Sociolinguistics origins and definitions


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Sociolinguistics origins and definitions

  1. 1. S OCIOLINGUISTICS ,ORIGINS ANDDEFINITIONSThis document explains how and when sociolinguistic become animportant area of the language field in relation with society.Eduardo Hernández Rangel29/08/2009
  2. 2. 29-8-2009SOCIOLINGUISTICS, ORIGINS ANDDEFINITIONSIn 1960’s the word sociolinguistics was popularized under the general terms,sociolinguistics and sociology of language (2(Mckay, 2005). Both concepts wereinitially used indistinctly but eventually differences in meaning were assigned.While sociolinguistics involves the relation between languages and society;sociology involves explanations and predictions about the language in society ina group of people. First, sociolinguistics became a very popular field of studyand many studies concern fields of language, gender studies, pidgin and creolestudies, language planning, policy studies, and linguistics minorities studies(Brown, 2000). Second, sociology is a field of human science which concernsthe study of social relations, social stratification, social interaction, culture anddeviance. In my opinion, both concepts are almost the same, but sociology payspecific attention on the effect of language on society; however, sociolinguisticsfocuses on the effect of language on society. The differences between them arenot really the concepts; they are about what somebody wants to study, thelanguage or the society in order to focus in sociolinguistics or sociologyrespectively.According to McKey (2005), sociolinguistics is a field of linguistics that studiesthe relation between language and social factors and how they are used indifferent situations.When two speakers establish a conversation, their conversation is influenced bydifferent social factors, for example, age, sex, social class, relationship betweenone and other. For example, if we consider how a person can request “close thedoor to another person" Politely, "Could you please close the door?" Less politely, "Why you do not close the door" Rough, "Close the door!" 1
  3. 3. 29-8-2009There are different factors that permit to convey the message in the appropriateway; this permit to ensure that the message is received in the correct form. Forexample: How do they know each other? Te conversation is formal or informal. The status relationship Social roles. Topic.It depends on how somebody knows another person. It is used a specific varietyof language or code of language, and it occurs in a same neighborhood, but if itoccurs in a wide geographical area is called diglossia, where people havedifferent languages, dialect and accents.For me, a variety of languages mean that individual person has his ownparticular form of express or transmits something, and it depends about thecharacteristics of the person who is talking, for example this may includedialects, accents, registers or styles. While diglossia is the condition that acommunity has for using more than one language and it is used in a particularsetting. One form is the literary or prestige dialect, and the other is a commondialect spoken by most of the population. In the same way if a person speaksmore than one language, it is called bilingualism, and it is the condition that hassomebody to talk in tow language, if he or she speaks in the language that hefeels more comfortable, it is his dominant language. A person who speaks twolanguages, and he recognizes the same meaning for a specific word, it isconsidered a compound bilingualism. In the other hand, a person who speaksboth languages fluently, it is called balanced bilingual. 2
  4. 4. 29-8-2009BIBLIOGRAPHYBrown, S. a. (2000). Understanding language, structre, interaccion, andvariation. Michigan: University of Michigan Press.Mckay, S. L. (2005). Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching andLearning. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Romaine, S. (1994). Language in Society: An Introduction to Sociolinguistics.Oxford: Oxford University Press. 3