Chapter 8 Sociolinguisticsthe ninth week
Teaching Content8.1 Introduction8.2 Language Variety
Key pointsThe definition of sociolinguisticsRegisterDialectsPidgins and creolesDifficult pointsRegisterCreole
8.1 IntroductionDefinition: Sociolinguistics is the study of language in relation to society. It studies how social factors influence the structure and use of language.
8.2 Language VarietiesLanguage 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.
Thus, language varieties cover:Standard languageDialectsRegistersPidginscreoles
8.2.1 Standard languageFor social political reasons, a variety of language may be officially elevated as the national language, such a language variety is called standard language. In China, putonghua is respected as the standard language; in Britain, the Received Pronunciation (RP) the SL, and in USA, Standard American English (SAE) the SL.
Nature of SLIt is so called standard literally, but just as what the definition suggests, it is a variety of language, so it is also termed as standard variety /dialect. Linguistically, SL has no prestigious or dominant status; nothing special with it. When socially interfered, a variety of lge has the luck to rise to be SL.
8.2.2 DialectsA variety of a language used recognizably in a specific region or by a specific social class is called a dialect. The study of dialect is called dialectology.Dialect and accent: language and pronunciation and vocabulary.
Dialects are categorized into 4 types Regional / geographical dialects: varieties of a language spoken in a geographical area.Temporal dialects: varieties of a language used at particular stages in its historical development.Social dialects/sociolects: varieties of a language used by people belonging to particular social classes.Idiolects: varieties of a language used by individual speakers, with peculiarities of pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.
There are 8 general regional dialects.Speech community: a group of people sharing one given language or dialect.It ranges from a country to an individual.Sociolects, related to formality of speech, are catergorized as high and low sociolect. The formal speech is higher sociolect and the informal lower sociolect.
8.2.3 RegistersRegisters are varieties of language used in different situations, which are identified by the degrees of formality.The addresses on the NPC is a formal register; a talk between friends is an informal register. The intentional mixture of different registers arouses conversational implicatures.Registers can vary from vocabulary, phonology, grammar to semantics.
The register theory by Halliday:Register is determined by 3 factors:field of discourse: what is being discussedmode of discourse: oral or writtentenor of discourse: relation between participantsThe 3 variables determine the features of language fit with the situation. When fitted, the right register turns up.
8.2.4 Pidgins and creolesPidgin: a mixed lge with a small vocabulary and a simple grammar used by speakers of two lges to communicate. So it is also called contact language.Two features of pidgin lges:A pidgin has no native speakers.It is a simplified lge with reduced vocabulary and grammar.e.g. Long time no see.
Creole:When a pidgin begins to acquire native speakers who use it as their primary lge, the pidgin turns to be a creole.The process by which a pidgin develops is called pidginization; the process by which a pidgin becomes a creole is called creolization.
Black slaves speaking African dialects communicated with the people speaking French or English in the plantations in the South America. The linguistic means of communication is called a pidgin. Pidginization happens there, and later the pidginization is widely accepted, then creolization happens. That is the Haitian Creole.
Lingua francaWhen more and more speakers of a creole adopt it as their everyday lge, the creole becomes standardized, or a lingua franca. The process is termed as decreolization.
Language PlanningThere are various regional or social varieties in a country, which needs a systematic attempt to solve the communication problem. The policy designed for the proper selection and appropriate use of these varieties is called lge planning. Putonghua is one of the results of lge planning. Yuwen course set in the Chinese schools is another.
Lge planning into 2 kinds:Status planning: changes the function of a variety and the right of those who use it. Regional dialect is prohibited in class in China; Chinese was banned in class when Japan occupied the Northeast China.
Corpus planning seeks to develop a variety of lge, usu. to standardize it. There are many lges in Canada, but only english and French were standardized. There are many dialects in China, only the mixture of Beijing and NE dialects is corpus planned.
Exercises: Question 3 and 4 on Page 212