General Linguistics

Language, Society And Culture

Factors Involved in the investigation of Social Dialect

Social Class And Education:
Leaving Educational system at early age
e.g. ( Them boys throwed somethin)
Spending long time in educational system
e.g. (Talks like a book)

Labov’s Theory:
Study of Labov (1972), looking sales people pronunciation differences in New York city at Saks, Macy’s and Klein’s departmental stores.
Use of more  /r/ Sound by higher and socio-economic status. (higher)
Fewer /r/ sounds produced by lower socio-economic status. (lowah)

Dialect Survey in a particular region shows that grandparents may use those terms which grand children do not.
e.g icebox, wireless (doesn’t use like to introduce reported speech)
e.g we’re getting ready, and he’s like

Female speaker tend to use Prestigious form than male
e.g I done it—I did
e.g Women discuss personal feelings, experience, seeking connections while Male Non-personal topics and give advice on solutions, more competitive and concerned with power via language

Ethnic background:
An ethnic group (or ethnicity) is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture (often including a shared religion) and an ideology

Within any society differences in speech may come about because of Ethnic background
e.g African Americans known as BEV, Use frequent absence of copula, Double negative constructions, illogical structure
(He don’t know nothing, I ain’t afraid of no ghosts)

In linguistics, an idiolect is a variety of a language unique to an individual. It is manifested by patterns of vocabulary or idiom selection (the individual’s lexicon), grammar, or pronunciations that are unique to the individual.
The term idiolect is used for the personal dialect of each individual speaker of a language.

Use in specific situations
Religious Register (Ye Shall be blessed by him)
Legal Register (The Plaintiff is ready to take the witness stand)

Technical Vocabulary associated with the special activity or group
“Don’t bother me know I’m juggling eggs”
A major skill like pronunciation and grammar, to different varieties of language co-exist in a speech community (Arabic Language)

Language and Culture:
Linguistic variations are some times discussed as terms of cultural differences
Culture variation means “socially acquired knowledge” or cultural transmission by which languages are acquired

Worlds culture study become clear that different groups not only have different languages, they have different world’s views reflected in their languages
In very simple term, the Aztecs not only didn’t have a figure in their culture like “ Santa Claus”, they did not have a word for this figure either

Linguistic Determinism:
If two languages appear to have very different ways of describing the way of world is called linguistic determinism
Language determines thoughts (You can only think in the categories which your language allows you to think in)
Eskimos in English

The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis:
Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf produced arguments in 1930s that language of American Indians is different from other Europeans languages
Hopi Indians Tribes perceived differently from other English speaking tribes, distinction b/w animate and inanimate (Cloud, Stone)
Confusion b/w (animate, feminine, living, female—door, stone)

Language Universals:
All languages of the world have certain common properties, those common properties called linguistics universals and can be described with definitive feature of languages
Arbitrary symbol systems, noun like and verb components, set of sound patterns, Grammar, prepositions

Sociolinguistics is the study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used, and the effects of language use on society.

Sociology of Language:
Sociology of language focuses on the language’s effect on the society. It is closely related to the field of sociolinguistics, which focuses on the effect of the society on the language.
A sociology of language would seek to understand the way that social dynamics are affected by individual and group language use

Social Dialects:
Social Dialects are varieties of language used by groups defined according to class, education, age, sex, and a number of other social parameters.

Concept of Prestige:
In sociolinguistics, prestige describes the level of respect accorded to a language or dialect as compared to that of other languages or dialects in a speech community. The concept of prestige in sociolinguistics is closely related to that of prestige or class within a society. Generally, there is positive prestige associated with the language or dialect of the upper classes, and negative prestige with the language or dialect of the lower classes.

Language, Society and Culture
By: Muhammad Afzal & Zammad Aslam

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