ACCENT AND DIALECT Accent Dialects Non-standard Non-standard pronunciation of a word Pronunciation 21 accents Grammar Vocabulary Black American dialect
WHAT IS SOCIAL CLASS? Grouping people together Giving them status in society according to the groups they belong to
WHAT IS SOCIAL CLASS? Accent or dialect? Where you live? Your occupation? Your income? How much money your family has?
WHAT DETERMINSES SOCIAL CLASS? Everyone gets four cards Education Income Occupation Wealth
WHAT DETERMINES SOCIAL CLASS? Some people get face cards and land in the upper middle class Others may only get low cards and be in the lowest class
CLASSES IN THE U.S. Two upper classes Upper upper: Old money (George Bush) Lower upper: New money (Bill Gates) Two middle classes Upper middle: professional Lower middle: White collar and entrepreneurs Two lower class Upper lower: Blue collar (factory workers) Lower lower: Unemployed and homeless
THE AMERICAN DREAM Do Americans believe that they can move from one class to another? 40% of Americans believe that the possibility to move up has increased. 35% believe that there has been no change. 23% believe that the possibility to move up has decreased.
THE AMERICAN DREAM - REALITY One study found that fewer families moved up the income ladder during the 1980s than during the 1970s And even fewer moved up in the 1990s Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the ability to move up declined from the 1980s to the 1990s.
IDENTIFYING SOCIAL CLASS How you look How you dress What you eat What you like to do Where you live What your house looks like How you talk
HOW DOES SOCIAL CLASS AFFECT LANGUAGE? William Labov’s Department Store Study in New York City Saks 5th Avenue – Upper class At 50th St. and 5th Ave., near the center of the high fashion shopping district Macy’s – Middle class On Herald Square & at 34th St. and 6th Ave. near garment district S. Klein – Lower class On Union Square at 14th and Broadway, not far from the Lower East Side
DEPARTMENT STORE STUDY Location Number of advertisements in New York newspapers Prices of women’s coats Saks: $90 Macy’s: $80 Klein’s: $23 Size and layout of store
DEPARTMENT STORE STUDYInterviewer: Excuse me, where are the women’s shoes?Salesperson: Fourth floor.Interviewer: Excuse me?Salesperson: Fourth floor.
DEPARTMENT STORE STUDY Pronunciation of postvocalic /r/ is variable Labov’s hypothesis: Prestigious stores will have most /r/ Middle ranked store will have an intermediate number Lowest ranked store will have the least /r/
PERCENT OF /R/ IN “FOURTH FLOOR”
DIFFERENT SPEECH COMMUNITIES The same linguistic variable is likely to have different values in different speech communities. New York: /r/ is pronounced more by higher social classes. Reading, England: /r/ is pronounced less by higher social classes.
CONCLUSIONS Language variation, the use of standard and non-standard dialects, often reflects speakers social class. Lower classes tend to speak non-standard dialects. Upper classes tend to speak standard dialects. Middle classes sometimes speak more standard dialects because they hope to move to a higher class.
REFERENCE: Presentation adapted from: http://www.english.wisc.edu/rfyoung/336/clas s.pdf Accessed on April 25, 2011.