Meeting 2 Sociolinguistics

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  • 8/21/2019 Meeting 2 Sociolinguistics


    Meeting II

    Language and SocietySiti Mukminatun

  • 8/21/2019 Meeting 2 Sociolinguistics



    Study the relationship between language and society.

    1. explaining why we speak differently in different socialcontexts

    2. identifying the social functions of language and theways it is used to convey social meaning.

    An attempt to find correlations between social structure andlinguistic structure and to observe any changes that occur(Gumpers, 1971: 223)

    Language and society intertwined impossible tounderstand one without the other.

    The language used by the participants is influenced by anumber of social factors.

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    Sociolinguistics vs. the Sociology of



    investigating the relationships between languageand society with the goal of a better

    understanding of the structure of language andof how languages function in communication

    Sociology of language

    to discover how social structure can be better

    understood through the study of language, certain linguistic features serve tocharacterize particular social arrangement

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    Sociolinguistics vs. the Sociology of


    Hudson, 1980: 4-5

    a. Sociolinguistics is the study of language

    in relation to society,

    b. Sociology of language: the study of

    society in relation to language

    Similarity:a. Both require systematic study of


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    The relationship between language

    and society (wardaugh, : 10)

    1. Social structure linguistic structure and/or behavior

    a. age-grading phenomenon

    young children speak differently from older

    children and in turn, children speak differentlyfrom mature adults.

    b. studies the varieties of language that speakersuse reflect such matters; their regional, social,

    or ethnic origin and possible sex.c. other studies particular ways of speaking,choices of words, and rules for conversing aredetermined by social requirement

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    The relationship between

    language and society (wardaugh, : 10)

    2. Linguistic structure and/or behavior may

    either influence or determine socialstructure (behind Whorfian hypothesis)

    3. The influence is bi-directional; languageand society may influence each other.

    4. There is no relationship at all.

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    Social factors

    The participants

    Who is talking to whom (wife-husband,customer-shopkeeper, boss-worker)

    The social setting and function of interaction

    e.g. home, work, school

    The aim or purpose of the interaction

    (informative, social)

    The topic; What is being talked about?

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    Example I

    Ray : Hi mum.

    Mum: Hi. Youre late.

    Ray : Yeah, that bastard Sootbucket kept us in


    Mum: Nanas here.

    Ray : Oh sorry. Where is she?

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    Analysis I

    Language serves a range of functions; to

    ask for and give people information, to

    express indignation and annoyance, as

    well as admiration and express feelings.

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    Example II

    Ray : Good afternoon, sir.

    Principle : What are you doing here at this


    Ray : Mr. Sutton kept us in, sir.

    For the analysis, see Holmes, 1995: 2-3

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    Example III

    Every afternoon my friend packs her bag andleaves her Cardiff office at about 5 oclock. Asshe leaves, her business partner says goodbyeMargaret, (she replies goodbye Mike) hersecretary says goodbye Ms Walker, (she repliesgoodbye Jill) and the caretaker says Bye Mrs.Walker(to which she responds goodbye Andy).

    As she arrives home she is greeted by Hi mum

    from her son, Jamie, hello dear, have a goodday?, from her mother, and simply youre lateagain! from her husband.

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    Example III

    Later in the evening the president of the

    local flower club calls to ask if she would

    like to join. Good evening, is that Mrs.

    Billington?she asks. No, its Ms Walker,but my husbands name is David

    Billington, she answers. What can I do for

    you? Finally a friend calls Boradar Meg,hows thing?

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    Example IV

    Sam : You seen our enrysnew ouse

    yet? Itsin altonyou know.

    Jim : I have indeed. I could hardly

    miss it Sam. Your Henry now

    owns the biggest house in Halton.

    It illustrated a range of social influences on

    language choice.

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    Social dimensions

    A Social distance scale concerned with

    participant relationship

    A status scale concerned with participantrelationship

    A formality scale relating to the setting or

    type of interaction

    Two functional scales relating to the

    purposes or topic of interaction

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    The solidaritysocial distance


    Intimate Distant

    High solidarity Low solidarity

    The scale is useful in emphasizing that howwell we know someone is a relevant factor

    in linguistic choice.

    e.g. meg vs. Mrs. Belington

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    The status scale

    Superior high status

    Subordinate low status

    e.g.1. The use of sir, Mrs., to the lecturer by thestudents

    2. The [h]-dropping reflect someones lower

    social group

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    The formality scale

    Formal High formality

    Informal Low Formality


    Useful in assessing the influence of socialsetting or type of interaction on languagechoice.

    2. Often degrees of formality are largely

    determined by solidarity and statusrelationshi . But not alwa s.

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    The referential and affective

    function scalesReferential

    High low

    Information information

    Content content


    Low high

    Affective affective

    Content content

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    The referential and affective

    function scales1. The more referentially oriented an

    interaction is, the less it tends to express

    the feelings of the speaker.

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    Chaika ( 1988, 10)

    the context determines meaning,

    1. the social status of speakers

    2. the speech event and social conventions

    governing it;

    3. the social-cultural and physical environment

    4. previous discourse between the speakers orknown to them

    5. the intent of the speaker.

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    Our word choices depend on who we aretalking to.

    Language choices convey information

    about the social relationships betweenpeople as well as about the topic ofdiscussion.

    Linguistic variation occurs at other levelsof linguistic analysis: sounds, word-structure, grammar as well as vocabulary.

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