Lecture 2 - HUMA100E Introduction to Sociolinguistis Topics...

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9/9/2010 1 1 HUMA100E Introduction to Sociolinguistis Lecture 2 Speech community, Sociolect, Linguistic variation, Received Pronunciation 10 September 2007 Prof. Robert S. BAUER Division of Humanities Hong Kong University of Science & Technology Email: [email protected] Topics in this lecture Language as a symbol of speaker’s social identity Speech community Variability of language Standard and non-standard languages Processes of language standardization Styles of speaking: formal, informal, colloquial Language attitudes 2 Topics in This Lecture Regional variation Language and social class U and non-U Social-class accent, prestige accent Received Pronunciation (URP, ARP) 3 4 Defining Some Terms Speech community Social dialect, sociolect Social-class accent Regional variation Local accent Linguistic variation Standard and non-standard language Standardization Styles of speaking Register 5 Linguistic Item Refers to any element or unit of linguistic structure, such as speech sounds, free and bound morphemes, words, syntactic patterns, etc. 6 Linguistic Variety, Variety “. . . a neutral term to apply to any ‘kind of language’ we wish to talk about without being specific.” Trudgill ( Sociolinguistics, p. 5) “. . . a set of linguistic items with similar social distribution). Hudson ( Sociolinguistics , p. 24) An accent, a formal style of speech, a sociolect (social class dialect), a regional dialect can all be referred to as a variety.
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9/9/2010 2 7 Two Social Functions of Language Trudgill (2000:2) identified two social functions of language which are independent, distinct, and indirect in relation to the main communicative function of language: “. . . first, the function of language in establishing social relationships; and, second, the role played by language in conveying information about the speaker.” 8 Social Functions of Language A person’s linguistic behavior conveys social information about him or her whether or not he or she realizes this; that is, how we use our language reflects our social status to the people we are talking to. Can we change our linguistic behavior (such as our accent), and so attempt to influence the opinions that other people will have about us based on their impressions of how we speak? 9 Speakers are Social Beings: Birds of a feather flock together Speech is simultaneously both linguistic behavior as well as social behavior. In investigating the relationship between language and society and the social aspects of linguistic behavior, sociolinguists necessarily focus their attention on society. Language is a social phenomenon because people talk to each other; or more precisely, people who typically share the same language and similar social class backgrounds spend much of their time talking to each other.
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