Basic Definitions: Sociolinguistics: “The study of language in relation to sociey…” Hudson (1996) Linguistics: “The scientific study of human language meaning, form and context” Stowell (2000) Contrast between Sociolinguistics and Sociology of Language Sociolinguistics: It’smainfocusis “SocietyonLanguage” Sociology of Language: It’smainfocusis “Languageseffectsonsociety”
Main Representatives of Sociolinguistics “American linguist, widely regarded as the founder of the discipline of variationist sociolinguistics. He has been described as "an enormously original and influential figure who has created much of the methodology" of sociolinguistics. He is employed as a professor in the linguistics department of the University of Pennsylvania, and pursues research in sociolinguistics, language change, and dialectology.” William Labov (1972- US) “British sociologist and linguist, known for his work in the sociology of education. Basil Bernstein made a significant contribution to the study of communication with his sociolinguistic theory of language codes. BasilBernstein (1924 - 2000)- UK)
Field of Study of socioLinguistics: Language Varieties, social variables affecting language: ethnicity, religion, status, gender, level of education, age, and so on; rules creation for social or socioeconomic classes, dialects (usage of language from place to place); grammar, phonetics and vocabulary of language variations among social classes (sociolects); code switching
Main Concepts in sociolinguistics SpeechCommunity:Discrete group of people who use language in a unique and mutually accepted way among themselves. High/LowPrestigeVarieties:Speech habits are assigned a positive or a negative value which is then applied to the speaker Social Network:A particular speech community in terms of relations between individual members in a community I-Language and E-Language:Internal language applies to the study of syntax and semantics in language on the abstract level; External language applies to language in social contexts, i.e. behavioral habits shared by a community.
Methodology in sociolinguistics As intruduced by William Labov, the method used in sociolinguistics is the quantitative study of language into language variation and change. There are five different styles, ranging from formal to casual, namely: (MP) Minimal Pair Reading: Minimal pairs are pairs of words that differ in only one phoneme, such as cat and bat. (WL) Word List Reading: Having the subject read a word list will elicit a formal register, but generally not as formal as MP. (RP) Reading Passage Style: This style is next down on the formal register. (IS) Interview Style: It’s when an interviewer can finally get into eliciting a more casual speech from the subject. (CS) Casual Style: This type of speech is difficult if not impossible to elicit because of the Observer's Paradox.
Languages in contact (contact linguistics) Language contact occurs when two or more languages or varieties interact. The study of language contact is called Contact Linguistics. Forms of influence of one language on another: Borrowing of Vocabulary: The most common way that languages influence each other is by exchange of words. Adoption of Other Language Features: The influence can go deeper, extending to the exchange of even basic characteristics of a language such as morphology and grammar. Language Shift: The result of the contact of two languages can be the replacement of one by the other (superstratum over substratum). Stratal Influence: when people retain features of the substratum as they learn the new language and pass these features on to their children, leading to the development of a new variety Pidginization & Creolization: People with no common language interact, developing a pidgin, which may eventually become a native language.
Other important language concepts Slang Idiom Dialect VernacularLanguage Jargon SecondLanguage ForeignLanguage Standard Language NativeLanguage Lingua Franca OfficialLanguage Global Language Neutral Language
Sociolinguistics and teaching (importance) Language as conventional system acquired by individuals in social contact or a social phenomenon of verbal interaction. Language as a distinctive element of communication presenting linguistics varieties, which are geographical, historical, social and culturally determined. Relevant in the process of teaching foreign languages as a social adjustment factor. Language variations according to gender, age, ethnicity, status, and so on. The notion of ‘World Enghishes’ on the basis of language regional variations. Main emphasis on communication and intelligibility rather that a ‘perfecfect native-like pronnunciation’.
BIBLIOGRAPHY R.A. Hudson (1996). “Socioinguistics” Cambridge University Press. New York. Lakoff, Robin T. (2000). The Language War. Berkely, University of California Press CA Tim Stowell (2000). Linguistics: An Introduction to Linguistic Theory. Blackwell. Oxford. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistics