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Lecture 1 - Introduction to Sociolinguistics HUMA100E The...

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1 1 HUMA100E °±²³´µ¶·²¸´± ²´ ¹´·¸´º¸±»¶¸¼²¸·¼ Lecture 1: What is Sociolinguistics? Prof. Robert S. BAUER Division of Humanities HKUST, Rm 3446 TEL: 2358-5867 Email: [email protected] Introduction to Sociolinguistics The basic goal of this subject is to raise the student’s awareness about two things: Sociolinguistic issues surround us, constantly affect our daily lives, and are unavoidable, whether we like it or not, Being familiar with sociolinguistics terminology and concepts and understanding sociolinguistic issues can help us acquire a clearer, deeper understanding of the wider world around us. 2 Topics Presented in This Lecture What is sociolinguistics? Some basic sociolinguistic generalizations Defining Language Speech as Human Communication and its Design Features Functions of Speech Language vs Dialect What about Cantonese? Linguistic variation 3 What is Sociolinguistics? Why be interested in studying sociolinguistics? Socio- + linguistics Socio- = society linguistics = formal, systematic study of various aspects of language Simple definition: Sociolinguistics is the study of the relationship between language and society; it focuses on how language is used by the individual speaker and groups of speakers in its social context . 4 Sociolinguistics (formal definition) “A term used to describe all areas of the study of the relationship between language and society other than those which are purely social scientific in their objectives, such as ethnomethodology. Sociolinguistic research is thus work which is intended to achieve a better understanding of the nature of human language by studying language in its social context and/or to achieve a better understanding of the nature of the relationship and interaction between language and society. 5 Sociolinguistics (formal definition continued) “Sociolinguistics includes anthropological linguistics, dialectology, discourse analysis, ethnography of speaking, geolinguistics, language contact studies, secular linguistics, the social psychology of language and the sociology of language.” Trudgill (2003:123) 6
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2 Areas of Sociolinguistics Studied in This Course • Dialectology Secular linguistics Sociology of language Language contact Anthropological linguistics 7 8 Some Generalizations about Sociolinguistics To sketch out a general picture of what sociolinguistics is all about, the following four generalizations define the scope, methods, focus, and objective of sociolinguistics. 9 Scope of Sociolinguistics First Generalization: 1. The scope of sociolinguistics encompasses who says what to whom, when, where, how, and why. 10 Focus of Sociolinguistics Second generalization: 2. Sociolinguistics focuses on the individual speaker's and the speech community’s (society’s) linguistic variation, i.e. their use of two or more ways of saying the same thing.
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