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Language Variation

Language Variation






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    Language Variation Language Variation Presentation Transcript

    • Varieties of English
      • VARIATION: Natural phenomenon
      • Language is a form of social behavior and communities tend to split up into groups, each displaying differences of behavior
      • Language manifests differences of behavior
      • Language is the variety of speakers
      • Speakers vary in their vocabulary and skills to use it
      • Linguistic variables have both social and style variation, some only social, but none style variation only
    • Dialect
      • No universally accepted criteria for distinguishing languages from dialects , although a number of paradigms exist, which render sometimes contradictory results
      • The exact distinction is a subjective one, dependent on the user's frame of reference
      • Language varieties are often called dialects rather than languages :
      • Because
      • solely they are not,or not recognized as literary languages
      • the speakers of the given language do not have a state of their own
      • they are not used in press or literature, or very little.
      • because their language lacks prestige
      • Difference between Accent and Dialect
      • a variety of a language characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers
      • applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors, such as social class
      • Defined as: a sub-division of a language, used by a group of speakers who have some non-linguistic characteristics in common or the specific form of a language used by a speech community
      • Most common characteristic: the regional one
      • Link can also be occupational and social
      • Sometime variety depends upon the occasion to use as well
      • the word "dialect" is sometimes used to refer to a lesser-known language most commonly a regional language , especially one that is unwritten or not standardized
      • often accompanied by the erroneous belief that the minority language is lacking in vocabulary, grammar, or importance
      • the difference between language and dialect is the difference between the abstract or general and the concrete and particular
      • Identifying a particular dialect as the " standard " or "proper" version of a language are in fact using these terms to express a social distinction
      • the status of language is not solely determined by linguistic criteria, but it is also the result of a historical and political development
      • Mandarin and Cantonese are often considered dialects and not languages, despite their mutual unintelligibility, because they share a common literary standard and common body of literature
      • The number of speakers, and the geographical area covered by them, can be of arbitrary size
      • a dialect might contain several sub-dialects
      • A dialect is a complete system of verbal communication oral or signed , but not necessarily written with its own vocabulary and grammar
      • A dialect is distinguished by its vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation including phonology and prosody
      • the "dialects" of a "language" which itself may be a "dialect" of a yet older tongue may or may not be mutually intelligible
      • a parent language may spawn several "dialects" which themselves subdivide any number of times, with some "branches" of the tree changing more rapidly than others
      • among the modern Romance tongues, with Italian and Spanish having a high degree of mutual comprehensibility, which neither language shares with French , despite both languages being genetically closer to French than to each other
      • French has undergone more rapid change than have Spanish and Italian
    • Standard and non-standard dialects
      • A standard dialect: a dialect that is supported by institutions
      • Such institutional support may include government recognition or designation;
      • presentation as being the "correct" form of a language in schools;
      • published grammars, dictionaries, and textbooks that set forth a "correct" spoken and written form;
      • an extensive formal literature that employs that dialect in prose, poetry, non-fiction, etc.
      • Standard American English , Standard British English , Standard Indian English , Standard Australian English , and Standard Philippine English may all be said to be standard dialects of the English language
      • A nonstandard dialect : has a complete vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, but is not the beneficiary of institutional support
      • An example of a nonstandard English dialect is Southern English
      • The Dialect Test was designed by Joseph Wright to compare different English dialects with each other
    • Regional dialect
      • not a distinct language
      • a variety of a language spoken in a particular area of a country
      • Some regional dialects have been given traditional names which mark them out as being significantly different from standard varieties spoken in the same place
      • Ex: 'Hillbilly English' from the Appalachians in the USA and 'Geordie' from Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK
    • Minority dialect:
      • Sometimes members of a particular minority ethnic group have their own variety which they use as a marker of identity, usually alongside a standard variety
      • Ex: African American Vernacular English in the USA, London Jamaican in Britain, and Aboriginal English in Australia
      • Indigenized variety
      • Indigenized varieties are spoken mainly as second languages in ex-colonies with multilingual populations
      • The differences from the standard variety may be linked to English proficiency, or may be part of a range of varieties used to express identity.
      • 'Singlish' spoken in Singapore is a variety very different from standard English, and there are many other varieties of English used in India
    • Sociolect
      • the variety of language characteristic of a social background or status
      • A dialect which evolves from regional speech may also have sociolectical implications
      • Ex: standard Italian is a dialect in that it is particular to Tuscany ; yet, being the national language of Italy, it is also a sociolect in that it carries a certain prestige from being the lingua franca throughout the country – both in broadcasting, in the press, and by people of high social status
    • Idiolect
      • a variety of a language unique to an individual
      • manifested by patterns of word selection and grammar , or words, phrases, idioms , or pronunciations that are unique to that individual
      • Every individual has an idiolect
      • the grouping of words and phrases is unique, rather than an individual using specific words that nobody else uses
      • idiolect can easily evolve into an ecolect —a dialect variant specific to a household
      • languages are congruences of idiolects and thus exist only in the intersection between individual speakers
      • Idiolects change through contact with other idiolects, and change throughout their lifetime as well as from generation to generation
    • Register
      • term was originated by: Thomas Bertram Reid in 1956
      • Become common: in the 1960s introduced by a group of linguists who wanted to distinguish between variations in language according to the user and variations according to use ,
      • each speaker has a range of varieties and choices between them at different times
      • (Halliday et al, 1964)
      • focus is on the way language is used in particular situations
      • Halliday (1964) identifies three variables that determine register: field (the subject matter of the discourse), tenor (the participants and their relationships) and mode (the channel of communication, e.g. spoken or written)
      • Joos (1961) describes five styles in spoken English:
      • Frozen: Printed unchanging language such as bible quotations; often contains archaisms
      • Formal: One-way participation, no interruption. Technical vocabulary; "Fussy semantics" or exact definitions are important. Includes introductions between strangers
      • Consultative: Two-way participation. Background information is provided — prior knowledge is not assumed. "Backchannel behaviour" such as "uh huh", "I see", etc. is common. Interruptions allowed
      • Casual: In-group friends and acquaintances. No background information provided. Ellipsis and slang common. Interruptions common.
      • Intimate: Non-public. Intonation more important than wording or grammar. Private vocabulary
      Very informal, Casual, Familiar INFORMAL ->      Neutral      ← FORMAL Formality scale Very formal, Frozen, Rigid from Quirk et al (1985), who use the term attitude rather than style or register
    • Isogloss
      • Greek isos equal + glossa a tongue
      • the geographical boundary or delineation of a certain linguistic feature
      • Ex: the pronunciation of a vowel , the meaning of a word, or use of some syntactic feature
      • A line on a map enclosing an area within which a particular linguistic feature is found
      • Various types of isogloss are distinguished: an isophone is a feature of pronunciation, an isolex an item of vocabulary, an isomorph a feature of wordformation, and an isoseme a particular word meaning
      • the isogloss separates rather than connects points of equal language
    • The line on the map of southern England separates the area where the vowel in a word such as cut is /V/black circles from the area where the vowel is /U/crosses from Laver (1994)
    • Isoglosses on the Faroe Islands
    • Pidgin
      • a new language which develops in situations where speakers of different languages need to communicate but don't share a common language
      • The vocabulary of a pidgin comes mainly from one particular language; the 'lexifier‘
      • An early 'pre-pidgin' is quite restricted in use and variable in structure
      • the later 'stable pidgin' develops its own grammatical rules which are quite different from those of the lexifier
      • Once a stable pidgin has emerged, it is generally learned as a second language and used for communication among people who speak different languages
      • Ex: Nigerian Pidgin and Bislama spoken in Vanuatu
    • Creole
      • Latin creare , meaning "to beget" or "create"
      • The term was coined in the sixteenth century during the great expansion in European maritime power and trade and the establishment of European colonies in the Americas , Africa , and along the coast of South and Southeast Asia up to the Philippines , China , India , and in Oceania
      • Originally, therefore, "Creole language" meant the speech of those Creole peoples
      • a stable language that originates seemingly as a nativized pidgin
      • When children start learning a pidgin as their first language and it becomes the mother tongue of a community, it is called a creole
      • Like a pidgin, a creole is a distinct language which has taken most of its vocabulary from another language, the lexifier, but has its own unique grammatical rules
      • Arends, Muysken & Smith (1995 ) suggest that four different processes are involved in creating Foreigner Talk:
      • Accommodation
      • Imitation
      • Telegraphic condensation
      • Conventions
      • Presumably, between six ad twelve Smillion peole still using pidgin languages and between ten and seventeen using descendents from pidgins
      • Unlike a pidgin, however, a creole is not restricted in use, and is like any other language in its full range of functions
      • creoles have certain grammatical similarities to each other and, arguably, not languages that they are derived from
      • Creoles exhibit more internal variability than other languages
      • Creoles are simpler than other languages
      • creole languages have generally been regarded as degenerate , or at best as rudimentary dialects of one of their parent languages
      • "creole" has come to be used in opposition to "language" rather than a qualifier for it
      • Ex: Gullah, Jamaican Creole and Hawai`i Creole English.
      • 'pidgin' and 'creole' are technical terms used by linguists, and not necessarily by speakers of the language. For example, speakers of Jamaican Creole call their language 'Patwa' (from patois) and speakers of Hawai`I Creole English call theirs 'Pidgin '
    • Theories to describe creole phenomenon
      • 1. The monogenetic theory of pidgins and creoles
      • a single origin for these languages, deriving them through relexification from a West African Pidgin Portuguese of the 17th century and ultimately from the Lingua franca of the Mediterranean
      • originally formulated by Hugo Schuchardt in the late 19th century and popularized in the late 1950s and early 1960s by Douglas Taylor as well as in Whinnom (1956 ), Thompson (1961 ) and Stewart (1962 )
      • 2-European dialect origin hypotheses
      • The French creoles are the foremost candidates to being the outcome of "normal" linguistic change
      • creoleness to be sociohistoric in nature and relative to their colonial origin though
      • 3. The Domestic Origin Hypothesis
      • Proposed by Hancock (1985 ) for the development of a local form of English in West Africa
      • towards the end of the 16th century, English-speaking traders began to settle in the Gambia and Sierra Leone rivers as well as in neighboring areas such as the Bullom and Sherbro coasts
      • These settlers intermarried with the local population leading to mixed populations and as a result of this intermarriage, an English pidgin was created, which in turn was learned by slaves in slave depots, who later on took it to the West Indies and formed one component of the emerging English creoles
      • 4. Foreigner talk or baby talk
      • a pidgin or creole language forms when native speakers attempt to simplify their language in order to address speakers who do not know their language at all
      • Because of the similarities found in this type of speech and the speech which is usually directed at children
      • Gradualist and developmental hypotheses
      • One class of creoles might start as pidgins , rudimentary second languages improvised for use between speakers of two or more non-intelligible native languages
      • Keith Whinnom (in Hymes (1971 )) suggests that pidgins need three languages to form, with one (the superstrate) being clearly dominant over the others
      • The lexicon of a pidgin is usually small and drawn from the vocabularies of its speakers, in varying proportions. Morphological details like word inflections , which usually take years to learn, are omitted; the syntax is kept very simple, usually based on strict word order
      • In this initial stage, all aspects of the speech — syntax, lexicon, and pronunciation —tend to be quite variable, especially with regard to the speaker's background
      • If a pidgin manages to be learned by the children of a community as a native language, it may become fixed and acquire a more complex grammar, with fixed phonology, syntax, morphology, and syntactic embedding
      • Pidgins can become full languages in only a single generation
      • "Creolization" is this second stage where the pidgin language develops into a fully developed native language
      • The vocabulary, too, will contain more and more words according to a rational and stable system
      • Universalist approaches
      • Universalist models stress the intervention of specific general processes during the transmission of language from generation to generation and from speaker to speaker
      • The process invoked varies: a general tendency towards semantic transparency , first language learning driven by universal process, or general process of discourse organization
      • creoles are inventions of the children growing up on newly founded plantations
      • Around them, they only heard pidgins spoken, without enough structure to function as natural languages
      • the children used their own innate linguistic capacities to transform the pidgin input into a full-fledged language
    • Jargon
      • Jargon is terminology that relates to a specific activity, profession or group
      • develops as a kind of shorthand, to quickly express ideas that are frequently discussed between members of a group
      • more precise or specialized usage among practitioners of a field
      • "guild" or "insider" jargon
      • divorced from meaning to outsiders
      • Used in various fields:
      • sports broadcast
      • to refer to concepts within the belief systems of organized religion
      • medical professionals
      • Information Technology and the Internet
      • Nautical Terms
      • to refer to political strategies and tactics
    • Slang
      • Slang is the use of informal words and expressions to describe an object or condition
      • vocabulary that is meant to be interpreted quickly but not necessarily literally
      • slang words or terms are often a metaphor or an allegory
      • sometimes regional in that it is used only in a particular territory
      • particular to a certain subculture , such as musicians , and members of minority groups
      • usage of slang expressions can spread outside their original arenas to become commonly used
      • some words eventually lose their status as slang, others continue to be considered as such by most speakers
      • the process tends to lead the original users to replace the words with other, less-recognized terms to maintain group identity
      • slang is the complete opposite of jargon
      • Criteria for true slang proposed by Dumas & Lighter
      • lowers, temporarily, the dignity of formal or serious speech or writing or glaring misuse of register
      • Its use implies that the user is familiar with whatever is referred to, or with a group of people that are familiar with it and use the term.
      • a taboo term in ordinary discourse with people of a higher social status or greater responsibility
      • replaces a well known conventional synonym, to avoid the discomfort caused by the conventional item or to elaborate it
      • Slang terms are often known only within a clique or ingroup