Role of Stress and Intonation in Class Stratification in a Society Document Transcript
Research ReportIf at all class division in a society is marked by certainlinguistic features.How can we account for the linguistic difference that existsamong the classes of Pakistani society?Course title: - SociolinguisticsResource person: - Nazir Ahmad Malik Sb.Submitted by: - Maqsood AhmadID # 12011084006Programme: - M. Phil (Applied Linguistics)University of Management and TechnologyJohar Town Lahore, Pakistan
1. AbstractThe study investigated the role of stress and intonation on class stratification in a society. Thesociety was specified the Lahore district Tehsil Lahore cantonment rural area. For this purpose Icollected data from different people of different walk of life through interviews irrespective ofsocial class distinction, based on monetary system, their living areas and on their educationalstatus. The data description reflects that the society was divided into three classes.Each classwasshowing 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 codesKey words:- Stress and intonation, Class Stratification, Data description, Code switching.2. IntroductionAccording to Sapir Whorf hypothesis people‟s habitual thought patterns and ways of perceivingthe world are conditioned to a certain extent by the categories and distinctions that are availableto them in their native language. Speakers of different languages may therefore have ratherdifferent world-view, depending on how different the languages are from one anothersemantically and grammatically.Pakistan is a multilingual state, which has Urdu as national language, mother tongue of only aminority (7.6 %) but the official language is English, language of the British, the rulers. Amongmore 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). TheBengali Language Movement eventually led to the breakup of Pakistan into Bangladesh andPakistan in 1971. There were riots between Urdu speaking Mohajirs and the Sindhi speakers,which increased the antagonism between the two communities andMohajirs emerged asanother nationality,MohajirQaumi Movement in Pakistan. Other ethnic groups also seekempowerment 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 Englishfavours the Westernized elite while the use of other languages would bring in other candidatesfor power. This may be called the class question, the way in which language relates to socioeconomic class in Pakistan, constitutes individual level of empowerment through language,howindividuals seek to empower themselves by learning the languages of the domains of power,civil and military bureaucracy, judiciary, education, commerce, media etc.Hymes (1974) has observed that language boundaries between groups are drawn not on thebasis 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 defineitself by selection or creation of linguistic features, and a difference of accent may be asimportant at one boundary as a difference of grammar at another. Part of the creativity,users oflanguages, 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 andintonation.The second significance was that why different classes in society shifted from onelanguage to another language in respect of stress and intonation.The research design wasqualitative 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 Pakistanisociety?2.4. Research Questions: - How much do the socio-economic, residential and educational factors influence thestress and intonation on the language of the people ofLahore district Tehsil Lahore canttrural area? Which group in the region uses language without any code switching? Which group in the region uses language with code switching?3. Literature ReviewThe variations and connotations of prestige, is a concept that many sociolinguistics find worthyof examining. Within a speech community, identifiable dialects and practices are allocated apositive or negative assessment which impinges on the speaker. In order to understand thecomprehensive notions of linguistic prestige we have to appreciate the different variables thatare directly linked to language, as well as the resulting assessments that are attributed with thespeaker. Given that prestige draws on both linguistic and social elements, social stratificationand societal classes are two dynamics that are taken into account while attending to the above.Every society has a diverse configuration of communal layering, which is known as socialstratification. 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 ofcertain given market capacities and the formation of identifiable social classes (Giddens).A persons possession of property, their educational merits and their efficacy constitute theirmarket capacity. These factors generally tend to be consistent with their class."Proximate structuration is defined as the localized factors which condition or shape the classformations.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 mechanismwhich allocates and distributes good in the larger society (Giddens).Merging both the mediate and proximate structuration of individuals has a propensity to botherect and underpin the configuration of class.Different societies emphasize different characteristics then place the significance of thedesignated characteristics to individual members of the society. Stratification systems arestructured from the top to the bottom and contain layers that are comprised of the socialclusters. 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 samesocioeconomic status. Besides being important in social theory, the concept of class as acollection of individuals sharing similar economic circumstances has been widely used incensuses and in studies of social mobility. The U.S. social class system is comprised of 3 maingroups; the upper class, the middle class and the lower class. Each individual set is furtherdivided into subcategories of upper, middle and lower. Davis and Moore comment on thecomplex variations in stratification systems; "Any stratification system is a composite of itsstatus 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 powerand 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 emphasizesegalitarian 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 specificorganizations to promote class interests.Whereas the external conditions factor in:- A societys stage of cultural development will determine its degree of specialization, its degreeof opportunity, and its functional emphasis.- A societys 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 forcenot only can differ from individual, personal interests, but can conflict with these interests. Twoparticular interests are increasingly articulated: the revolutionary interests of the working classand the conservative interests of the bourgeois. On the basis of these class interests, in fightingto realize them or defend them, the groups determined by the distribution of property inproduction, and by the distribution of political power flowing form it, organize themselves intoclasses (Dahrendorf)." It is held in place by "a system of beliefs and cultural attitudes that rankspeople according to economic status, family lineage, job status, level of education, and otherdivisions. Classism is the systematic oppression of subordinated class groups to advantage andstrengthen the dominant class groups." Language plays a central role within social classes asvaluation is placed on the speaker. Linguists such as William Labov and Walt Wolfram havestudied the compelling influence that social class has on language variation.Sociolects are group dependent similarities in language (Louwerse) and distinctive speechcharacteristics of the people belonging to assorted social groups. The attributes of their speechcan alter, based on the addressees. The characteristics of speech can be either solelyprestigious or stigmatized, or contain aspects of both. Although the correspondence betweenlinguistic variables and class exist subjectively, linguistic variation has a propensity to behabituated by class. "Persons have attitudes toward language which are especially salient andinfluential in initial interactions. Various linguistic features trigger in message recipients beliefsand evaluations regarding message senders, and that these beliefs and evaluations are mostlikely to affect recipients behaviors toward senders in contexts of low familiarity (Bradac)."
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 socialconfigurations. That being said, we can see how members of a specific social group employlinguistic variants to establish their role in the group. "The relationship between local identitypractices and social structures istheorized to some extent. Yet the subjective details are notgenerally modeled, possibly becauseBourdieus theory posits individual variation in mentalrepresentations of the social world. The very concept of practice as mediator between habitusand social structure demands this sort of internal investigation (Dodsworth)." Linguistic variablesthat attempt to link a speaker to his or her class are subjective; as they alter within differentperspective and environments.Linguistic variables have a significant role in society, as ones socioeconomic status isstrongly language and the consequential perception in relation to language. Particular speechpatterns and habits are bestowed with a positive or negative value. This value is then attributedto the speaker. A critical concept that sociolinguistics examine, is that of prestige. There aremany varieties and sources of linguistic prestige, some of which are discriminatory. WaltWolfram notes how "like sociocultural parameters, linguistic boundaries are permeable,constructed notions defined more adequately on the basis of sociopolitical and ideologicalconsiderations 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 ofovert and covert prestige.Overt prestige is a communitys widespread positive social evaluation of the linguistic formsemployed by a high status group (Sterling). Overt prestige is given a positive societalassessment because of its prevalent identification of social worth. Speakers of standardEnglish, for example a newscaster or professor, are agents, as they are directly associated witha prestigious group and acknowledged as belonging to that group.Covert prestigeis the positive valuation of a "socially stigmatized variety at a smaller, morelocal level (Sterling)." With covert prestige, linguistic forms are given confirmatory value eitherbecause of or despite their connection with local social groups and their role; as opposed towhat the collective view of that social group may be. The use of the term "covert prestige" refersto the situation of speakers knowingly and deliberately employing features disfavored by usersof the prestige variety, for the purpose of achieving solidarity, identity, and recognition within amore specific group, as a choice not to assimilate to the general society (Schneider)." Noteveryone is considered to speak Standard English, as their speech may utilize a variety along
with local prestige. When a speaker applies a stigmatized variety to demonstrate groupcohesion and distinctiveness, the term vernacular bonding is used.The interaction between social class, style and the correspondence of specific linguistic variantshas been extensively researched by William Labov.He notes that a "speech community is notdefined by any marked agreement in the use of language elements, so much as by participationin 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 particularlevels of usage (Labov 1972: 120-121).The above shows the direct influence of language and social factors. The notions of overt andcovert prestige fluctuate amid speakers of different regions and communal groups. It can alsobe modified by the individual speaker, contingent upon sociolinguistic competence. Empiricaldata from the study of dialogues thus may contribute to our understanding of some centralissues concerning the nature of language variation (Tottie 219). Wolfram notes how themethodological challenge of defining linguistic boundaries is every bit as complex as thechallenge of defining social and cultural ones. Additionally we must respect the fact that thereare an extensive array of sociocultural associations, progressions, and characteristics that needto be taken into account.Language;an Identity symbol andEmpowerment in Pakistan: -Language has become an identity symbol under modern conditions when different collectivitiescompete for power and resources. The possibility of increased communication, facilitate themanipulation of larger labels for group identities such as religion or language. These labelssupper-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 wholecollectivity now. In short, ethnic identity is constructed just as nationalist identities wereconstructed in Europe because of the presence of collective symbols, especially uniform andstandardized print languages, as Benedict Anderson (1983) has argued.Apart from the role of language in identity construction, there is the issue of its use in educationand attitudes towards it.Shemeem Abbas has written on the strong presence of English ineducation and other domains in Pakistan (Abbas 1993).A survey has carried out of Punjabistudents‟ attitude towards languages and comes to the conclusion that they rank Englishhighest; 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 languageifthey can enter the domains of power through employment. There are large sections of
population, mostly of the urban population, who derive their powerfrom their ability to manipulatethe written word in English and Urdu, the domains of power in Pakistan. This power is notdirectly proportional to one‟s competence in the languages but without the ability to read, writeand 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 andEnglish, he cannot get even clerical jobs in Pakistan except in Sindh. If one can write Urdu butnot English, he can get lower jobs in all the provinces of Pakistan. Higher jobsare reserved forthose who can read and write English. This state of affairs is related to the pattern of distributionof power. When the Mughals ruled India, they used Persian in the domains of power forcingHindus to learn this language and become Muslimized in culture (Faruqi 1998).In 1837 whenBritish did away with the ascendancy of Persian by substituting English in its place in the higherdomains 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 dominatedthe 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. Theascendancy of Englishreflects the ascendancy of those who happen to be powerful at themoment the Western trained cadres of Pakistani elite.In modern times, the state provides institutions for teaching languages of power but in anobviously class based and highly discriminatory manner.In Pakistan the mainstream publiceducation is mainly in Urdufor vernacular poor people.For elite of power, armed forces, andstate functionaries, a parallel education system is created,which have English as medium ofinstruction.A chain of highly expensive English medium schools like Froebels, Beaconhouseand City School System, cater only for the elite of wealth. Even more wealthy people get theirchildren educated outside the country or in International American School.Facilities provided inthese schools are much better than those provided by the government in its mainstreamsystem. This is how the Pakistani ruling elite itself infringes its own principle of providingeducation through the medium of vernacular.It also creates and maintains a class baseddiscriminatory system of schooling. In this system the majority of population is either left illiterateor given vernacular medium schooling which puts them at a disadvantage in the quest forempowerment via a visceral the elites of power and wealth. Moreover, the ruling elite do notonly lack faith in its own education policy but also subverts it by investing in a parallel model ofeducation from which it stands to benefit.Sensing the usefulness of English as a language of power, the people go to great hardships toprovide English medium education for their children. They provide education of so variable aquality that it defies classification. A number of religious organizations too now run suchschools. They claim to combine Islamic socialization with skills in modern subjects and English.
Modernity as a Domain of Power: -Modernityincreased the number of people who could be empowered through the manipulation ofthe written word.Entry to the large bureaucratic network created by modernity is through literacyin standard form of language recognized as „official‟ by the state. Since the British staterecognized 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 ofpower. Among these were Urdu and Sindhi which are now used in Pakistan. Teaching of theselanguages in state institutions, development of their standard, written variety and printing inthem are all consequences of modernity.The reflection of this change as far as language in concerned takes many forms. First, the olderPersian textbooks which reflected a magical, non-rational, pre-modern world view have beenreplaced by textbooks which reflect the modern point of view. This „modern‟ viewis that of theruling elites of the state. The British intervention changed these texts making them verypuritanical and nationalistic (Rahman 2001a). This has created an attitude of contempt for themedieval classics in Pakistan, a contempt which goes hand in hand with the idea that the Westis „shameless‟ and our own culture is „pure‟.4. MethodologyI am teaching in Government high school KahnaNau Lahore cantt, which is situated onFerozpur road (Lahore Kasur road) Lahore. KahnaNau, twenty eighty kilometers away fromLahore city, was a very small town some twenty years ago. Now it has become a very big townand spread in near about twenty kilometers radius. There are eighty four villages all around it. Iinterviewed twenty of my students; those were belonged to different localities of KahnaNau townand villages around it. I also talked about my assignment with my university colleagues ofbachelor level.The nature of the study is qualitative because the data was collected through interviews and theresults were presented descriptively not statistically. For data collection, I restricted myself onlyfor the Lahore district Tehsil Lahore cantonment rural area. I used the technique of observanceparadox to observe the students during the interview.5. Data analysis I observed that all students used entirely different stress, intonation patterns, andvocabulary 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 kahnanau town students wereentirely different from those of village side students.
Kahnanau town students were also code mixing of Urdu with their mother tonguePunjabi. My university colleagues were also mixing and switchingthe codes from Punjabi to Urduand Urdu to English languages. Their use of morphological, vocabulary items andsyntactic patterns were quite different from village side students. Their every utterancewas telling about their possession of a higher social status and class.6. ConclusionAccording to my opinion these students were belonged to three social classes. One, who belong to villages were using onlyPunjabi with entirely different stress andintonation patterns according to their village and locality. Second, who belong to proper kahna town were using different stress and intonationpatterns and also they were code mixing of Urdu with Punjabi. Third,who belong to my university were mixing and switching the codes from Punjabi toUrdu and Urdu to English and using and showing difference in stress and intonationpatterns. So I concluded that locality, educational and social-economic levels also play a vital rolein 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) 38-601999c „the Language of Employment: The Case of Pakistan‟ Journal of South Asian and Middle EasternStudies.Vol. 23 No. 4 (Summer 2000) 62-872001a. „the Project of Respectability: Changes in Language Textbooks in British India‟, PakistanPerspectives 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 Marthas Vineyard community: What can wesay 40 years after Labov?" Language in Society 32(2003): 451-485.
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