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Audrey Hoy

on 9 March 2018

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Transcript of sociolinguistics

1.1 Knowledge of Language
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The system (or the grammar)
This knowledge is both something which every individual who speaks the language possesses and also some kind of shared knowledge.
‘Dead’ languages
Abstract knowledge
Scientific Investigation
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Individuals know the various limits (or norms), and that knowledge is both very precise and at the same time almost entirely unconscious.

IDENTITY: Much of what we find in linguistic behavior will be explicable in terms of people seeking to negotiate, realize, or even reject identities through the use of language. In fact, as we will see, language is a profound indicator of identity.

Bourdieu (1991)... certain languages or varieties have been endowed with more symbolic power than others and have therefore been given a greater value, e.g., standard languages, certain accents, a particular gendered style of speaking, a specific type of discourse.
Such attempts cover a very wide range of issues and approaches:
1.1 Knowledge of Language
Understanding sentences (never heard or ungrammatical)
Language Universals (the characteristics they share, and the rules and principles that speakers apparently follow in constructing and interpreting sentences)
Competence and Performance.
Communicative competence Page 3.
The relationship between language and society.
To describe the language of a society may prove to be a contentious matter
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different theories about what language is;
different views of what constitute the data that are relevant to a specific issue;
different formulations of research problems; different conceptions of what are ‘good’ answers;
and different interpretations of both the theoretical and ‘real-world’ consequences of particular pieces of research.
Sociologists, attempt to understand how societies are structured and how people manage to live together.

Nancy Audrey Delgado Hoy
The language we use in everyday living is remarkably varied.
Speakers make constant use of the many different possibilities offered to them.
No one speaks the same way all the time and people constantly exploit the nuances of the languages they speak for a wide variety of purposes.
Attempts to study the relationship of language to society.
Saussure (1959) to distinguish between langue (group knowledge of language) and parole (individual use of language).
Bloomfield (1933) to stress the importance of contrastive distribution (pin & bin)
Pike (1967) to distinguish between emic and etic features in language (
: /p/ & /b/
pin & spin)
Sapir (1921) and, much later, Chomsky (1965) to stress the distinction between the ‘surface’ and the ‘deep’.

Language and Society
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Holmes (1992, p. 16) says that ‘the sociolinguist’s aim is to move towards a theory which provides a motivated account of the way language is used in a community, and of the choices people make when they use language.’

What is the purpose of the variation? How is it evaluated in the community? What do its variants symbolize?’

Discussion: page 10
Language and Society
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We must acknowledge that a language is essentially a set of items: ‘linguistic items,’ such entities as sounds, words, grammatical structures, and so on.
Sociologists use such concepts as ‘identity,’ ‘power,’ ‘class,’ ‘status,’ ‘solidarity,’ ‘accommodation,’ ‘face,’ ‘gender,’ ‘politeness,’ etc.
While keeping in mind that languages and societies are constantly changing.

There are several possible relationships between language and society.
1. Social structure may either influence or determine linguistic structure and/or behavior.
2. Is directly opposed to the first: linguistic structure and/or behavior may either influence or determine social structure.
3. The influence is bi-directional: language and society may influence each other.
4. Is to assume that there is no relationship at all between linguistic structure and social structure and that each is independent of the other.

Attempts to study the relationship of language to society.
There's a distinction between
the sociology of language
Sociolinguistics we study language and society in order to find out as much as we can about what kind of thing language is.
Macro-sociolinguistics studies what societies do with their languages, that is, attitudes and attachments that account for the functional distribution of speech forms in society.
Doing linguistics, the seminal figure is Labov:

Labov has addressed himself to issues such as the relationship between language and social class to learn more about language and to investigate topics such as the mechanisms of linguistic change, the nature of linguistic variability, and the structure of linguistic systems.

Downes (2003): ‘Work which is intended to achieve a better understanding of the nature of human language by studying language in its social context and/or to achieve a better understanding of the nature of the relationship and interaction between language and society.’

Sociolinguistics should encompass everything from considering ‘who speaks (or writes) what language (or what language variety) to whom and when and to what end’.
Those who seek to investigate the possible relationships between language and society must have a twofold concern: they must ask good questions, and they must find the right kinds of data that bear on those questions.
We will discover how wide the variety of questions and data in sociolinguistics has seen: correlational studies, implicational studies (which suggest that if X, then Y) microlinguistic studies (focus on very specific linguistic items), macrolinguistic studies (large amounts of language data to draw broad conclusions), and other studies which try to arrive at generalizations about certain universal characteristics of human communication.

It must be oriented toward both data and theory: that is, any conclusions we come to must be solidly based on evidence.

We must collect data for a purpose and that purpose should be to find an answer
Labov, has suggested 8 as worthy of consideration:
1. The cumulative principle
2. The uniformation principle.
3. The principle of convergence.
4. The principle of subordinate shift.
5. The principle of style-shifting.
6. The principle of attention.
7. The vernacular principle.
8. The principle of formality.

What do we mean by varieties?
A variety can therefore be something greater than a single language as well as something less, less even than something traditionally referred to as a dialect.
Hudson (1996) defines a variety of language as ‘a set of linguistic items with similar distribution,’ a definition that allows us to say that all of the following are varieties: Canadian English, London English, the English of football commentaries, and so on.
There is always some variation whether we consider a language as a whole, a dialect of that language, the speech of a group within that dialect, or, ultimately, each individual in that group.
Varieties as Standard English, Cockney, lower-class New York City speech, Oxford English, legalese, cocktail party talk, and so on.
Go to: Language Versus Dialect
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Language and ethnicity are virtually synonymous. Such a strong connection between language and ethnicity may prove to be invaluable in nation-building, it can also be fraught with problems when individuals and groups seek to realize some other identity.

Many Americans seem particularly reluctant to equate language with ethnicity in their own case: although they regard English as the ‘natural’ language of Americans, they do not consider American to be an ethnic label.

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Most speakers can give a name to whatever it is they speak, but we should remember that human naming practices often have a large ‘unscientific’ component to them.
People may experience difficulty in deciding whether what they speak should be called a language proper or merely a dialect of some language.
Almost certainly no more than a local non-prestigious (therefore powerless) variety of a real language.
Dialect to refer to one of the norms

Language can be used to refer either to a single linguistic norm or to a group of related norms. A language has more power than any of its dialects
Let´s go to page 18 and 19 for more example
For history
For choral and lyric works
For tragedy
Later, Athenian Greek, the koiné – or ‘common’ language – became the norm for the spoken language as the various spoken varieties converged on the dialect of the major cultural and administrative center.
In a historical sense:
Single language:
English, German, French, Russian, Hindi
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Refers to the process by which a language has been codified in some way. That process usually involves the development of such things as grammars, spelling books, and dictionaries, and possibly a literature.

Once a language is standardized it becomes possible to teach it in a deliberate manner.

It unifies individuals and groups within a larger community while at the same time separating the community that results from other communities. Therefore, it can be employed to reflect and symbolize some kind of identity: regional, social, ethnic, or religious.
Go to page 23. Standard English.
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Bell (1976) establishes a criteria that considers:
Standarization, vitality, historicity, atonomy, reduction, mixture and
de facto
Accepted by a larger society
National identity
Sociopolitical process
Language variety winner
Ongoing process (slow)
To reduce diversity and variety
Distinguishes language that are 'alive' from those that are 'dead'
'Dead' are not spoken as native language.
Some languages are dying.
Other languages influence others.
A particular group of people finds a sense of identity through using a particular language: it belongs to them.

Social, political, religious, or ethnic ties may also be important for the group.
Felt by its speakers to be different from other languages.
This is a very subjective criterion

Refers to the fact that a particular variety may be regarded as a sub-variety rather than as an independent entity.
Refers to feelings speakers have about the ‘purity’ of the variety they speak.
Feeling that varieties are debased, deficient, degenerate, or marginal varieties of some other standard language.

Refers to the feeling that many speakers have that there are both ‘good’ speakers and ‘poor’ speakers.
‘Linguistic purism’.

The term dialect can also be used to describe differences in speech associated with various social groups or classes: social group
or social class

Social Dialects
Social dialects
originate among social groups and are related to a variety of factors, the principal ones apparently being social class, religion, and ethnicity.

Let's go to page: 29
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