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Sociolinguistics of U.S. English

Universidad Mayor, May 8th 4:30
by

Jeffrey Ridenour

on 28 May 2013

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Transcript of Sociolinguistics of U.S. English

Concept Review Terminology How many sounds in each word?

Ought Scribble

These Tongue

WARNING: Orthography and English
phonology do NOT correspond Sound System Vowels Consonants ` Language variation No two speakers of a language speak exactly the same way (interspeaker variation)
No individual speaker speaks the same way all the time (intraspeaker variation) Sociolinguistic Subfields Ethnography of communication - considers the speech event by using discourse anlysis, conversation analysis, and participant observation, etc.
Variationist approach - studies a sociolinguistic variable (multiple linguistic form having the same semantic menaing but used by different people and in different situations) using surveys, recordings, observation to observe the relation of society and language
Language contact - studies the effects that languages have on each other, which includes pidgin and creoles, bilingualism (code-switching), and lingua francas Sociolinguistics The study of the relationship between language and society, of language variation, and of attitudes about language
Narrow vs broad sociolinguistics
This field is vary broad with a number of different approaches and methodologies…. Dialect A variety of a language spoken by a group of people that is characterized by systematic features (e.g., phonological, lexical, grammatical) that distinguish it from other varieties of that same language

Idiolect: the speech variety of an individual speaker Language


… dialect dialect dialect …


… idiolect idiolect idiolect … Language = a continuum of dialects

Dialect = a continuum of idiolects Misconceptions about ‘dialect’ Dialect  ‘substandard’
Dialect  ‘incorrect’
Dialect  ‘slang’

FACT: Everyone speaks a dialect Language vs. dialect? Linguistic criterion
Mutual intelligibility
YES? = dialects
NO? = languages
e.g., British vs. American vs. Irish vs. Australian vs. Scottish (= dialects of English) Problems (cont’d) Asymmetries in intelligibility, e.g.,
Danish speakers understand Swedish, but not vice versa
Brazilian Portuguese speakers understand Spanish, but not vice versa Ways dialects vary Phonological (‘accent’)
Morphological
Syntactic/grammatical
Semantic/lexical Factors that contribute to variation Geography
Occupation
Education
Age
Gender
Social status/class
Ethnicity Regional dialects Dialects that are defined in terms of geographic boundaries
Where are the following people from?
Bill SteveLisa
JohnMichelleKaren
Bethany Regional U.S. dialects Bill Steve Lisa John Michelle Karen Bethany Regional differences (along East coast) can be traced to dialects of British English during settling of America in 17th, 18th c.
Dialect leveling: ‘canceling out’ of dialect differences due to intermingling (i.e., in West) Phonological differences Northern: ‘r-less dialects’
NY: ‘toidy-toid (33rd) street’
Boston: /pɑk ðə kɑ ɪn hɑvəd jɑd/
Midland: stress shift
Appalachian: Détroit, cígar, dírectly, Nóvember
Southern: [ɛ]  [ɪ] / ___ nasals
‘t[I]n o’clock’, [pɪn] ‘pin, pen’ Phonological Differences Northern Cities Vowel Shift Lexical differences Words for ‘sweetened carbonated beverage’
‘Coke’ – CA, New Eng., Texas
‘Soda’ – South
‘Pop’ – Northern, N.W.
‘Tonic’ – Boston
‘Cocola’ – Georgia, Tennessee Lexical differences Southern
French influence: armoire, bayou, bisque
Midland
German influence: ‘dunk’, ‘spritz’, ‘schmear’
Elizabethan English: flapjack, greenhorn, reckon, ragamuffin
Western
Spanish influence: patio, plaza, padre, mesa Syntactic markers of style ‘that’ as an introducer in relative clauses is optional--more typically occurs in formal speech
Subjunctive as “prescriptive”
Casual speech characterized by
increased use of non-standard constructions (e.g., double negatives, double modals)
shorter, more concise sentences Standard vs. Non-standard Some non-standard dialects
African-American English (AAE)
Multiple negatives:
He don’ know nothin’.
Appalachian English
Double modals:
I might could do that.
He useta couldn’t swim.
a-prefix: go a-fishin’, come a-runnin’ U.S. Dialects Definitions Appalachian (Midland):
Double modals: might could, use to could
a-prefix: go a-fishin’, come a-runnin’
Past tense: ‘clumb’ (=climbed), ‘et’ (=ate)
Southern
Aux. ‘done’: She done already told you. Syntactic differences Phonological differences Generalizations ` American Regional Dialects Why do dialect differences arise?
1. English, as is true of all languages, is constantly changing.
2. Not all changes take place in all parts of the country, and
3. Not all changes take place at the same time.

Often, the spread of changes is stopped short by barriers to communication between groups of speakers.
1. Geographical isolation
2. Time dislocation
3. Social isolation 2 3 3 English Alphabet Fun facts.... ... more facts The string of letters ‘ough’ represents 7-8 different sounds or sets of sounds in English
There are five ways to spell the first sound in “fish” in English
Silent “E” - cake, cable, time, water
Silent “L” - should, would, could,
walk, talk Tough
cough
hiccough
bough
nought
fought
through
though Ph
pph
gh
f
ff Tenseness vs Laxness Salient U.S. Consonant Sounds Phoneme vs. Allophone Aspiration Diphthongs show a change in quality within a single syllable Phonetics Linguistics Phonetics vs phonology phoneme International Phonetic Alphabet Phonology study of sound system
and patterns within a
specific language the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances Spanish Example - phoneme /b/ vaca bebida nube [baka] [beβiδa] [nuβe] The study of sounds of human speech System of symbols to represent every human sound The scientific study and analysis of human language.
Concerned with the human capacity for language.
Not concerned with speaking properly linguist ≠ grammarian phonology phonetics /baka/ /bebida/ /nube/ Diphthongs diphthongization [e] and [o]:

Bait [bejt]
Boat [bowt] Cow [kaw]
Tie [taj]
Toy [tɔj] Spanish Diphtongs [e] vs [ej]

Veinte [bejnte] - Vente [bente]
Reino [rejno] - Reno [reno] - retroflex liquid Dialect language variation The study of the relationship between language and society, of language variation, and of attitudes about language. Sociolinguistics No two speakers of a language speak exactly the same way
No individual speaker speaks the same way all the time Language variation A variety of a language spoken by a group of people that is characterized by systematic features (e.g., phonological, lexical, grammatical) that distinguish it from other varieties of that same language

Idiolect: the speech variety of an individual speaker Dialect  ‘substandard’
Dialect  ‘incorrect’
Dialect  ‘slang’

FACT: Everyone speaks a dialect Misconceptions about ‘dialect’ Linguistic criterion
Mutual intelligibility
YES? = dialects
NO? = languages
e.g., British vs. American vs. Irish vs. Australian (= dialects of English) Language vs. dialect? Asymmetries in intelligibility, e.g.,
Danish speakers understand Swedish, but not vice versa
Brazilian Portuguese speakers understand Spanish better than Spanish speakers understand Brazilian Portuguese Problems Nonlinguistic criteria (political, historical, geographic etc.) may play a role - Urdu vs. Hindi
Mandarin, Cantonese are mutually unintelligible, but are referred to as ‘dialects’ of Chinese
Serbian and Croatian are mutually intelligible, but are referred to as separate languages Geography
Occupation
Education
Age
Gender
Social status/class
Ethnicity Lexical differences Words for ‘sweetened carbonated beverage’
‘Coke’ – CA, New Eng., Texas
‘Soda’ – South ‘Pop’ – Northern, N.W.
‘Tonic’ – Boston ‘Cocola’ – Georgia, Tennessee African American English AAE History Phonological Features Syntactic Features SOUTHERN
French influence: armoire, bayou, bisque
MIDLAND
German influence: ‘dunk’, ‘spritz’, ‘schmear’
Elizabethan English: flapjack, greenhorn, reckon, ragamuffin
WESTERN: Spanish influence: patio, plaza, padre, mesa (AAE) 17th Century: slaves were brought from Western Africa (Guinea Coast/Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone) and previously-established British colonies, particularly in Barbados and Jamaica.

18th century: Three groups of speakers among the slaves: (1) Those learning English of their masters, (2) Native-born field workers, (3) Recent imports from Africa, some of whom spoke a Caribbean creole.

19th century: Legal trading in slaves ends; however, illegal slave trade continues. Slaves are transported across state lines.
1790: 700,000 slaves in U.S. 1860: 4 million

20th century: The Great Migration. Jeff Ridenour
Vice Consul
U.S. Embassy Sociolinguistics of American English Goals of Presentation To make you think about language acquisition
To show the complexity of language variation in (American) English
To make you realize that such variation is in all languages However, I will not... Teach you how to talk with an American accent
Make subjective/disriminatory comments concerning various dialects Universidad Mayor - Sep 26, 2012 2 6 or 7 3 3 The letter “a” is pronounced 6 different ways in English
Cat, mate, mall, aware, car - flapped allophone of /t/ and /d/ - usually occurs between vowels/syllabic segments when the first one is stressed Southern

French influence: armoire, bayou, bisque

Midland

German influence: ‘dunk’, ‘spritz’, ‘schmear’

Elizabethan English: flapjack, greenhorn, reckon, ragamuffin

Western

Spanish influence: patio, plaza, padre, mesa ridder vs. writer Questions? Geography Gender Ethnicity Occupation Education Age Social Status/Class Style (With a review in U.S. Phonology) How to gather
data? Recording
Interviews Dialects Sociolects Problems? Linguistic Variation SOCIOLINGUISTIC VARIABLE - A set of alternative ways of saying the same thing (syntactic, lexical, phonetic, morphological) Chilean examples? neat-o groovy daddy-o swell William Labov
U.S. Sociolinguist Upper Class Middle Class Lower Class New York Department Stores The Sociolinguistic Variable Post Vocalic / / r e.g. "fourth floor"
"foith floi" Casual Q - "Excuse me, where are the women's shoes?" Careful Q - "Excuse me?" Ans - "Fourth floor" -ing vs -in' (e.g. "reading" vs "readin") Labov, W. (1966) The Social Stratification of English in New York City (Washington DC: Center for Applied Linguistics). Labov, W. (1966) The Social Stratification of English in New York City (Washington DC: Center for Applied Linguistics). Lower Middle Upper Fischer, J. L. (1958) 'Social Influence on the Choice of a Linguistic Variant', Word. XIV, 47-58 Higher use of -ing among females. U.S. women tend to use the more standard form Ridenour, J. M. (2009) "The Mandative Subjunctive in American English: A sociolinguistic corpus study of morphosyntactic variation and style". University of Washington. Subjunctive in U.S. English I recommend that he... play basketball. plays basketball. should play basketball. (subjunctive/bare) (finite/present) (modal) Styles/Genres: Recorded phone coversations News dialogue News broadcasts Written Genre Relative frequency of morphosyntactic variants per 1 million words by audience type/genre play plays should play 1. To what extent is the mandative subjunctive present in spoken American English, and what are the morphosyntactic variants used? 2. Can certain morphosyntactic variants be correlated across style and genre? Social Networks
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