Chapter 6Regional and Social Dialects
Regional variationInternational varieties
VocabularyAustralia sole parentBritain single parentNew Zealand solo parent
Regional variationIntranational or intra-continental variationBritainExample 4United StatesNorthern, Midland, SouthernAustralia and New ZealandLess variation in English than in Maori
Regional variationIsoglossesThe boundary lines that mark regional variation
Dialect chainsExample 5
Language vs. Dialect
What is a language?
What is a dialect?
Activity 6.1Look at the use of the word language in the four sentences. Try to work out the sense of the word in each sentence.
What is a language?
1Chinese is his native language.2When the teacher spoke to the class, the language she used was very informal.3If you want to know the rules of the language, you should get a good grammar book.4In England the language they speak is called English; in China the language they speak is called Chinese.
What is a language?1.The word language is used in different ways by different people, e.g., writers, journalists, educationalists, teachers and linguists.2.The meaning of the term language is often very vague.3.The meanings of language often overlap.
DialectA regionally or socially distinctive variety of a language, identified by a particular set of words and grammatical structures.  Any language with a reasonably large number of speakers will develop dialects. (Crystal, 1980)
More on dialectThe term dialect has generally been used to refer to a subordinate variety of a language. For example, we are accustomed to saying that the English language has many dialects. (Romaine, 1994)
West Germanic Dialect Continuum
NetherlandsGermanyGerman dialectsDutch dialectsGermanDutch
What makes a language?Linguistic factors?PronunciationVocabularyGrammatical system
What makes a language?A language is a dialect with an army and navy. (Weinreich)
Language has a political dimension
Language is political, not a linguistic categorisation
What makes a language?The Dutch dialects are heteronomous with respect to standard Dutch, and the German dialects to standard German. (Chambers and Trudgill, 1980: 10-11)
Influence of political factors on languagesYugoslavia
Under communism,Serbian and Croatian Serbo-Croatian
After civil war,Serbo-Croatian Serbian and Croatian
Languages in Hong Kong
Languages in Hong Kong
Activity 6.2Do languages develop from dialects or do dialects develop from languages? Answer this question from the perspective of Crystal, then Weinreich.
Variety/CodeSociolinguists use the term variety (or sometimes code) to refer to any set of linguistic forms which patterns according to social factors.
Social dialectsSocial dialects are varieties which reflect peoples social backgrounds: social prestige, wealth, education, occupation, income level, residential area.
Received Pronunciation (RP)A prestigious social accent used by less than 5% of the population in Britain
Figure 6.2Figure 6.3
Social dialectsVocabularyU vs. Non-U in 1950s EnglandPronunciation[h]-droppingExample 12Figure 6.4[in] Table 6.2Grammatical patterns
Department Store StudySociolinguistic study by William Labov in 1960sThe phrase fourth floor was elicited from sales people at three department stores
Rise and fall of rNew York City was r-pronouncing in 18th centuryr-less in 19th century until World War IIr-pronouncing again after World War IIThe prestigious New York dialect (and Standard American English) is now rhotic
The BattlegroundHigh prestige: Saks Fifth Avenue
Middle prestige: Macys
Low prestige: S. Klein
Percentage of r-use
R-resultsSocial variationSaks > Macys > S. Kleinfloorwalkers > salesclerks > stockboysGenderwomen > menAgeyounger > olderLevel of formalitymore rs in careful pronunciation
ArbitrarinessThere is nothing inherently bad or good about the pronunciation of any sound.The different status of [r]-pronunciation in different cities illustrates this point.
Social dialectsGrammatical patterns
Vernacular present tense verb formsFigure 6.6Figure 6.7
ReferencesChambers, J.K. and P. Trudgill. (1980). Dialectology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Crystal, D. (1980). A first dictionary of linguistics and phonetics. London: Andr Deutsch.Labov, W. (1972b), Sociolinguistic patterns, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Romaine, S. (1994). Language in society: An introduction to sociolinguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.