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Presentation on theme: "Sociolinguistics."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sociolinguistics

2 Introduction to Sociolinguistics By Ronald Wardhaugh
Text book Introduction to Sociolinguistics By Ronald Wardhaugh

3 What is sociolinguistics?
The study of language in relation to social factors, including differences of regional, class, and occupational dialect, gender differences, and bilingualism.

4 Sociolinguistics is the study of the relationship between language and society. Sociolinguistics can help us understand why we speak differently in various social contexts, and help uncover the social relationships in a community. 

5 Terminology Society: is any group of people who are drawn together for a certain purpose or purposes. Language: is what the members of a particular society speak.

6 Our knowledge of language
When two or more people communicate in speech, we call this system of communication a code. In most cases code= language. Bilingual people languages = 2 codes - 1st language = 1st code - 2nd language = 2nd code - Mixing the two languages = 3rd code (new)

7 The best person to describe a language or the grammar of the language is the speaker of that language. HOWEVER, the knowledge of one’s language is very hard to describe. WHY? Linguists say that speakers knowledge of languages is quite abstract. Rules of language, ways of saying things The possibilities the language offers and what is impossible. What is correct what is not correct? (hear it for the first time)

8 Chomsky’s approach An attempt to describe the grammar of English
Follow Noam Chomsky’s approach The most influential figure in late twentieth-century linguistic theorizing. He argues that linguists must distinguish between what is important and unimportant about language and linguistics behavior.

9 Important matters: the learnability of all languages, the characteristics they share, and the rules that speakers follow in constructing and interpreting sentences. = competence Unimportant matters: have to do with how individual speakers use specific utterances in a variety of ways as they find themselves in this situation or that. = performance

10 Chomsky’s view (approach)
competence-performance distinction The linguist’s task is to characterize what speakers know about their language (their competence), not what they do with their language (their performance).

11 The problem of variation
Chomsky’s view = competence- performance Problem. WHY? Much of the variety that is interesting to linguists is categorized as performance.

12 Everyday language varies considerably.
Language is not only an abstract object of study. It is something that people use. Linguists who follow Chomsky’s approach say that before studying language in use we should acquire an efficient knowledge of what language itself is (how it is learned and what it tells about the human mind).

13 An alternative view The use and the variation of any language must be considered in order to have an adequate knowledge of the language. An adequate linguistic theory must have something to say about the uses of language. Ronald Wardhaugh view = the view adopted in the book.

14 Variety in use = say things in different ways, use different language in different situations.
BUT. There are limits. Individuals have knowledge of various limits or (norms), and that knowledge is both very precise and at the same time entirely unconscious. Know what is correct or not even hearing it for the first time.

15 Relationships between language and society
There are 4 possible views: 1- social structure influences or determines linguistic structure. e.g., age children/adults speak differently Regional/social/ethnic origin Sex (male, female) 2- opposite to the 1st view Linguistic structure influences or determines social structure.

16 3- influence is bi-directional: language and society may influence each other.
‘speech behavior and social behavior are in a state of constant interaction’ 4- no relationship between linguistic structure and social structure. Chomsky’s view

17 Sociolinguistics and the Sociology of language
Sociolinguistics is the study of language in relation to society. We study society to learn more about language. Sociology of language is the study of society in relation to language. We study language to learn more about society.

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