Social Varieties of American English

Social Varieties of American English - Social Varieties of...

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Unformatted text preview: Social Varieties of American English LIN 200 Dr. JC Weisenberg Social Dialects or s o c i o l e c t s Speech varieties that characterize people from different social classes or ethnic groups. e.g. African American English (AAE) White Southern Vernacular English (WSVE) Puerto Rican English (PRE) Standard vs. vernacular s Whereas linguists and sociolinguists love variation, this is not the case with the general society s Under the influence of prescriptivists (or purism ) one dialect in a speech community typically acquires a higher status and social prestige and gets to be viewed as the correct way of speaking. s This is what is typically referred to as the standard dialect. The remaining dialects are then called non-standard or vernacular. What is Standard English (SE)? Standard English : the official educated variety of English spoken by the elite and on broadcast media; lacking stigmatized linguistic features. Vernacular English or Non-Standard English : varieties that contain socially conspicuous, negatively valued dialect structures; spoken by socially subordinate groups. Language Variation The study of how language varies among people from different social groups; also the study of how language changes over time . What kinds of factors influence language variation? External Factors Non-linguistic factors that affect language variation s Ethnicity s Socioeconomic class s Education s Gender Ethnicity The concept of ethnicity is rooted in the idea of social groups, marked especially by: s shared nationality s tribal affiliation s religious faith s shared language s cultural and traditional origins s common history whereas race is rooted in the idea of biological classification of Homo sapiens into subspecies according to arbitrarily chosen genotypic and/or phenotypic traits. Class The concept of class is rooted in the economic structure of a society, where (perceived) socio-economic status (class) depends on various factors: s occupation s level of education s income s type of residence Internal Factors Linguistic factors that affect language variation s influence of preceding or following sounds or words s structural factors (part of speech; position in the sentence, etc.) Internal structural factors s Pronoun : I, we, you, he, she, they s Noun phrase : the man, the dogs, a house s The absence of verbal agreement with plural subjects is more likely to occur with noun phrases than with pronouns . e.g. T h e t r u c k s was there. (more common) T h e y was there. (less common) Linguistic Variables Linguistic elements of pronunciation or grammar that can serve to distinguish regional and social dialects . s Linguistic variables can be counted and tallied to see if they correlate with social factors like age, ethnicity or class. Phonological variables The graph compares the way men and women drop the be verb in speech, in four different social class groups: UM (upper middle), LM (lower middle), UW (upper working class) and LC (lower working class). Although both sexes do drop the be verb, men consistently do it more throughout these social strata. Your Mayor is shifting...
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Social Varieties of American English - Social Varieties of...

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