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Unformatted text preview: Lecture 11a: Language, Thought & Culture Dialects Language in Society Dialects Dialects of English Standard American English African American English (AAE) Latino (Hispanic) English Non-native Varieties of English Styles, Slang & Jargon Dialects Are there any dialects that you (or people you know) think sound ugly, stupid, or rude? Who speaks a dialect? We all do! What is a language? A dialect with an army and a navy! Dialects What do we listen to when we listen to people talk? HOW people talk as much or more than to WHAT people say After listening, we usually make judgments about people by the kind of language they use Their regional background Their social status Their ethnicity Their education etc/. So there are some who believe that language differences serve as the single most reliable indicator of social position in our society: When we live a certain way, we are expected to match that lifestyle with our talk; When we don't meet people's expectations to match that lifestyle with our talk (e.g., a teacher talking like a punk), the mismatch between words and behavior is itself a topic for conversation. Language differences are unavoidable in a society composed of a variety of social groups. The Many Meanings of `Dialect" Linguists maintain that: `Dialect' is a neutral label to refer to any variety of a language that is shared by a group of speakers. To speak a language is to speak some dialect of that language In this definition, there is no inherently `good' or `bad' dialects `Dialect' is simply how we refer to any language variety that typifies a group of speakers within a language. Socially favored or `standard' varieties constitute dialects every bit as much as those varieties spoken by socially disfavored groups whose language differences are socially stigmatized. Some Popular Senses of "Dialect" `We went to Boston for a vacation and the people there sure do speak a dialect.' `Dialect' here refers simple to those who speak differently from oneself. Some Popular Senses of "Dialect" `I know we speak a dialect I the mountains, but it's a very colorful was of speaking.' `Dialect' here refers to those varieties of English whose features have become widely recognized through American society, e.g., Southern drawl New York accent Etc. For a variety of historical and social reasons, some dialects have become much more marked than others in American society, and speakers of those varieties therefore accept the dialect label more comfortably. Some Popular Senses of "Dialect" `The kids in that neighborhood don't really speak English; they speak a dialect.' `Dialect' here is perceived as an imperfect attempt to speak `correct' or `proper' English Examples Three mile Her ears be itching She done grew vs. Three miles vs. Her ears itch vs. She's grown up `deviant' The result is incorrectly perceived as or `deficient' from English. Dialectologists' Position Dialects are not deviant forms of language, but simply different systems with distinct subsets of language patterns. All language varieties are systematic For any language feature, there are contexts in which the form may be used and contexts in which it is not typically used. Appalachian Dialect Patterns
1a. Building is hard work. b. She was building a house. 2a. He likes hunting. b. He went hunting. 3a. The child was charming the adults. b. The child was very charming. 4a. He kept shocking the children. b. The story was shocking. 5a. They thought fishing was easy. b. They were fishing this morning. Further Patterns for Appalachian a1a. They make money by building houses. b. They make money building houses. 2a. You can't make much money fishing. b. You can't make much money by fishing. 3a. People destroy the beauty of the mountains through littering. b. People destroy the beauty of the mountains littering. More Patterns for Appalachian a1a. b. 2a. b. 3a. b. 4a. b. She was disCOVering a trail. She was FOLlowing a trai. She was rePEATing the chant. She was HOLlering the chant. They were FIGuring the change. They were forGETting the change. The baby was RECognizing her mother. The baby was WRECKing everything. Deficit-Difference Controversy In the 1960s-1970s, debated in educational circles Some language scholars: dialect variation is simple a matter of difference, not deficit Some educators: variation from the socially accepted standard constituted a fundamental deficiency. Oakland "Ebonics Controversy" Mid-1990s Status of African American English Ebonics as a separate language Political and economic motivation Proposed educational program Outcome Linguistic Society of America 1997 Statement: All human language systems spoken, signed, and written are fundamentally regular.... Characterizations of socially disfavored varieties as "slang, mutant, defective, ungrammatical, or broken English" are incorrect and demeaning. Principle of Linguistic Subordination The speech of a socially subordinate group will be interpreted as linguistically inadequate by comparison with that of the socially dominant group. Dialect Myths & Reality
Myth: A dialect is something that someone else speaks. Reality: Everyone who speaks a language speaks some dialect of that language; it is not possible to speak a language without speaking a dialect of the language. Dialect Myths & Reality
Myth: Dialects always have highly noticeable features that set them apart. Reality: Some dialects get much more attention than others, but the status of a dialect is unrelated to public commentary about its special characteristics. Dialect Myths & Reality
Myth: Only varieties of a language spoken by socially disfavored groups are dialects. Reality: The notion of dialect exists apart from social status or evaluation; there are socially favored as well as socially disfavored dialects. Dialect Myths & Reality
Myth: Dialects result from unsuccessful attempts to speak the `correct' form of a language. Reality: Dialect speakers acquire their language by adopting the speech features of those around them, not be failing in their attempts to adopt standard language features. Dialect Myths & Reality
Myth: Dialects have no linguistic patterning in their own right; they are deviations from standard speech. Reality: Dialects, like all language systems, are systematic and regular; furthermore socially disfavored dialects can be described with the same kind of precision as standard language varieties. Dialect Myths & Reality
Myth: Dialects inherently carry negative social connotations. Reality: Dialects are not necessarily positively or negatively valued; their social values are derived strictly from the social position of their communities of speakers. Dialects Any distinct variety of a language, either regional, social, or age Mutually intelligible Same basic system of grammar with systematic differences Dialects spoken in a particular geographic region Phonological (i.e., pronunciation) distinctions that convey information about a speaker's dialect Regional dialects Accents American Dialects
American dialects: How Linguists see them What are the major US dialects that linguists identify? American Dialects Phonological (pronunciation) differences Pin / pen Mary / marry / merry Which / witch Creek Harvard Yard Caught / cot American Dialects Lexical (vocabulary) differences Pail / bucket Faucet / spigot / tap Blinds / shades / curtains Baby carriage / buggy Coach / cab / taxi Soda / pop Frying pan / skillet Parkway / freeway / thruway / expressway / turnpike Drinking fountain / bubbler Tram / street car American Dialects Syntactic (grammatical) differences The house needs painted. ... where the streetcar bends the corner round. John will eat, and Mary. They done it. He don't know. Just between you and I, .... Take the 101 south. American Dialects
American dialects: How people around the country see them Which dialects do many Americans consider "bad English"? What do the majority of Americans see as the norm? America Dialects: How Hollywood sees
them. American Dialects - Discussion Do you agree with the findings of Preston's study that concludes that two of the lowprestige dialects in the U.S. are those spoken in NY and Texas? As you were growing up, what dialects / accents did you make fun of? What were some of its features? Why was it considered funny? Social Dialects - Standard American English (SAE) What is it? The dominant or prestige dialect? The dialect used by political leaders and the upper socio-economic classes? The dialect used for literature and printed documents? The dialect taught in schools? The dialect used by national news broadcasters? SEA is an idealization nobody speaks this dialect Informal Standard English Exists on a continuum, rather than a categorical notion Flexible with respect to specific features of regional varieties Specific criteria used to judge speech as standard Defined in terms of what it is not Avoidance of socially stigmatized forms double negatives `They didn't do nothing.' different verb agreement patterns `They's o.k.' different irregular verb forms `She done it.' Continuum of Standardness Standard--A---B---C---D---E--Nonstandard Standard or non-standard? He's not as smart as I. He's not so smart as I. He ain't as smart as me. He not as smart as me. Standard or non-standard? He's not to do that. He not supposed to do that. He don't supposed to do that. He's not supposed to do that. Standard or non-standard? I'm right, ain't I? I'm right, aren't I? I'm right, am I not? I'm right, isn't I? I'm right, isn't it? Standard or non-standard? A person should not change one's speech. One should not change one's speech. A person should not change their speech. A person should not change his or her speech. Academic Register There is an academic register necessary for carrying out certain kinds of educational routines. That register must be mastered for academic success. But mastery or lack of mastery of that register has nothing to do with basic language capability. `Vernacular' Dialects Varieties of language that are not classified as standard dialects Applied to spoken language Exist on a continuum Listener judgment essential in determining social unacceptability Usually characterized by presence of stigmatized structures Not all speakers use the entire set of structures associated with that dialect Labeling Vernacular Dialects Strong affective associations related to particular labels Negro Dialect, Substandard Negro English, Nonstandard Negro English, Black English AfroAmerican English, Ebonics, Vernacular Black English, African American (Vernacular) English, African American Language Latino/a English, Chicano/a English, Hispanic English, Cholo Which do you prefer? Why? Are they the same? Social Dialects African American English (AAE) Origins of AAE Historical discrimination: slavery, segregation, social isolation R-deletion (sore/saw, fort/fought, etc.) Consonant cluster simplification (past/pass, etc.) Loss of interdental fricatives (both > bof, etc.) Double negatives (He don't know nothing.) `be' deletion (He tired.) Habitual `be' (He be tired.) Some Features of AAE Social Dialects Latino (Hispanic) English There is no homogeneous Latino dialect. Puerto Rican English Cuban English Chicano English Etc. My mom fixes tamales verdes Mi mam hace green tamales *My mom fixes verdes tamales. Bilingual Latinos engage in code-switching. Why do people engage in code-switching? Nonstandard Dialects of English Summary
Dialect variation is a matter of difference, not deficit. Nonstandard dialects are "self-contained" systems, with their regular phonological and syntactic rules. Nonstandard dialects are close relatives to SAE, sometimes reflecting older forms of SAE. Social Dialects Non-native Varieties of English Origins: British and U.S. colonialism Where these varieties are spoken India, Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Nigeria, etcc. These varieties are characterized by nativization: systematic changes in their formal features at all linguistic levels, which result from the use of English in new sociocultural settings, in contact with other languages, and in the absence of native speakers of English. Examples of NN Varieties of English
My friend wants to go down the bus. = get off Did you know that Richard is moving with Eunice? = courting Britain derecognized the DK in 1979. = withdraw diplomatic recognition This is an outstation call. = out of town He overlistened to the boys' conversation. = eavesdropped Most of the students here are bed-spacers. = room renters (no board) Our son is England-returned. = come back from England You have to be careful with these been-to boys. = who have returned from England Non-Native Varieties of English What is your reaction when you hear certain non-native varieties of English (e.g., Indian English, Philippine English, etc.) spoken? Have anyone ever reacted negatively to a variety of English you have used? Is so, who? When? Where? What were you saying? Discussion: Accents in the Popular Media Watch this trailer for The Lion King.. Which accents have been used with which characters? King Lion cub Hyena Wild boar Rodent Monkey What does it mean in terms of the perception of individuals with such accents? Accents in the Popular Media Watch this trailer for Aladdin. Which characters speak with an American accent? Which with a foreign accent? Genie Aladdin Monkey Princess Jasmine King Evil sorcerer Jabar What does it mean in terms of the perception of individuals with such accents? Implications for your future work? ...
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course LING 21 at San Jose State University .