Chapter 8 Language and society • Sociolinguistics ---- a sub-field of linguistic that studies the relation between language and society, between the uses of language and the social structures in which the users of language live.
The relatedness between language and society ----There are many indications of the inter-relationship between language and society. • Language is often used to establish and maintain social relationships. (e.g. greeting) • The use of language is in part determined by the user’s social background. (social class, age, sex, education level, etc.) • Language, especially the structure of its lexicon, reflects both the physical and the social environments of a society. (“snow” for Eskimo) • As a social phenomenon language is closely related to the structure of the society in which it is used, the evaluation of a linguistic form is entirely social ( the postvocalic [r] ).
Social group,Speech community and speech variety
social groups: are distinguished according to the speaker’s geographical background, the educational background, the occupation, the gender, the age, the ethnic background. Speech community---- the social group that is singled out for any special sociolinguistic study is called the speech community. A speech community is defined as a group of people who form a community ( which may have as few members as a family or as many member as a country), and share the same language or a particular variety of language. Speech variety or language variety---- any distinguishable form of speech used by a speaker or a group of speakers. In sociolinguistic study three types of speech variety are of special interest, i.e. regional dialects, sociolects and registers
Two approaches to sociolinguistic studies • Macro sociolinguistics (Sociology of language语言社会学), we look at society as whole and consider how language functions in it and how it reflects the social differentiations.i.e. a bird’s-eye view of the languages used in society;主要研究带有整体性和全局性的社会语言 学问题。 其出发点在于把语言问题看作是社会问题的一部分， 具体 课题包括双语或多语现象， 双言现象， 语料库， 语码转换， 语言规 划等， 主要属于宏观社会语言学领域 • Micro sociolinguistics(Sociolinguistics proper纯社会语言学（ 社会方 言学） we look at society from the point of view of an individual member within it. Here we are more interested in how language functions in the communication between members of the society.i.e. a worm’s-eye view of language in use.以拉波夫为代表， 主要考察语 言变异与社会因素之间的关系。 阶级，职业，年龄和性别等社会因素 而形成的社会方言是研究的中心问题。
• ---Varieties of Language
Varieties of Language 1. related to the language users: Dialects • • • • • • •
1) regional dialects 2) sociolects 3) variety caused by gender 4) variety caused by age 5) variety caused by ethnic background 6) idiolect 2. related to the use of language: register
regional dialect • Definition: is a linguistic variety used by people living in the same geographical region. • In the world, the regional dialects of English language are British English, American English , Canadian English, Austalian English, New Zealand English and Southern African English , etc. of which, the most influential ones are British English and American English.
Comparison between British English and American English • In phonological level: Practise reading the following words: four, floor path, laugh, class, glass got, log, cross, long
phonological level • Conclusion : • 1)in AE, /r/ is a retroflex (卷舌音)，but in BRE,it is not • 2)in AE, no/a:/sound, it is replaced by /ae/or/a/ sound. • 3)in AE, no /ɔ /sound,it is replaced by /ɔ :/ or /a/ sound.
Comparison between British English and American English • In Lexical level: Please find the equivalent of the following words used in AE: BE AE elevator lift pavement sidewalk can tin candy sweets mail post flat apartment subway tube
Comparison between British English and American English • In spelling: How to spell the following words in A.E? colour color program programme dialog Dialogue cigaret cigarette defense Defence analyze Analyse
In spelling form • Conclusion: In BRE, words ending with –our, -ogue, -mme, -ette, -ce, -se are spelled respectively as – or, -og, -m, -et, -se, -ze.
Regional dialects in China • 山上有只老虎，老虎要吃人，拿伊关勒笼子里。笼子坏脱 ，老虎逃脱，逃到南京，逃到北京，买包糖精，摆勒水里 浸一浸，米西米西拉胡琴。 • 麻雀和乌鸦一起摆龙门阵。麻雀说：你是啥子鸟哦？乌鸦 说：我是凤凰噻！麻雀说：哪有你龟儿子这么黑的凤凰哦 ？乌鸦说：你晓得个铲铲，老子是烧锅炉的凤凰噻。 • 大会开鼠（大会开始），项在请领导发羊（发言）：各位 女婿乡绅们（女士先生们），瓦们劫羊（我们揭阳），轰 景买丽（风景美丽），高通荒便（交通方便），山鸡很多 （商机很多），欢迎你来劫羊偷猪（来揭阳投资），瓦花 展（我发展），你撞墙（赚钱），吓吓大家（谢谢大家） 。
• 一位山东籍的语文老师，为学生朗读一首陆游的古诗题为 《卧春》，要求学生听写出来。 • 语文老师朗读如下—— • 《卧春》 暗梅幽闻花 卧枝伤恨底 遥闻卧似水 易透达春绿 岸似绿 岸似透绿 • 岸似透黛绿
学生听写如下— 《我蠢》 俺没有文化 我智商很低 要问我是谁 一头大蠢驴。 俺是驴 俺是头驴 俺是头呆驴
Sociolect • Definition: varieties of language used by people belonging to particular social classes are called sociolects.
Social investigations • Purpose: to obtain evidence for the correlation between certain language features and social status. • Subject: people from different social classes in Norwich in England • Three studies: 1）The percentage of speakers who use the /n/sound as opposed to /η/ sound for the word final “-ing” 2）The percentage of speakers who don’t add “-s”to the end of verb when the subject is the third person singular form as opposed to that who add”-s” to the verb 3）The percentage of speakers who use double negation form.
Findings 1 Percentage of speakers using /n/for /η/ Upper middle class 31% Lower middle class 42% Upper working class 87% Middle working class 95% Lower working class 100% Conclusion: /n/ sound occur more often in lower social class than in upper and middle class
Findings 2 Percentage of speakers who don’t add “-s” to the verb Upper middle class 0% Lower middle class 2% Upper working class 70% Middle working class 87% Lower working class 97% Conclusion: people in lower social class tend to omit the suffix “-s” of the third-person present tense singular form of verbs
Findings 3 Percentage of speakers who use double negation form Upper middle class 0% Lower middle class 2% Upper working class 11% Middle working class 38% Lower working class 70% Conclusion: Speakers in lower social class tend to use the non-standard form of double negation like" I can’t eat nothing”.
Received pronunciation and regional accents • Accent is an important marker of sociolect • In Britain, Received Pronunciation is the accent of the best educated and most prestigious members of English society, from which Trudgill drew the Accent Triangle
Highest class: RP
Lowest class: Most localized accent
Received pronunciation and regional accents • The prestige of regional accents was low and not acceptable for such positions as those in the Civil Service. (see Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion)
Variety caused by gender • The language used by men and women have some special features of their own. • It has been observed by linguists that women use more standard variety than the speech of men
Gender differentiation in language • In phonological level, 1) Women use more correct pronounciation than men. 2) Female speakers tend to have a wider range in their intonation 3) use more frequently the low-rise intonation than male speakers.
• In syntactic level, 1) Women use more questions form , men use more declarative statements. 2) Female speakers are less assertive and often use question tag and structures as “ I’m afraid, I’m not sure, but…”;
• in lexical level, • 1) Some adjectives of evaluation are used more frequently by females than by males, such as “nice, lovely, cute, adorable, gorgeous” • 2) and also some intensifiers, such as “ awfully, pretty, terribly, so, quite.” • 3) female speakers can give exact color words such as “ equamarine（蓝绿色）, azure（天蓝色）, beige（米色）, lavender （淡紫色）, mauvre（淡紫色）, taupe（灰褐色）” • 4) female speakers tend to use diminutives such as “birdie, bookie, sweetie, auntie”. • 5) female speakers tend to use euphemism and such words as “ please, thanks” to show their politeness.
Variety caused by age • The language used by the old generation differs from that used by the younger generation in certain ways • The most striking difference is found at the lexical level. e.g. fridge/ boombox ( used by young) icebox/ wireless ( used by the old)
Variety caused by ethnic background
• ethnic dialect : is a social dialect spoken by a less privileged population that has experienced some form of social isolation (e.g. Black English)
Linguistic Features of Black English • A prominent phonological feature : the simplification of consonant clusters at the end of a word. The final position consonants are often deleted. e.g. “passed” is pronounced /pa:s/, mend /men/, desk /des/..
• syntactic feature: 1) the deletion of the link verb “be” e.g. They mine. You crazy. Her hands cold. 2) the use of double negation constructions. e.g. He don’t know nothing. I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.
Idiolect • Definition: is a personal dialect of an individual speaker that combines elements regarding regional, social, gender, and age variations. • e.g. Hemingway’s style Luxun’s style
Register • Register, in a restricted sense, refers to the variety of language related to one’s occupation. • In a broader sense, according to Halliday, “language varies as its function varies; it differs in different situations.” The type of language which is selected as appropriate to the type of situation is a register. • Halliday further distinguishes three social variables that determine the register: field of discourse, tenor of discourse, mode of discourse.
Three social variables • Field of discourse: what is going on: to the area of operation of the language activity. It is concerned with the purpose (why) and subject matter (about what) of communication. It can be either technical or nontechnical.) • Tenor of discourse: the role of relationship in the situation in question: who are the participants in the communication and in what relationship they stand to each other. (customer-shop-assistant, teacher-student, etc.) • Mode of discourse: the means of communication. It is concerned with how communication is carried out. (oral, written, on the line…)
Degree of formality ----Five stages of formality (Martin Joos) • Intimate: Up you go, chaps! • Casual: Time you all went upstairs now. • Consultative: Would you mind going upstairs right away, please? • Formal: Visitors should go up the stairs at once. • Frozen: Visitors would make their way at once to the upper floor by way of the staircase. ----Note: Different styles of the same language can be characterized through differences at three levels: syntactic, lexical and phonological(P121).
Comparison between formal and informal language • in phonological level:
Clear articulation Balanced intonation Few contraction Few liaison Few assimilation
A lot of contraction, assimilation and liaison e.g.“ wouldja( would you), gonna (going to), totta (got to)”, I’ve, we’ll, you’d, they’re” 出门儿，脸盆 儿，人影儿， 侄女儿， 咋， 甭， 仨
in lexical level: Formal language
Big,long words Single verbs(e.g. investigate) Abstract nouns(e.g. arrival) Archaic words Words of French, Latin, Greek origin
Common words Verb phrase(e.g. look into) Verb forms(e.g. arrive) Native English words
in syntactic level: Formal language
Long ,complexed sentences, A lot of parallelism, Subjunctive mood, Passive voice
Short,simple sentences, Loose structures often connected by “and”, Many illeptical sentences, Many inserted parts like”you know, I mean…”
Importance of knowledge in register in english learning: • in classroom teaching: when learning a new word or new grammatical structure, tell the students the right situation it can be used • distinguish the difference between • 1)As he came into the classroom, he found the students looking at him eagerly. • 2)Coming into the classroom, he found the students looking at him eagerly. • in translation: choose the right words for the right situation • e.g top-notch ( informal talk) bottoms up ( informal talk) • scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours 朋比为奸 （X） • 你帮我的忙，我帮你的忙 • 直起身又看一看豆， 自己摇头说：“不多不多，多乎哉？不多也。“ 《孔乙己》 • then straightening up to look at the peas again, he would shake his head:” not much! Verily（真正地）, not much, forsooth（真实地）!” （ 扬宪益夫妇翻译）
Standard dialect • The standard variety is language variety used by government, judiciary system, mass media, educational institution. Language used by any member of a community regardless of his social and geographical background • features: • a. is based on a selected variety of the language. E.g standard English developed out of the English dialects used in and around London • b. is not a dialect a child acquires naturally like his regional dialect. It is a variety imposed from above over the range of regional dialects • c. has some special functions.
Pidgin and Creole • • • • • • • • • •
A pidgin is a special language variety that mixes or blends languages and it is used by people who speak different languages for restricted purposes such as trading. Eg. Tok Pisin is a very active and widely used pidgin English in New Guinea. characteristics: As a simplified language, a pidgin has reduced vocabularies. The grammatical features such as case, tense, mood and voice are absent in pidgins. Forms of copula verb “ to be “ are often entirely lacking. Propositions are often limited to a small set. rule-governed. Eg. They have strict rules for determining word orders to compensate for the lacking of case endings on nouns. When a pidgin has become the primary language of a speech community, and is acquired by the children of that speech community as their native language, it is said to have become a Creole.
Bilingualism and Diglossia • In some speech communities, two languages are used side by side with each having a different role to play; and language switching occurs when the situation changes. This constitutes the situation of Bilingualism. • A typical example is Canada, where both French and English are recognized as official languages. So is Belgium, where French and Flemish Dutch are both recognized as official languages. Other countries and regions in the world which are bilingual include Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Pakistan, Uganda, and part of U.S.A. • According to Ferguson (1959), diglossia refers to a sociolinguistic situation similar to bilingualism. But in stead of two different languages, in a diglossia situation two varieties of a language exist side by side throughout the community, with each having a definite role to play. • the examples are Arabic, Modern Greek, Swiss German and Haitian Creole. Each of these languages has two varieties: the high variety and the low variety.
High and low variety • One of the most important features of diglossia is the specialization of function of the two varieties. Each variety is the appropriate language for certain situations. • high variety: a more standard variety, which is used for more formal or serious matters. Such as speeches made in government, the media, school or church. • 2) low variety: a non-prestige variety, which is used in colloquial and other informal situations. Such as conversations with family or friends, or instructions given to servants , waiters or workmen.
The end,thank you!