Presentation on theme: "Language, place and class"— Presentation transcript:
1 Language, place and class Regional and social variation
2 A storyA man migrated from Wales to southern England in the 1920s. He took his 5 year old daughter to the village school and introduced her to the headmaster saying “I’ve brought you a new scholar” . The headmaster replied “She’ll be the first one we’ve ever had here”. The man was not a coward – he had a dangerous job and had fought in France and Palestine in WW I. --
3 continuedbut he was very afraid since he was obviously in the presence of a raving lunatic He could clearly see a hundred scholars running around the playground.Was the headmaster really insane?
4 continuedNo.There was a difference in dialect. In Wales a scholar was someone who went to school. In England it referred to a knowledgeable person.
5 Study of social and regional differences 19th and early 20th studies based on studies of old menGeographical rather than socialDrew isoglosses on maps
6 continued isoglosses separated dialects Based on family tree model Assumed real dialects spoken by older males
7 Continued See handout for English dialects Often highly accurate Info collected – men born but can still identify place of origin of someone who left 40 years ago
8 MalaysiaCan similar maps be constructed for Malaysia?
9 Dialect continuum Gradual changes from one place to another in England Western RomanceSouthern SlavicWest Malaysia
10 Problems with Dialect Studies Ignored social change – assumed no social variation in dialect areasignored variation by gender – not interested in women or assumed followed men
11 continued ignored variation by age Ignored urban areas – “not real dialects”Non-random sampling
12 Language and class Class Differences in status, prestige, respect, powerFound in all societies, even “classless” onesUntil 500years ago based mainly on violence
13 continuedIn western societies – mainly & increasingly income, wealth, occupation and educationInternational stratification – economic increasingly an educational, digital and linguistic gap
14 Social Variation Languages vary by class – often formalised Words for royalty and others in Thai, Javanese, Malay, English – criminal offence in Thailandfor foreigners to use words for parts of the King’s body
15 continued Pronouns European tu/vous, du/sie systems Phonology – most persistent kind of social variation
16 Social structure of English Social dialect -- dialect of a social groupAccent – variations in phonologyEnglish – many regional dialectsStandard English is a written and spoken dialectMost writing is in SE
17 continued Slight national variations Spoken by minority of native speakers – understood by mostTarget language for NNSs – model in phonetics textbooksRP (BBC) is an accent
18 Status of RP/BBC High prestige Hostility – US films spoken by vampires, aliens and Shere KhanStatus may be declining – prestige speakers – Sean Connery (Scottish), Hugh Grant (RP), Trevor Phillips (Caribbean)
19 Recent Changes in RP Linking /r/ klO:T -- klQT Final glottalisation – noted in Diana, but not Charles or BlairSome features of Cockney
20 continued Emergence of Estuary English Intermediate between Cockney and RPSpreading geographically and up and down social structure
21 Social Aspects of American English No equivalent to RP – closest is Network English (mid-western?)US presidents retain regional accents – Bush (Texas) Kennedy (Boston), Clinton (deep South)Social variations within regionsAfrican Americans distinct
22 Labov’s Study Language varies by class as well as place Labov studied NYC department storesAsking same questions in 3 stores of different status
23 continued Found post-vocalic /r/has high status in NYC Use increases in middle and upper middle classesNot in Boston reverseNot in England – found in regional dialects
24 continued Within English – a sign of low status In Reading used more by working classIn Malaysia? – a sign of high status --- teacher induced
25 Other Findings Studies in UK found variation by class E.g. Reading and Norwich – post vocalic /r/, /h/ deletion, /n/ rather than /ng/
26 continued Differences between men and women Any high status form used more frequently by womenOvert and covert prestige
27 continued African-Americans distinctive Do not participate in the Northern Cities vowel shiftBritish Asians – regional varietiesAfro-Caribbeans – revival of patois
28 Stylistic Variation Fixed – e.g. /n/ vs /ng/, post-vocalic /r/ Graded – e.g. types of glottalisationPart of a stylistic repertoire ranging from formal to casual
29 Gender, Class and Language Explanation of class and gender patternsWomen’s status dependent on male partnerWomen can choose partners freelyStatus marked by linguistic featuresWomen’s status can improve by adopting certain featuresDoes this apply everywhere?
30 Conclusion Language is closely linked to social class Traditional patterns may be replaced by phonological variation within a language or dialectWhat is happening in SE Asia?
31 QuestionAre there social dialects in Asian languages?