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LANGUAGE, DIALECT, AND
VARIETIES
Sari Kusumaningrum, SS, M.Hum
Language variation
• No two speakers of a language speak exactly
the same way
• No individual speaker speaks the same way all
the time
Language Varieties
Language variety refers to the various
forms of language triggered by social
factors.
Language may changes from region to
region, from one social class to
another, from individual to
individual, and from situation to
situation. This actual changes result in
the varieties of language.
Dialect
• A language variety, spoken by a speech
community, that is characterized by systematic
features
(e.g., phonological, lexical, grammatical) that
distinguish it from other varieties of that same
language
• Idiolect: the speech variety of an individual
speaker
Varieties
 Hudson (1980: 24)
a set of linguistic items with similar distribution
 Ferguson (1971: 30)
any body of human speech patterns which
sufficiently homogeneous to be analyzed by available
techniques of synchronic description and which has a
sufficiently large repertory of elements and their
arrangements or process with broad enough
semantic scope to function in all normal context of
communication.
5
Varieties
• Wardaugh (1988: 20)
a specific set of linguistic items or human speech
patterns (presumably, sounds, words, grammatical
features) which we can uniquely associate with some
external factors (presumably, a geographical area and
a social group)

6
Factors that contribute to variation
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

Social situation
Occupation
Age
Geography
Education
Gender
Social status/class
Ethnicity
Facts about dialects
• All languages consist of dialects (a language is a
group of dialects; to speak a language is to
speak a dialect of that language)
• Therefore, everyone speaks at least one dialect
• Dialect differences are usually minor and
dialects of a language are usually mutually
intelligible
• Dialects are geographically, socially, politically
determined
Facts about dialects
 Dialect variation is a matter of difference, not
deficit.
 Nonstandard dialects are “self-contained”
systems, with their regular phonological and
syntactic rules.
 Nonstandard dialects of English are close
relatives to SE, sometimes reflecting older
forms of SE.
Language vs. Dialect
Language (prestige) and dialect (stigma)
The stigmatization of the term dialect
1. I don’t speak dialect
2. in reality, all speakers of English speak some dialect,
regardless of its social status.
Most speakers use a variety of different dialects or styles in
different situations.
• Writing
• Colloquial speech (with friends, family)
• Formal speech (with strangers, authority figures)
10
LANGUAGE AND DIALECT
• What is the difference between language and
dialect?
• Variety is a term used for to replace both terms
- Hudson says “a set of linguistic items with
similar distribution”
• Variety is some linguistic shared items which
can uniquely be associated with some social
items
Everybody speaks a dialect
Accent → differences in pronunciation between one
variety of a language and another
Dialect
1. a variety of language used by a group whose
linguistic habit pattern both reflect and are
determined by shared regional, social, or cultural
perspectives.
2. all the differences between varieties of a
language, those in
pronunciation, word
usage, syntax, and variation of the given community.
3. to apply to all varieties, not just to non-standard
varieties
12
Kinds of dialect
1. Regional dialect
2. Social dialect
It is possible in a given community, people
speak more
than one dialect.

13
Social dialects
Factors such as occupation, place of
residence, education, income, racial or ethnic
origin, cultural background, caste, religion
related to the way people speak.
Social dialect originate from social groups and
depend on a variety of factors;
social
class, religion, and ethnicity.
14
Social dialects: examples
e.g.
1. Caste in India often determines which variety of a
language a speaker use.
2. Christian, Muslim and Jewish in Baghdad speak
different variety of Arabic.
3. Ethnic group in America, e.g. Labov’s work in NY.
4. Speakers of Jewish and Italian ethnicity
differentiated from the standard variety or Black
English.

15
Regional Dialect
Very distinctive local varieties → regional dialect
1. It is reflected in the differences in pronunciation, in
the choice and forms of words, and in syntax.
2. There is a dialect continuum.
3. Various pressures-political, social, cultural, and
educational- serve to harden current national
boundaries an to make the linguistic differences
among states
4. Dialect geography → term → used to describe
attempts made to map the distributions of various
linguistic features
16
Accent
• Dialect must not be confused with ‘accent’.
Standard English is spoken in a variety of accents. RP
is the English accent that has achieved certain
eminence.
a. associated with a higher social or educational
background
b. most commonly taught to students EFL
c. other names for this accents: the queen’s
English, Oxford English, BBC English.

17
Why do some dialects have more prestige
than others?
Some dialects have more prestige
1. Historical factors
2. Other factors
Such dialect is called ‘standard’ or ‘consensus dialects.
This designation :
1. Externally imposed
2. The prestige of a dialect shifts as the power
relationship
3. The prestige of the speakers shift
18
Dialect: Prestige and Stigma
• A prestige variety is a dialect associated with
mainstream social prestige – for example a
dialect that sounds “educated” or
“sophisticated”
• A stigmatized variety is a dialect associated
with negative features, from a mainstream
social perspective: e.g. “uneducated” “lower
class”
Standard vs. non standard language
Nothing to do with differences between formal & colloquial (bad
language)
Standard language
1. Variety of English, used in print, taught in schools to non-native
speakers.
2. Spoken by educated people & used in news broadcast.
3. The centralization of English political and commercial life at
London
4. Gave the prominence over other dialects
Standard English →widely codified grammar & vocabulary

RP → developed largely in the English public schools & required of
all BBC announcers (BBC English)
20
Standard language
1. A small number of regional differences
2. Standard Scottish ≠ standard English
English ≠ American standard
British
American
English
Scottish

: I have got
: I have gotten
: It needs washing
: It needs washed
21
Speech Community
A speech community is a group of people who share a set of
rules and norms for communication and interpretation of
speech.
“Rules and norms” includes everything from intonation and
vocabulary, to body positioning and eye contact
Ottenheimer pg. 94 – “A speech community is a group of
people who share one or more varieties of language and
the rules for using those varieties in everyday
communication.”
The idea of a speech community allows us to do two
things:

1) Focus on a smaller social unit than all the speakers
of a language.

2) Get away from the idea that one language = one
culture
Can we belong to more than one speech community?
STYLES AND REGISTERS
Small group discussion:
• Try to characterize your own speech – how is
it similar and how is it different than others
around you?
• Hari ini saya akan pergi ke kampus setelah itu
saya ingin pergi ke toko buku untuk mencari
buku sosiolinguistik untuk bahan belajar.
Tolong temani saya ya?

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Language, dialect, and varieties

  • 1. LANGUAGE, DIALECT, AND VARIETIES Sari Kusumaningrum, SS, M.Hum
  • 2. Language variation • No two speakers of a language speak exactly the same way • No individual speaker speaks the same way all the time
  • 3. Language Varieties Language variety refers to the various forms of language triggered by social factors. Language may changes from region to region, from one social class to another, from individual to individual, and from situation to situation. This actual changes result in the varieties of language.
  • 4. Dialect • A language variety, spoken by a speech community, that is characterized by systematic features (e.g., phonological, lexical, grammatical) that distinguish it from other varieties of that same language • Idiolect: the speech variety of an individual speaker
  • 5. Varieties  Hudson (1980: 24) a set of linguistic items with similar distribution  Ferguson (1971: 30) any body of human speech patterns which sufficiently homogeneous to be analyzed by available techniques of synchronic description and which has a sufficiently large repertory of elements and their arrangements or process with broad enough semantic scope to function in all normal context of communication. 5
  • 6. Varieties • Wardaugh (1988: 20) a specific set of linguistic items or human speech patterns (presumably, sounds, words, grammatical features) which we can uniquely associate with some external factors (presumably, a geographical area and a social group) 6
  • 7. Factors that contribute to variation • • • • • • • • Social situation Occupation Age Geography Education Gender Social status/class Ethnicity
  • 8. Facts about dialects • All languages consist of dialects (a language is a group of dialects; to speak a language is to speak a dialect of that language) • Therefore, everyone speaks at least one dialect • Dialect differences are usually minor and dialects of a language are usually mutually intelligible • Dialects are geographically, socially, politically determined
  • 9. Facts about dialects  Dialect variation is a matter of difference, not deficit.  Nonstandard dialects are “self-contained” systems, with their regular phonological and syntactic rules.  Nonstandard dialects of English are close relatives to SE, sometimes reflecting older forms of SE.
  • 10. Language vs. Dialect Language (prestige) and dialect (stigma) The stigmatization of the term dialect 1. I don’t speak dialect 2. in reality, all speakers of English speak some dialect, regardless of its social status. Most speakers use a variety of different dialects or styles in different situations. • Writing • Colloquial speech (with friends, family) • Formal speech (with strangers, authority figures) 10
  • 11. LANGUAGE AND DIALECT • What is the difference between language and dialect? • Variety is a term used for to replace both terms - Hudson says “a set of linguistic items with similar distribution” • Variety is some linguistic shared items which can uniquely be associated with some social items
  • 12. Everybody speaks a dialect Accent → differences in pronunciation between one variety of a language and another Dialect 1. a variety of language used by a group whose linguistic habit pattern both reflect and are determined by shared regional, social, or cultural perspectives. 2. all the differences between varieties of a language, those in pronunciation, word usage, syntax, and variation of the given community. 3. to apply to all varieties, not just to non-standard varieties 12
  • 13. Kinds of dialect 1. Regional dialect 2. Social dialect It is possible in a given community, people speak more than one dialect. 13
  • 14. Social dialects Factors such as occupation, place of residence, education, income, racial or ethnic origin, cultural background, caste, religion related to the way people speak. Social dialect originate from social groups and depend on a variety of factors; social class, religion, and ethnicity. 14
  • 15. Social dialects: examples e.g. 1. Caste in India often determines which variety of a language a speaker use. 2. Christian, Muslim and Jewish in Baghdad speak different variety of Arabic. 3. Ethnic group in America, e.g. Labov’s work in NY. 4. Speakers of Jewish and Italian ethnicity differentiated from the standard variety or Black English. 15
  • 16. Regional Dialect Very distinctive local varieties → regional dialect 1. It is reflected in the differences in pronunciation, in the choice and forms of words, and in syntax. 2. There is a dialect continuum. 3. Various pressures-political, social, cultural, and educational- serve to harden current national boundaries an to make the linguistic differences among states 4. Dialect geography → term → used to describe attempts made to map the distributions of various linguistic features 16
  • 17. Accent • Dialect must not be confused with ‘accent’. Standard English is spoken in a variety of accents. RP is the English accent that has achieved certain eminence. a. associated with a higher social or educational background b. most commonly taught to students EFL c. other names for this accents: the queen’s English, Oxford English, BBC English. 17
  • 18. Why do some dialects have more prestige than others? Some dialects have more prestige 1. Historical factors 2. Other factors Such dialect is called ‘standard’ or ‘consensus dialects. This designation : 1. Externally imposed 2. The prestige of a dialect shifts as the power relationship 3. The prestige of the speakers shift 18
  • 19. Dialect: Prestige and Stigma • A prestige variety is a dialect associated with mainstream social prestige – for example a dialect that sounds “educated” or “sophisticated” • A stigmatized variety is a dialect associated with negative features, from a mainstream social perspective: e.g. “uneducated” “lower class”
  • 20. Standard vs. non standard language Nothing to do with differences between formal & colloquial (bad language) Standard language 1. Variety of English, used in print, taught in schools to non-native speakers. 2. Spoken by educated people & used in news broadcast. 3. The centralization of English political and commercial life at London 4. Gave the prominence over other dialects Standard English →widely codified grammar & vocabulary RP → developed largely in the English public schools & required of all BBC announcers (BBC English) 20
  • 21. Standard language 1. A small number of regional differences 2. Standard Scottish ≠ standard English English ≠ American standard British American English Scottish : I have got : I have gotten : It needs washing : It needs washed 21
  • 22. Speech Community A speech community is a group of people who share a set of rules and norms for communication and interpretation of speech. “Rules and norms” includes everything from intonation and vocabulary, to body positioning and eye contact Ottenheimer pg. 94 – “A speech community is a group of people who share one or more varieties of language and the rules for using those varieties in everyday communication.”
  • 23. The idea of a speech community allows us to do two things: 1) Focus on a smaller social unit than all the speakers of a language. 2) Get away from the idea that one language = one culture Can we belong to more than one speech community?
  • 25. Small group discussion: • Try to characterize your own speech – how is it similar and how is it different than others around you? • Hari ini saya akan pergi ke kampus setelah itu saya ingin pergi ke toko buku untuk mencari buku sosiolinguistik untuk bahan belajar. Tolong temani saya ya?