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8._standardsaccentsnideologies - Reminders… Reminders…...

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Unformatted text preview: Reminders… Reminders… ► HW 3 due today, HW 4 assigned today ► MT Assignment is due this Thursday ► Rough Drafts of Essay due in 2 weeks Not trying to scare you, just keeping you aware of upcoming things Review: Language Acquisition Review: Language Acquisition ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► When is the critical period? birth to puberty Why is it important? After this period of time it becomes difficult to acquire language, and a new language must be learned (as opposed to acquired) What is the imitation theory? Theory that children learn their first language(s) by imitating the speech they hear around them Is the Imitation Theory supported by what we know of language acquisition? Nope. Kids produce incorrect forms & things they’ve never heard Review: Lg Acquisition Cont. Review: Lg Acquisition Cont. ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► What is the Reinforcement Theory? Theory that children learn language through positive and negative reinforcement from adults True? Nope, not all cultures offer reinforcement, not enough quality reinforcement in ones that do, + parents tend to reinforce truthfullness, not grammar What is the Active Construction of Grammar Theory? children invent rules of grammar themselves & these get progressively more complex True? Yes, fits with the stages of lg acquisition that all children go through (irregular past tense changes from go goed went) Review: Human vs. Animal Review: Human vs. Animal Communication ► ► ► ► ► ► What are the 9 design features of language? 1. Mode of communication, 2. semanticity, 3. pragmatic function, 4. interchangeability, 5. cultural, transmission, 6. arbitrariness, 7. discreteness, 8. displacement, 9. productivity Which ones do all communication systems have? 1. Mode of communication, 2. semanticity, 3. pragmatic function Is there evidence that animals can learn human language? No, it appears that animals cannot fully acquire language—they require explicit instruction & don’t progress through all the stages of language acquisition to develop native­like language skills Terms Exploring the variety of terms that exist for capturing how and what people speak ► http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbSSQe6vsSw&feature=related ► What is this video telling us? What’s the point? Do we agree? Thought qs Thought qs ► Now, with a partner (someone sitting near you), try & come up with some ways that people describe others’ speech. ► Think about whether these types of terms positive or negative? ► What does the term ‘dialect’ mean to you? ► What about ‘language’? ► Is there a clear difference? Language & Dialect Language & Dialect ► Dialect: captures a collection of linguistic features (phonetic, phonological, syntactic, morphological, semantic) that make one group of speakers noticeably different from another group of speakers of the same language ► to Linguists, dialects of the same language are mutually intelligible ► Mutual intelligibility: speaker A can basically understand speaker B, even if they think they speak ‘different lgs’ ► Language: a collection of dialects that are mutually intelligible Terms, cont. Terms, cont. ►There is no human being that actually speaks exactly the same as any other human being We each have our own idiolect ►Idiolect: The unique language characteristics and speaking style of every individual Clarifying terms Clarifying terms ► Wait…what is the difference between register & dialect? ► Register is socially appropriate only in certain contexts—talks about the level of formality one should use within a dialect ► Dialects are bigger—a dialect encompasses many registers & describes the unique features a speech community ► We all switch between registers, but only people who have acquired more than one dialect switch between dialects (they’re bi­/multidialectal) Clarifying Terms II Clarifying Terms II ► What about the difference between dialect & accent? ► NOT synonymous ► accent is about phonological characteristics which distinguish speech communities ► dialect is a broader term encompassing syntactic, morphological, and semantic properties also, e.g. ► if we talk about a Southern Accent, we're talking about a generalized property of English pronunciation in the Southern part of the US. ► But, a Southern dialect is about more than just phonological properties, includes syntactic, lexicon, morphology differences Accent cont. Accent cont. ► We all have an accent! ► In sum, There is no such thing as a person who speaks without an accent a dialect is a particular variety of a language, and we all have a dialect Accent refers to the phonology of a given dialect Since we all have a dialect, we all have an accent ► It can be difficult to draw the line between dialects and separate languages Often for political reasons, e.g. Diff Lgs? Diff Lgs? ► Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian are mutually intelligible, but are considered different languages because they have some grammatical differences and are spoken in different countries ► Hindi (spoken in India) and Urdu (spoken in Pakistan) are considered separate languages, but are about as cross­intelligible as Australian and American Englishes ► Would linguists call them (scandinavian lgs or Hindi vs. Urdu) different languages? ► No, but the groups do, for political reasons Same lg? Same lg? ► Chinese: Ostensibly made up of several ‘dialects’ Gan Guan (Mandarin or Beifang) Kejia (Hakka) Min (including the Hokkien and Taiwanese variants) Wu Xiang Yue (Cantonese) ► Each of these ‘dialects’ of Chinese are mutually unintelligible, but share a common writing system and are spoken within a single country Why? Why? ► ‘A dialect is a language with an army and a navy’ ► Power and prestige (p&p) determine who makes the rules ►ppl w/ p&p decide what to call a ‘language’ vs. a ► By the same process, some ways of ‘dialect’ speaking are first believed to be ‘better’ than others and are then labeled as such, e.g. ►E.g., Calling a code a standard language vs. a non­ standard dialect Language Standards The study of how language is interpreted as having ‘standard’ and ‘nonstandard’ varieties with different linguistic features and unequal social value The ‘Standard’ The ‘Standard’ ► The standard is usually the variety spoken by the linguistic group in power ► All other variants are considered subordinate to the standard ► The standard is an abstraction—nobody speaks (in the eyes of ‘standard’ lg spkrs) the standard all the time ► It is not more ‘standard ► Standardization = the process by which one ► Example of a ‘standard’: Standard American English (SAE) language variant is promoted and reinforced as the dominant and most prestigious variant The ‘Standard’ The ‘Standard’ ► Assumptions about standard language: Spoken by educated people Spoken by people who know ‘proper language’ Spoken by people who ‘don’t have an accent’ ► ► ► ► ► True? Nope. Why? Regardless of education, you learn the variety(ies) you are surrounded by during critical period No variety of lg is any more ‘proper’ than others—they all successfully communicate ideas, the goal of lg Everyone has an accent The ‘standard’ cont. The ‘standard’ cont. ► Where do you find examples of the standard? ► Standardization is reinforced by: Schools Governments In mainstream media (newspapers, radio, TV, etc.) ► E.g. grammar classes, corrections of speaking & writing ► They use standard lg & are in power ► How? Through prescriptivism Through regular people’s reflections & comments on lg ► Explored next­next ► Explored next What’s Prescriptive Grammar? What’s Prescriptive Grammar? ► rules of grammar brought about by ► The idea that there is a ‘correct’ and an ‘incorrect’ grammarians’ attempts to legislate how people should speak, rather than how they do speak way to use a language This has everything to do with social values on a particular way of using a language, and nothing to do with what is inherently ‘correct’ language ► Why? ► No variety is any more or less correct Prescriptive Grammar Cont. Prescriptive Grammar Cont. ► Prescriptive grammar (for English) began in the 1700s ► ► It was valued as the ‘correct’ form of English ► The London dialect of English became a figure on the world stage This was a period filled with the possibility of upward mobility ► people who wanted to move up the social ladder wanted to learn and use the most prestigious variety of English ► This led to a wave of grammar handbooks, and many of the current prescriptive do’s and don’ts come from this period Prescriptive Grammar Cont. Prescriptive Grammar Cont. ► During this time "Latin was considered the language of enlightenment and was offered as an ideal of precision and logic to which English should aspire" (Pinker, 1994: 20) Result Some of the prescriptive rules of English are actually based on the rules of Latin, in hopes that English might become ‘more logical’ ► e.g., “You shouldn’t split infinitives.” ► I’m going to visit the library quickly (infinitive not split) ► * I’m going to quickly visit the library (split) ► *…to boldly go where no man has gone before (split) Prescriptive Grammar Cont. Prescriptive Grammar Cont. ► This rule is based upon the idea that because Latin doesn’t split infinitives, English should, therefore, also not split infinitives ► But, in Latin a verb in the infinitive is only ONE word, so it can’t be split! ►e.g., Latin adnare = English to praise ►Therefore, “Julius Caesar could not have split an infinitive if he had wanted to” (Pinker, 1994: 20). Prescriptive Grammar Cont. Prescriptive Grammar Cont. ► Another prescriptive rule: “Don’t use double negatives” ► But, many languages require the speaker I didn’t eat any french fries. (single) *I didn’t eat no french fries. (double) to use two negatives to grammatically make a negative sentence E.g. French, Spanish, etc. this was the prescriptively correct way to make negative sentences in Middle English Descriptive Grammar Descriptive Grammar ► Descriptive Grammar: a linguist’s description or model of the mental grammar of speakers; what people actually know about their language and how they actually speak it placing equal value on all varieties of all languages ► This is supposed to be free of judgment, Descriptive Grammar Cont. Descriptive Grammar Cont. ►There are NO primitive languages ►There are NO ‘corrupt’ or ‘deficient’ or ‘illogical’ languages or dialects Is speaking a dialect bad? Is speaking a dialect bad? ► The term DIALECT is NOT a negative term for linguists ► but it is often used that way in popular discourse, e.g. ► What is the implication? People often refer to non­standard, non­prestige varieties of English as ‘dialects’ ► Suggests something bad about the variety and thus about the people who speak it Language Ideologies The study of what speakers believe about language, about linguistic communities, and how they interpret linguistic variation Ideology of Nativeness Ideology of Nativeness (Shuck 2004) ► a belief, shared by lots of people, which basically says that there are two categories of people: ►and these can only be american’s (and sometimes ► native English speakers, british ppl), ► and the rest of the world— ►these people are nonnative English speakers, speakers of other languages, and both equated with ‘foreignness’ Ideology of Nativeness Cont. Ideology of Nativeness Cont. ► What’s foreignness? Difference from ‘us’, e.g. We assume that ppl who sound like us are also more likely to dress like us, have similar customs, similar beliefs about the world, similar lifestyles and goals… And we assume that people who sound different (foreign, in some way), be it through an accent or a diff lg background, are also different with respect to all these things Reality check… Reality check… ► ► ► ► ► ► OK, reality check here—do all ‘American’s’ speak English natively and fluently? No. The point is that this is a belief held by many people, regardless of the reality We will see evidence of this ideology of nativeness across the quarter in how people talk about, and evaluate, speakers with accents, with non­perfect English, or with entirely different lg backgrounds, e.g. in immigration discussions which revolve around immigrants ‘choosing’ or otherwise not learning English (regardless of what the reality is) & our national cultural ambivalence towards learning foreign languages These understandings frame many peoples understanding of linguistic and social reality How it works in actual speech How it works in actual speech ► First, people start highlighting, and exaggerating differences between ‘us’ and ‘them’ ► Within this, even mentioning or implying foreignness these can involve how incomprehensible ‘they’ are, how ‘foreign’ they are, and even, how ‘frightening’ they are means that someone IS NOT a native English speaker, and HENCE, isn’t American ► From there, once someone is established as non­ native, it is assumed that they are ALSO incomprehensible Is this true? No. Next… Next… ► Next, there is a relationship drawn between foreignness and fear, e.g. ► What is this? one should be afraid of ppl who speak with an accent, it is ‘normal’ to be fearful of them, It is normal to expect that a foreign accent will introduce a ‘scary personality’ within a movie or book ► xenophobia: the fear of foreigners, ppl unlike you Only native English speakers of particular dialects, without an accent, are automatically viewed as safe— everyone else is threatening Example… p1 p1 p2 p2 P2­2nd half P2­2 p3 p3 Analysis of Example Analysis of Example ► How is the guy first portrayed? ► scary ► Why? Pay attention to how they describe his language… ► couldn’t understand him ► How does this manifest? ► line 71, guy says ‘bluh luh luh’ ► How is unintelligibility interpreted? ► scary hypothesizing that ‘a man took my mom­ killed her’ Where else do we see it? Where else do we see it? ► This ideology of nativeness, which locates accented speakers as scary, is encouraged and exploited in film, books, cartoons, etc. ► For example, the accents of ‘bad guys’ follow who our national ‘enemies’ are in that era ► WWII German/Japanese accents ► Cold War Russian accents ► 1990’s­present Middle Eastern + Asian (Chinese & Korean) ► More on this in lecture 17… accents Lippi­Green reading Lippi­Green reading ► How does Lippi­Green’s notion of a ‘sound house’ correspond to what we learned about language acquisition? ► Innateness Hypothesis = born w/ tools & materials ► Critical period = when blueprints are available L­G cont. L­G cont. ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► What’s the point of the reading? Everyone has an accent Is it bad to have a L2 accent, as an adult? Does it show laziness or stupidity? No, b/c its hard to impossible to build a perfect new sound house as an adult Does having an imperfectly constructed L2 sound house mean that one can’t communicate at all? No, it simply says something about what linguistic environment one grew up in… How can we extend this to think about more than sound? It also applies to our ability to acquire morphology, syntactic structures, pragmatic rules for appropriateness and nuance, and lexicon Sometimes we interpret accents as Sometimes we interpret accents as regionally based ► Lets look at how different ‘accents’ (dialects, really) are associated with different regions ► English ‘accents’ (I know they’re not all perfect imitations) ► http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UgpfSp2t6k ► Spanish ‘accents’ (again, I know they’re not all perfect imitations) ► http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLyaXkzAfTE ...
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  • Fall '08
  • LG, AirTrain Newark, prescriptive grammar, Prescriptive Grammar Cont., Cont. Prescriptive Grammar, Prescriptive Grammar Cont

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