Language, Dialects, and Varieties Hudson (1980,p. 24) defines a variety of a language as a set of linguistic items with similar distribution, a definition that allows one to say that all of the following are varieties. Ferguson (1971, p.30) offers another definition of variety: ‘Any body of human speech patterns which is sufficiently homogeneous to be analyzed by available techniques of synchronic description and which has a sufficiently large repertory of elements and their arrangements or processes with broad enough semantic scope to function in all normal context of communication.
Language and Dialects
Haugen (1966a) has pointed out that language and dialect are ambiguous terms. The terms ‘represent a simple dichotomy in a situation that is almost considerably complex’.
Language can be used to refer either to a single linguistic norm or to a group of related norms, and dialect to refer to one of the norms; but norms themselves are not static.
Bell, 1976,pp. 147-57 has listed seven criteria that may be useful in discussing different kinds of languages. These criteria may be used to distinguish one type of language.
Standardization refers to the processes by which a language has been codified in some way.
Vitality refers to the existence of a living community of speakers.
Historicity refers to the fact that a particular group of people finds a sense of identity through using a particular language.
Autonomy is an interesting concept because it is really one of feeling. a language must be felt by its speakers to be different from the other language.
Reduction refers to the facts that a particular variety may be regarded as a sub variety rather than as an independent entity.
Mixture refers to feelings speakers have about the ‘purity’ of the variety of the speak.
De facto norms refers to the feeling that many speakers have that there are both ‘good’ speakers and ‘poor’ speakers and that the good speakers represent the norms of proper usage.
Two other terms are important in connection with some of the issues discussed above: vernacular and koine.
Regional Dialects Regional variation in the way a language is spoken is likely to be one of the most noticeable ways in which we observe variety in language. As we travel throughout a wide geographical area in which a language is spoken, and particularly if that language has been spoken in that area for many hundreds of years, we are almost certain to notice differences in pronunciation, in the choices and form of words, and in syntax.
There are some further interesting differences in the use of the terms dialect and patois (Petyt,1980). Patois is usually used to describe only rural forms of speech; we may talk about urban dialect. A dialect usually has a wider geographical distribution than a patois, so that, whereas regional dialect and village patois seem unobjectionable, the same cannot be said for regional patois and village dialect.
Social Dialects Social dialects originate from social group and depend on a variety of factors, the principal ones apparently being :
Style and Registers Register is another complicating factor in any study of language varieties. Register are sets of vocabulary items associated with discrete occupational or social groups. Bloodmfield (1927) mentioned a variety of skills that were displayed among some Of speakers.
conclusion One important conclusion from all we have said that many varieties of language exist and each language exist in a number of guises.It is still quite possible to listen to an individual speaker and infer very specific thing which speaker hearing a bit relatively. Last hypothesis is an interesting one in that it raises very important question about linguistic capabilities of human being, and
The Existence of different varieties is interesting respect while we may have productive control over only a few varieties of a language ourselves, we can usually comprehend many more varieties and related all of these to the concept of a single language. Because we receptive linguistic ability more greater than our productive linguistic ability. So far as varieties of language are concerned. The problem is knowing how best to characterize those abilities, which means knowledge that we have enables us to recognize something as being in languange but yet marked as “different” in some way.