad language’Has covert prestige
18 Vernacular language African American Vernacular English (AAVE) Vernacular- social dialect spoken by a lower-status social groupSoundsReduce final consonant clusterLeft hand – ‘lef han’Dental consonants are pronounced as alveolar stops‘think, that’ – ‘tink, dat’
19 AAVE Morphology Grammar Dropping of possessive ‘s and third person singularDropping of the plural ‘sTwo guy – one of my friendGrammarDouble negativeHe don’t know nothingI ain’t afraid of no ghostsAbsence of verb to beYou crazyShe workin’ now