Diglossia

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A discussion on Diglossia in a Sociolinguistics class

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  • now my question is in nigeria should we recognize the english language as a high language and pidgin as the low languag?
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  • this article is a good one but should have also stated the strenght and weakness of diglossia
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Diglossia

  1. 1. DIGLOSSIA Sociolinguistics
  2. 2. Ferguson 1959 <ul><li>A rigid form of functional specialization </li></ul><ul><li>Specialization of two varieties of the same language </li></ul><ul><li>a relatively stable language situation </li></ul><ul><li>in addition to the primary dialects of a language (may include standard or regional standards) </li></ul><ul><li>there is a very divergent, highly-codified (gramatically more complex) superposed variety </li></ul><ul><li>a vehicle of a large and respected body of written literature </li></ul><ul><li>vehicle of an earlier period or in another speech community </li></ul><ul><li>learned largely by formal education </li></ul><ul><li>used for most written and formal spoken purposes </li></ul><ul><li>but is not used for ordinary conversation </li></ul>
  3. 3. Fishman 1972a <ul><li>Extended Ferguson’s concept to: FUNCTIONAL SPECIALIZATION OF TWO OR MORE LANGUAGES. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Diglossic Situation <ul><li>Exists in a speech community where two codes perform two separate sets of functions </li></ul><ul><li>Superposed variety (H) OR HIGH </li></ul><ul><li>Other varieties - dialects (L) OR LOW </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><li>Arabic (H) and colloquial Arabic (L) </li></ul><ul><li>Standard German (H) and Swiss German (L) </li></ul><ul><li>Standard French (H) and Haitian Creole (L) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Specializations of Functions for (H) and (L) <ul><li>Example: ARABIC </li></ul><ul><li>(H) </li></ul>Church & Mosque Sermons Political speeches University Lectures News broadcasts Newspaper editorials and poetry
  6. 6. Specializations of Functions for (H) and (L) <ul><li>Example: ARABIC </li></ul><ul><li>(L) </li></ul>Giving instructions to waiters, servants and clerks Personal letters Radio soap operas Captions on political cartoons and folk literature
  7. 7. 3 Conditions Leading to Diglossia <ul><li>Existence of a large body of literature in a language that is similar to or the same as the indigenous language </li></ul><ul><li>Literacy in the community is usually restricted to a small elite </li></ul><ul><li>Involves centuries in establishing the first and second conditions </li></ul>
  8. 8. Attitudes of speakers of (H) & (L) <ul><li>Regard H as superior to L leading to denying the existence of L </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><li>Educated Arabs deny using the L variety of Arabic </li></ul><ul><li>Haitian Creole speakers claiming they speak only French (=>show clipping of Haitian Creole) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Attitudes of speakers of (H) & (L) <ul><li>Believe that the H variety is more logical, more beautiful and better able to express important thoughts </li></ul>
  10. 10. Fishman on Diglossia <ul><li>Generalized the concept of diglossia to bilingual communities </li></ul><ul><li>Also noted H and L in the heirarchical evaluation of languages </li></ul><ul><li>Example: Zaire </li></ul><ul><li>French is reserved for prestige domains like higher education, law and administration </li></ul><ul><li>Lingala and other indigenous languages for less prestigious domains (low languages) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Other concepts on Diglossia <ul><li>Interpreted as implying a rather rigid or complementarity or exclusivity of functions </li></ul><ul><li>This can result also to overlapping or intermeshing </li></ul><ul><li>Application of diglossia to bilingualism cannot be precise because in bilingualism the codes in question may not be so sharply differentiated into high or low codes </li></ul>

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