January 12 2018 Chapter 2.docx - LINB20 Chapter 2 Language and Society Topics to Cover Defining Language From A Sociolinguistics Perspective

January 12 2018 Chapter 2.docx - LINB20 Chapter 2 Language...

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January 12 2018 LINB20 Chapter 2 Language and Society DEFINING LANGUAGE FROM A SOCIOLINGUISTICS PERSPECTIVE Language is defined as how it is actually used This definition sets us apart from both normal people, and people who are studying other branches of linguistics SOCIOLINGUISTS VS. OTHER LINGUISTS Mainstream linguists take on a mentalist approach when describing language, in the sense that they are describing how language is represented in the mind, in terms of translations, grammaticality judgments, and linguistic rules and constraints Sociolinguistics must take on a more abstract approach, and consider linguistic competence (what speakers know about their language), as well as linguistic performance (what speakers actually produce when speaking) Sociolinguists take on an empiricist approach when describing language. That is, they only trust evidence that they find in the real world SOCIOLINGUISTS VS. NORMAL PEOPLE Non-linguists reserve the term language for standard varieties, such as language taught in school, formal writing, and media Linguists regard non-standard varieties of language as dialects
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