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Language variation


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Language variation

  1. 1. Language variation1. Languages v. dialects2. Sociolinguistic terms3. Dialect maps (HW 6)4. Types of variation5. Pidgins and Creoles
  2. 2. Languages v. Dialects• There is no clear-cut distinction between different dialects of a language and different languages of the same family. – Portuguese and Spanish are different languages, but often mutually intelligble (=more like dialects) – Mandarin and Cantonese are considered to be versions of the same ‘language’, Chinese, but are not mutually intelligible (=more like languages)• Factors bearing on distinction between a language and a dialect: – degree of mutual intelligibility – socio-political boundaries – existence of distinct writing system• Crucially, all dialects are rule-governed, just like languages. Hence, no linguistic basis for considering any dialect superior to any other. (Adapted from Lecture slides 17-19)
  3. 3. Dialects• “A dialect of a language is a variety of that language with systematic phonological, lexical, and grammatical characteristics that set it apart from other varieties.” (Lecture slides 17-19)• Factors influencing different dialects: – Geographic (Language Files 10.3) – Social (age, socioeconomic status/class, gender, ethnicity) (10.4)
  4. 4. Chapters 18-19 Dialects: Maine "I was born at Damariscotta Mills which is a section of the town of Nobleboro in the state of Maine. Uh, on the fifteenth of November, 1915. My father at the time was working in a factory, my mother was a housewife. However, she had been working in a telephone office before her marriage and she, when my youngest, when my brother became five years old she went back to work for the phone company and my mother always worked." ● native Mainer ● ethnicity: Caucasian ● born in 1915 ● recorded in 2009 Link to IDEA transcription page: ●
  5. 5. Chapters 18-19 Dialects: Mississippi "But first of all, southern barbeque is always pork. Uh, secondly, the main thing is not the sauce, ever. Uh, most people think once you put barbeque sauce on something, you know from outside of this area that makes it barbeque. No--no indeed it’s the cooking, and the cooking is long and painstaking. For instance, we cooked a whole hog. This takes fourteen hours." ● from Oxford & Memphis, MS ● ethnicity: Caucasian ● born in 1930s ● recorded in 2000 Link to IDEA transcription page: ●
  6. 6. Chapters 18-19 Dialects: Mississippi "I, started out workin’ with my father, and later I start workin’ for the Coca Cola bottle company in Grenada. And I worked there, ‘bout seventeen, eighteen year and, uh, they closed down and I drove cab awhile. Then I went to Rockwell International and worked there about sixteen years in Rockwell. I got laid off at Rockwell and I drove cab awhile and I went to the police department, worked there as a jailer for three and a half year." ● born & raised Grenada County, MS ● ethnicity: African American ● 63 years old Link to IDEA transcription page: ●
  7. 7. Chapters 18-19 Dialects: Southern California "I used to work at Venice off Winward where, ah, I sold clothes for my uncle and, ah, weird things were even happening then. Um, my grandma had, like, the first female owned nursery in, I think Los Angeles, I’m pretty sure. And my grandfather owned a piece of the mountain where, ah, this radio tower’s on. So it basically, ah, pretty rooted in Los Angeles."● Caucasian● 37 years old● from Santa Monica and San Fernando ValleyLink to IDEA transcription page:●
  8. 8. Chapters 18-19 Dialects: Southern California "...and he had this, like, crazy room. Like, he was, like, kind of a fucked-up kid. He was, like, doing a lot of drugs at a really young age. And, like, his walls were painted with, like, demons. He’s an incredible artist. So, like the walls had, like, just these amazing murals of these, like, really evil demons all over them. And, like, the inside of cassette tapes were stapled all over the ceiling. So there was just, like, black stringy stuff, like, hanging down from the ceiling all over. And, like, um, just everything was, like, black and dark and evil looking. And he had, like, a board with, like, black widows painted all over it that he’d caught and pinned while they were still alive."● Caucasian, 21 years old, from San Fernando ValleyLink to IDEA transcription page:●
  9. 9. Chapters 18-19 Sociolinguistic terms: Answers 1) Jargon (J). Terms that are specific to a certain group that are often very technical in nature and not easily understood by non-members 2) Idiolects (D). The language spoken by a person at any one moment 3) Slang (H). Words used to signal one’s membership with a group, often still understood (but not used) by non-members 4) Isogloss (F). A line indicating a boundary in the use of a particular linguistic form 5) Dialects (I). Mutually intelligible, socially/geographically determined, regular variants of a linguistic system.
  10. 10. Chapters 18-19 Sociolinguistic terms: Answers 6) Euphemism (B). A phrase used to express a somewhat controversial or “off color” idea in a very formal context 7) Languages (G). Mutually unintelligible, rule-governed linguistic systems 8) Register (A). Variations in speech style based on formality 9) Accent (E). A term referring to the phonological and phonetic variations of one’s speech 10) Standard Variety (C). A variant of a language that is often associatd with more prestige than other variants of that language
  11. 11. Chapters 18-19 Sociolinguistic terms: A cheat sheet • Keeping all these terms straight: – Slang vs. jargon: • Slang is understood by non-members; jargon is not. Jargon is usually associated with careers/jobs. – Languages > dialects > registers > idiolects • Where accents and the use (or lack thereof) of slang, jargon, and euphemisms characterize different dialects, registers, and idiolects. • The standard variety is only one of many dialects of a language; it is not, linguistically speaking, superior to any other dialect. It is just associated with more prestige by the society.
  12. 12. • To locate things on the dialect map he gives you, use a simpler map to identify where the general area you’re interested in is located. Then go back to the more detailed map and find it in that general area.• Sources for other maps: – Google search ‘dialect map’ – Textbook, p. 423
  13. 13. FalseTrue False
  14. 14. FalseTrue False False
  15. 15. Let’s go ‘TP-ing’• What are possible terms for TP-ing in other areas of the US?• Which term(s) is/are used all across the US?• Which term(s) is/are region-specific?
  16. 16. • What are possible terms for TP- ing in other areas of the US?• Which term(s) is/are used all across the US?• Which term(s) is/are region- specific?
  17. 17. • Which term(s) is/are used all across the US?• Which term(s) is/are region- specific?
  18. 18. Let’s go ‘TP-ing’• What are possible terms for TP-ing in other areas of the US? – TPing, rolling, toilet papering, wrapping, papering, bog rolling• Which term(s) is/are used all across the US? – TPing, toilet papering• Which term(s) is/are region-specific? – Rolling (The South, Appalachia); papering (eastern Midland, southern New England)
  19. 19. Types of Variation Phonetic/phonological Morphological Syntactic Lexical (semantic)
  20. 20. Types of Variation (10.2)• Phonetic/phonological variation – Differences in the way sounds are pronounced, which often reveals differences in the way phonemes are distributed in the dialects • Dialects of the North/New England pronounce the words ‘Mary’, ‘marry’, and ‘merry’ distinctly: – ‘Mary’ [meɪri], ‘marry’ [mæri], ‘merry’ [mɛri] – Pronunciation of ‘mayonnaise’ in Question 1 of the homework is another example – This type of variation is what we chiefly associate with the idea of accent
  21. 21. Types of Variation (10.2)• Morphological variation – Differences in the way words are formed • Past tense in Appalachian English: – ‘climbed’ [klʌmb], ‘ate’ [ɛt], ‘heat’ [hɛt]
  22. 22. Types of Variation (10.2)• Syntactic variation – Differences in the way words are strung together • Southern dialects can use two modal verbs in one sentence: – I might could go to the store.
  23. 23. Types of Variation (10.2)• Lexical (semantic) variation – Different dialects use different words to refer to the same concept • ‘soda’ can be ‘soda pop’ or just ‘pop’ • ‘TP-ing’ from earlier is an example
  24. 24. Pidgins and Creoles
  25. 25. Pidgins (12.3)• In areas of trade and industrialization, often many people are brought together who don’t speak the same language• To communicate, they develop a shared linguistic system known as a pidgin, which is a combination of features of all languages in contact: – Superstratum/lexifier (more dominant language) supplies vocabulary, basic word order – Substratum (less dominant langauges) supplies phonological patterns
  26. 26. Pidgins (12.3)• Being a new communicative system, pidgins are often very simplified/reduced. – Phonological features: • Consonant clusters (CCV, CCCV patterns) are reduced (to CV) – Morphological features: • Absence of affixes • No case, gender – Syntactic features: • SVO word order often • No articles (the, a) • Coordination (with ‘and’, ‘but’) preferred over subordination
  27. 27. Creoles (12.4)• As speakers of pidgins have children, those children learn the pidgins as native languages• It is at this stage that pidgins become creoles• Creoles tend to be more fully developed linguistic systems than pidgins: – “Because of the innate capacity to develop language, these children then turned the jargon(/ pidgin) into a full-fledged new language, known as a creole.” (Language Files, 499)