Sociolinguistics Chapter 6 Regional and Social Dialects
Regional variation International varieties Pronunciation Example 2 Vocabulary Australia – sole parent Britain – single parent New Zealand – solo parent Grammar Example 3
Regional variation Intranational or intra-continental variation Britain Example 4 United States Northern, Midland, Southern Australia and New Zealand Less variation in English than in Maori
Regional variation Isoglosses The boundary lines that mark regional variation Dialect chains Example 5
Language vs. Dialect What is a language? What is a dialect?
Activity 6.1 Look at the use of the word ‘language’ in the four sentences. Try to work out the sense of the word in each sentence.
What is a language? 1 Chinese is his native language. 2 When the teacher spoke to the class, the language she used was very informal. 3 If you want to know the rules of the language, you should get a good grammar book. 4 In England the language they speak is called English; in China the language they speak is called Chinese.
What is a language? 1. The word ‘language’ is used in different ways by different people, e.g., writers, journalists, educationalists, teachers and linguists. 2. The meaning of the term ‘language’ is often very vague. 3. The meanings of ‘language’ often overlap.
Dialect A regionally or socially distinctive variety of a language, identified by a particular set of words and grammatical structures. […] Any language with a reasonably large number of speakers will develop dialects. (Crystal, 1980)
More on dialect “The term ‘dialect’ has generally been used to refer to a subordinate variety of a language. For example, we are accustomed to saying that the English language has many dialects.” (Romaine, 1994)
West Germanic Dialect Continuum German Dutch German dialects Dutch dialects Netherlands Germany
What makes a language? • Linguistic factors? • Pronunciation • Vocabulary • Grammatical system • Mutual intelligibility?
What makes a language? • ‘A language is a dialect with an army and navy.’ (Weinreich) • Language has a political dimension • Language is political, not a linguistic categorisation
What makes a language? The Dutch dialects are heteronomous with respect to standard Dutch, and the German dialects to standard German. (Chambers and Trudgill, 1980: 10-11)
Influence of political factors on languages Yugoslavia Under communism, Serbian and Croatian Serbo-Croatian After civil war, Serbo-Croatian Serbian and Croatian
Activity 6.2 Do languages develop from dialects or do dialects develop from languages? Answer this question from the perspective of Crystal, then Weinreich.
Variety/Code Sociolinguists use the term variety (or sometimes code) to refer to any set of linguistic forms which patterns according to social factors.
Social dialects Social dialects are varieties which reflect people’s social backgrounds: social prestige, wealth, education, occupation, income level, residential area.
Received Pronunciation (RP) A prestigious social accent used by less than 5% of the population in Britain Figure 6.2 Figure 6.3
Social dialects Vocabulary U vs. Non-U in 1950s England Pronunciation [h]-dropping Example 12 Figure 6.4 [in] Table 6.2 Grammatical patterns
Department Store Study Sociolinguistic study by William Labov in 1960’s The phrase fourthfloor was elicited from sales people at three department stores
Rise and fall of r New York City was r-pronouncing in 18th century r-less in 19th century until World War II r-pronouncing again after World War II The prestigious New York dialect (and Standard American English) is now rhotic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W68VaOuY6ew
The Battleground High prestige: Sak’s Fifth Avenue Middle prestige: Macy’s Low prestige: S. Klein
R-results Social variation Sak’s > Macy’s > S. Klein floorwalkers > salesclerks > stockboys Gender women > men Age younger > older Level of formality more “r”s in careful pronunciation
Arbitrariness There is nothing inherently bad or good about the pronunciation of any sound. The different status of [r]-pronunciation in different cities illustrates this point. Figure 6.5
Social dialects Grammatical patterns Vernacular present tense verb forms Figure 6.6 Figure 6.7
References Chambers, J.K. and P. Trudgill. (1980). Dialectology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Crystal, D. (1980). A first dictionary of linguistics and phonetics. London: André Deutsch. Labov, W. (1972b), Sociolinguistic patterns, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Romaine, S. (1994). Language in society: An introduction to sociolinguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.