Role of Stress and Intonation in Class Stratification in a Society

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Role of Stress and Intonation in Class Stratification in a Society

  1. 1. If at all class division in a society is marked by certain linguistic features How can we account for the linguistic difference that exists among the classes of Pakistani society? Course title: - Sociolinguistics Resource person: - Nazir Ahmad Malik Sb. Submitted by: - Maqsood Ahmad ID # 12011084006 Programme: - M. Phil (Applied Linguistics) University of Management and Technology Johar Town Lahore, Pakistan
  2. 2. 1. Abstract The study investigated the role of stress and intonation on class stratification in a society. The society was specified the Lahore district Tehsil Lahore cantonment rural area. For this purpose I collected data from different people of different walk of life through interviews irrespective of social class distinction, based on monetary system, their living areas and on their educational status. The data description reflects that the society was divided into three classes. Each class was showing entirely different stress and intonation patterns in their varieties of languages i.e. Punjabi, Urdu and English, whereas the two classes were switching and mixing the codes Key words:- Stress and intonation, Class Stratification, Data description, Code switching .2. Introduction According to Sapir Whorf hypothesis people’s habitual thought patterns and ways of perceiving the world are conditioned to a certain extent by the categories and distinctions that are available to them in their native language. Speakers of different languages may therefore have rather different world-view, depending on how different the languages are from one another semantically and grammatically. Pakistan is a multilingual state, which has Urdu as national language, mother tongue of only a minority (7.6 %) but the official language is English, language of the British, the rulers. Among more than twenty spoken languages in Pakistan, the most common ones are Punjabi, Sindhi, Urdu as well as Pashto, Balochi, Shina and Brahui etc. Pakistan has seen a number of language based ethnic movements (Rahman 1996). The Bengali Language Movement eventually led to the breakup of Pakistan into Bangladesh and Pakistan in 1971. There were riots between Urdu speaking Mohajirs and the Sindhi speakers, which increased the antagonism between the two communities and Mohajirs emerged as another nationality, Mohajir Qaumi Movement in Pakistan. Other ethnic groups also seek empowerment in Pakistan by using language as a marker of group identity. Language is a sensitive issue in Pakistan. Thereare problems of administration, education, higher commerce, mediaand the domains of power in state and civil society. Use of English favours the Westernized elite while the use of other languages would bring in other candidates for power. This may be called the class question, the way in which language relates to socio economic class in Pakistan, constitutes individual level of empowerment through language,how individuals seek to empower themselves by learning the languages of the domains of power, civil and military bureaucracy, judiciary, education, commerce, media etc.
  3. 3. Hymes (1974) has observed that language boundaries between groups are drawn not on the basis of the use of linguistic items alone, because attitudes and social meanings attached to those items also count. He says:“Any enduring social relationship or group may come to define itself by selection or creation of linguistic features, and a difference of accent may be as important at one boundary as a difference of grammar at another. Part of the creativity,users of languages, lies in the freedom to determine what and how much linguistic difference matters.” 2.1. Stimulation of the research study: - A general concept existed that the Pakistani society consists of upper, middle and lower class. This concept stimulated me that within the society irrespective of economic based division, people are divided into different classes due to language stress and intonation. 2.2. Significance of the study and the research design: - The significance of the study was the class marking on the basis of languagestress and intonation.The second significance was that why different classes in society shifted from one language to another language in respect of stress and intonation.The research design was qualitative because the data was collected through interviews and the results were described. 2.3. Statement of the Study: - If at all class division in a society is marked by certain linguistic features. How can we account for the linguistic difference that exists among the classes of Pakistani society? 2.4. Research Questions: -  How much do the socio-economic, residential and educational factors influence the stress and intonation on the language of the people of Lahore district Tehsil Lahore cantt rural area?  Which group in the region uses language without any code switching?  Which group in the region uses language with code switching? 3. Literature Review The variations and connotations of prestige, is a concept that many sociolinguistics find worthy of examining. Within a speech community, identifiable dialects and practices are allocated a positive or negative assessment which impinges on the speaker. In order to understand the comprehensive notions of linguistic prestige we have to appreciate the different variables that are directly linked to language, as well as the resulting assessments that are attributed with the speaker. Given that prestige draws on both linguistic and social elements, social stratification and societal classes are two dynamics that are taken into account while attending to the above.
  4. 4. Every society has a diverse configuration of communal layering, which is known as social stratification. Stratification is the social partitioning of people into different hierarchies by evaluating their finances, rank and influence. In '' Class Structuration and class Consciousness'', British socialist, Anthony Giddens breaks down the act of structuration further. The structuration of class relationships occurs through two different kinds of structuration, mediate and proximate. Mediate structuration is defined as the factors which intervene between the existence of certain given market capacities and the formation of identifiable social classes (Giddens). A person's possession of property, their educational merits and their efficacy constitute their market capacity. These factors generally tend to be consistent with their class. "Proximate structuration is defined as the localized factors which condition or shape the class formations. There are three sources of proximate structuration. 1. The division of labor with in productive organizations (enterprises). 2. The authority relationships with in the enterprise. 3. The influence of the ''distributive group'', defined roughly as the consumptive mechanism which allocates and distributes good in the larger society (Giddens). Merging both the mediate and proximate structuration of individuals has a propensity to both erect and underpin the configuration of class. Different societies emphasize different characteristics then place the significance of the designated characteristics to individual members of the society. Stratification systems are structured from the top to the bottom and contain layers that are comprised of the social clusters. Examples of some of the characteristics that may be used in ranking are age, gender, race, ethnicity, education level, occupation and income. The term social class is defined as "a group of people within a society who possess the same socioeconomic status. Besides being important in social theory, the concept of class as a collection of individuals sharing similar economic circumstances has been widely used in censuses and in studies of social mobility. The U.S. social class system is comprised of 3 main groups; the upper class, the middle class and the lower class. Each individual set is further divided into subcategories of upper, middle and lower. Davis and Moore comment on the complex variations in stratification systems; "Any stratification system is a composite of its status with reference to the following internal and external conditions. The internal conditions are comprised of: The degree of specialization determines the fineness between and multiplicity of ranks in power
  5. 5. and prestige. - The nature of functional emphasis (e.g. familistic, authoritarian, theocratic, totalitarian, and capitalistic, etc.) determines who has rank over whom. - The amount of social distance between positions reflects whether a society emphasizes egalitarian principles or not. - The amount of mobility in a system is determined by its degree of opportunity. - The degree of class solidarity is determined by the presence and strength of specific organizations to promote class interests. Whereas the external conditions factor in: - A society's stage of cultural development will determine its degree of specialization, its degree of opportunity, and its functional emphasis. - A society's situation with respect to other societies, such as constant warfare, free trade, isolation, etc., will affect is functional emphasis. - The size of a society will affect its degree of specialization and its degree of class solidarity ("Some Principles of Stratification"). Class interests as ''objective'' interests subsuming the members of a class under a general force not only can differ from individual, personal interests, but can conflict with these interests. Two particular interests are increasingly articulated: the revolutionary interests of the working class and the conservative interests of the bourgeois. On the basis of these class interests, in fighting to realize them or defend them, the groups determined by the distribution of property in production, and by the distribution of political power flowing form it, organize themselves into classes (Dahrendorf)." It is held in place by "a system of beliefs and cultural attitudes that ranks people according to economic status, family lineage, job status, level of education, and other divisions. Classism is the systematic oppression of subordinated class groups to advantage and strengthen the dominant class groups." Language plays a central role within social classes as valuation is placed on the speaker. Linguists such as William Labov and Walt Wolfram have studied the compelling influence that social class has on language variation. Sociolects are group dependent similarities in language (Louwerse) and distinctive speech characteristics of the people belonging to assorted social groups. The attributes of their speech can alter, based on the addressees. The characteristics of speech can be either solely prestigious or stigmatized, or contain aspects of both. Although the correspondence between linguistic variables and class exist subjectively, linguistic variation has a propensity to be habituated by class. "Persons have attitudes toward language which are especially salient and influential in initial interactions. Various linguistic features trigger in message recipients' beliefs and evaluations regarding message senders, and that these beliefs and evaluations are most likely to affect recipients' behaviors toward senders in contexts of low familiarity (Bradac)."
  6. 6. The variance in social class appears to be centered upon ones societal standing and power, where the nuance of "status" in particular, seems to suggest the quantity of reverence. Linguistic practices exemplify the associations amid local characteristics and social configurations. That being said, we can see how members of a specific social group employ linguistic variants to establish their role in the group. "The relationship between local identity practices and social structures istheorized to some extent. Yet the subjective details are not generally modeled, possibly becauseBourdieu's theory posits individual variation in mental representations of the social world. The very concept of practice as mediator between habitus and social structure demands this sort of internal investigation (Dodsworth)." Linguistic variables that attempt to link a speaker to his or her class are subjective; as they alter within different perspective and environments. Linguistic variables have a significant role in society, as one's socioeconomic status is strongly language and the consequential perception in relation to language. Particular speech patterns and habits are bestowed with a positive or negative value. This value is then attributed to the speaker. A critical concept that sociolinguistics examine, is that of prestige. There are many varieties and sources of linguistic prestige, some of which are discriminatory. Walt Wolfram notes how "like sociocultural parameters, linguistic boundaries are permeable, constructed notions defined more adequately on the basis of sociopolitical and ideological considerations than on the basis of linguistic structures and sociolinguistic relationships. There are several different types of linguistic prestige, such as overt, covert, crypto, and schizo. There have been many documented studies that illustrate the usage and sociological impact of overt and covert prestige. Overt prestige is a community's widespread positive social evaluation of the linguistic forms employed by a high status group (Sterling). Overt prestige is given a positive societal assessment because of its prevalent identification of social worth. Speakers of standard English, for example a newscaster or professor, are agents, as they are directly associated with a prestigious group and acknowledged as belonging to that group. Covert prestige is the positive valuation of a "socially stigmatized variety at a smaller, more local level (Sterling)." With covert prestige, linguistic forms are given confirmatory value either because of or despite their connection with local social groups and their role; as opposed to what the collective view of that social group may be. The use of the term "covert prestige" refers to the situation of speakers knowingly and deliberately employing features disfavored by users of the prestige variety, for the purpose of achieving solidarity, identity, and recognition within a more specific group, as a choice not to assimilate to the general society (Schneider)." Not everyone is considered to speak Standard English, as their speech may utilize a variety along
  7. 7. with local prestige. When a speaker applies a stigmatized variety to demonstrate group cohesion and distinctiveness, the term vernacular bonding is used. The interaction between social class, style and the correspondence of specific linguistic variants has been extensively researched by William Labov. He notes that a "speech community is not defined by any marked agreement in the use of language elements, so much as by participation in a set of shared norms; these norms may be observed in overt types of evaluative behavior, and by the uniformity of abstract patterns of variation which are invariant in respect to particular levels of usage (Labov 1972: 120-121). The above shows the direct influence of language and social factors. The notions of overt and covert prestige fluctuate amid speakers of different regions and communal groups. It can also be modified by the individual speaker, contingent upon sociolinguistic competence. Empirical data from the study of dialogues thus may contribute to our understanding of some central issues concerning the nature of language variation (Tottie 219). Wolfram notes how the methodological challenge of defining linguistic boundaries is every bit as complex as the challenge of defining social and cultural ones. Additionally we must respect the fact that there are an extensive array of sociocultural associations, progressions, and characteristics that need to be taken into account. Language; an Identity symbol and Empowerment in Pakistan: - Language has become an identity symbol under modern conditions when different collectivities compete for power and resources. The possibility of increased communication, facilitate the manipulation of larger labels for group identities such as religion or language. These labels supper-cede or push into the background, such pre-modern and smaller labels as kinship, tribal, class and occupational labels or markers of identity. The term Siraiki is used for the whole collectivity now. In short, ethnic identity is constructed just as nationalist identities were constructed in Europe because of the presence of collective symbols, especially uniform and standardized print languages, as Benedict Anderson (1983) has argued. A part from the role of language in identity construction, there is the issue of its use in education and attitudes towards it. Shemeem Abbas has written on the strong presence of English in education and other domains in Pakistan (Abbas 1993).A survey has carried out of Punjabi students’ attitude towards languages and comes to the conclusion that they rank English highest; Urdu comes second and at the bottom is their mother tongue, Punjabi (Mansoor 1993). Language and Individual Empowerment in Pakistan: - The demand for learning a language is linked to empowerment. People demand a language ifthey can enter the domains of power through employment. There are large sections of
  8. 8. population, mostly of the urban population, who derive their powerfrom their ability to manipulate the written word in English and Urdu, the domains of power in Pakistan. This power is not directly proportional to one’s competence in the languages but without the ability to read, write and speak these languages, one cannot enter the elite cadres of the Pakistan. Languageis a coin and what it buys in the market is power. If one cannot write Urdu and English, he cannot get even clerical jobs in Pakistan except in Sindh. If one can write Urdu but not English, he can get lower jobs in all the provinces of Pakistan. Higher jobsare reserved for those who can read and write English. This state of affairs is related to the pattern of distribution of power. When the Mughals ruled India, they used Persian in the domains of power forcing Hindus to learn this language and become Muslimized in culture (Faruqi 1998).In 1837 when British did away with the ascendancy of Persian by substituting English in its place in the higher domains of power, both the Hindu and Muslim elites switched to English and Persian declined (Faruqi 1998; Rahman 1999c). Later, in Pakistan the Westernized ruling elite, which dominated the modernized sections of armed forces, civil bureaucracy, media and commercial institutions, did not allow either Urdu or any other Pakistani language to take the place of English. The ascendancy of Englishreflects the ascendancy of those who happen to be powerful at the moment the Western trained cadres of Pakistani elite. In modern times, the state provides institutions for teaching languages of power but in an obviously class based and highly discriminatory manner.In Pakistan the mainstream public education is mainly in Urdufor vernacular poor people.For elite of power, armed forces, and state functionaries, a parallel education system is created,which have English as medium of instruction.A chain of highly expensive English medium schools like Froebels, Beaconhouse and City School System, cater only for the elite of wealth. Even more wealthy people get their children educated outside the country or in International American School.Facilities provided in these schools are much better than those provided by the government in its mainstream system. This is how the Pakistani ruling elite itself infringes its own principle of providing education through the medium of vernacular. It also creates and maintains a class based discriminatory system of schooling. In this system the majority of population is either left illiterate or given vernacular medium schooling which puts them at a disadvantage in the quest for empowerment via a visceral the elites of power and wealth. Moreover, the ruling elite do not only lack faith in its own education policy but also subverts it by investing in a parallel model of education from which it stands to benefit. Sensing the usefulness of English as a language of power, the people go to great hardships to provide English medium education for their children. They provide education of so variable a quality that it defies classification. A number of religious organizations too now run such schools. They claim to combine Islamic socialization with skills in modern subjects and English.
  9. 9. Modernity as a Domain of Power: - Modernityincreased the number of people who could be empowered through the manipulation of the written word.Entry to the large bureaucratic network created by modernity is through literacy in standard form of language recognized as ‘official’ by the state. Since the British state recognized only English as the language of elitist domains of power, it took the place of Persian. The British also recognized certain vernacular languages for official work in lower domains of power. Among these were Urdu and Sindhi which are now used in Pakistan. Teaching of these languages in state institutions, development of their standard, written variety and printing in them are all consequences of modernity. The reflection of this change as far as language in concerned takes many forms. First, the older Persian textbooks which reflected a magical, non-rational, pre-modern world view have been replaced by textbooks which reflect the modern point of view. This ‘modern’ viewis that of the ruling elites of the state. The British intervention changed these texts making them very puritanical and nationalistic (Rahman 2001a). This has created an attitude of contempt for the medieval classics in Pakistan, a contempt which goes hand in hand with the idea that the West is ‘shameless’ and our own culture is ‘pure’. 4. Methodology I am teaching in Government high school Kahna Nau Lahore cantt, which is situated on Feroz pur road (Lahore Kasur road) Lahore. Kahna Nau, twenty eighty kilometers away from Lahore city, was a very small town some twenty years ago. Now it has become a very big town and spread in near about twenty kilometers radius. There are eighty four villages all around it. I interviewed twenty of my students; those were belonged to different localities of Kahna Nau town and villages around it. I also talked about my assignment with my university colleagues of bachelor level. The nature of the study is qualitative because the data was collected through interviews and the results were presented descriptively not statistically. For data collection, I restricted myself only for the Lahore district Tehsil Lahore cantonment rural area. I used the technique of observance paradox to observe the students during the interview. 5. Data analysis  I observed that all students used entirely different stress, intonation patterns, and vocabulary items. Their each and every utterance was telling about their social status, educational level and locality or village, they belong to.  Stress, intonation patterns and vocabulary items of kahna nau town students were entirely different from those of village side students.
  10. 10.  Kahna nau town students were also code mixing of Urdu with their mother tongue Punjabi.  My university colleagues were also mixing and switchingthe codes from Punjabi to Urdu and Urdu to English languages. Their use of morphological, vocabulary items and syntactic patterns were quite different from village side students. Their every utterance was telling about their possession of a higher social status and class. 6. Conclusion According to my opinion these students were belonged to three social classes.  One, who belong to villages were using only Punjabi with entirely different stress and intonation patterns according to their village and locality.  Second, who belong to proper kahna town were using different stress and intonation patterns and also they were code mixing of Urdu with Punjabi.  Third, who belong to my university were mixing and switching the codes from Punjabi to Urdu and Urdu to English and using and showing difference in stress and intonation patterns.  So I concluded that locality, educational and social-economic levels also play a vital role in social class marking of an individual. References: - Rahman, Tariq .1996. Language and Politics in Pakistan Karachi: Oxford University Press. 1996b ‘Language-Teaching in Pakistani Madrassas’. In Rahman 1999: Chapter 5. 1999Language, Education and Culture Karachi: Oxford University Press. 1999a‘The Politics of Urdu in India’Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Vol. XXII; No 2 (winter) 38-60 1999c ‘the Language of Employment: The Case of Pakistan’ Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.Vol. 23 No. 4 (Summer 2000) 62-87 2001a. ‘the Project of Respectability: Changes in Language Textbooks in British India’, Pakistan Perspectives 6:1 (Jan-June), 13-37. 2001b. ‘Islamic Texts in the Indigenous Languages of Pakistan’, Islamic Studies 40:1: (Spring), 25-48. Mansoor, Sabiha .1993. Punjabi, Urdu, English in Pakistan : A Sociolinguistic Study Lahore: Vanguard. Faruqi, Rahman .1998. ‘Unprivileged Power : The Strange Case of Persian (and Urdu) in Nineteenth- Century India’, The Annual of Urdu Studies No. 13: 3-30. Dil, Anwar &Dil, Afia .2000.Bengali Language Movement to Bangladesh Lahore: Ferozsons. Abbas, Shemeem. 1993. ‘The Power of English in Pakistan’, World Englishes 12; 2: 147-156. Ahmed, Feroz. 1998. Ethnicity and Politics in Pakistan Karachi: Oxford University Press. Javed, InamulHaq .1996. BaerooniMamalik Mein Urdu [Urdu: Urdu in Foreign Countries] Islamabad: MuqtadraQaumiZaban. Blake, Renee and Meredith Josey. "The /ay/ diphthong in a Martha's Vineyard community: What can we say 40 years after Labov?" Language in Society 32(2003): 451-485.
  11. 11. Bradac, J.J. "Language in social relations: Language attitudes and impression formation" Handbook of Language and Social Psychology Ed. Howard Giles and W. Peter Robinson New York: John Wiley and Sons Limited, 1990. p.37. Dahrendorf, Ralf. Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society.Stanford,CA: Stanford University Press,1959. pp.3-18 Davis, Kingsley and Wilbert Moore. "Some Principles of Stratification ."American Sociological Review Vol. 10, No. 2(1944 Annual Meeting Papers (Apr., 1945): pp. 242-249. Dodsworth, Robin. "Sociological consciousness as a component."Journal of Sociolinguistics 12/1(2008): 34-57. Giddens, Anthony. Classes, Power and Conflict: Classical and Contemporary Debates.Ed. Anthony Giddens and David Held. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982, pp. 157-74. Khan, SeidGhulamHossein .1789.The SeirMutagherin: or Review of Modern Times: Being an History of India as far Down As the Year 1783 the whole written in Persian Trans. from Persian by Tota Manus. 4 volumes.Reprinted. Lahore: Sheikh Mubarak Ali, Oriental Publishers and Booksellers, 1975. Labov, William. Sociolinguistic Patterns. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1972. pp. 120-121. Louwerse, Max M. "Semantic Variation in Idiolect and Sociolect: Corpus Linguistic Evidence from Literary Texts." Computers and the Humanities 38.2 (2004). Mair, Christian. Twentieth-Century English: History, Variation and Standardization (Studies in English Language). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Milroy, James. The Concept of Prestige in Sociolinguistic Argumentation. Philadelphia: Selected papers from the Sociolinguistics Symposium.ERIC Document ReproductionService ED32041. Schneider, Edgar W. Postcolonial English. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. p.367. "Social class."Encyclopedia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 05 Apr. 2008 http://www.britannica.com/bps/topic/550940/social-class>. Sterling, Polly. "Identity in Language: An Exploration into the Social Implications of Linguistic Variation." Texas A&M University. 5 Apr 2008 . Tottie, Gunnel. An Introduction to American English . Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2002. "What do we mean by "class"?." Class Action.Class Action. 5 Apr 2008 . Wolfram, Walt. "Linguistic Subordination and EthnolinguisticIdentity:The Construction of African American Vernacular English." North Carolina State University. 5 Apr 2008 . Wolfram,Walt,andNatalieSchilling-Estes.American English: Dialects and Variation.Malden,MA: Blackwell Publishing, 1998.

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