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Unformatted text preview: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology: Class 23 Sociolinguistics: Language Use Copyright Bruce Owen 2011 - Sociolinguistics : studies the relationship between language, language use, and social context - this is another aspect of language, apart from how it works as a system - rather than looking at sound, grammar, and cognition, one can also look at language in terms of its function in social context - speech performance : the way language is used in specific cases, in specific contexts - Linguistic performance style: - Word choices, slang, metaphors, foreign terms - Cadence/rhythm, pitch, volume, accent, pronunciation… etc. - Social interaction aspects of linguistic performance: - Who talks most vs. who listens - Who interrupts, and whether interruptions are successful - Do listeners speak up (“yeah!”) or remain silent… - how the focus of attention is divided - one-to-one - one-to-many - group with people getting the floor in turn - group with chaotic, overlapping speaking… etc. - some aspects of linguistic performance are conscious - you might intentionally avoid swearing or using some slang when you talk to authority figures - you might consciously talk differently to someone you were trying to pick up than to someone you were doing a class project with - and others are unconscious - many of the details of how you change your speech performance in those contexts may be automatic, unplanned - you may know that you are speaking angrily, without thinking about exactly how your pitch, pace, grammar, etc. indicate that - you may adjust your performance unconsciously, without thinking about it - your friends might notice that you speak differently to some people than to others, when you don’t realize that yourself - sociolinguistics tries to correlate variations in linguistic performance with variations in - personal and group identity, like - gender - ethnicity - class - place of origin (northern vs. southern California, Texas, Boston, New York, New Orleans…) - differences in authority, age, wealth, status - choice of social identity (cool; studious; rebellious; etc.) - the physical and social setting, like Intro to Cultural Anthro F 2011 / Owen: Language use p. 2 - a classroom - the hallway outside class - a library - a church service - fans at a football game - a candle-lit dinner for two… - so sociolinguists study details of both how language is used, and of social situations - we can learn about language by figuring out how it is used in different contexts - we can learn about culturally constructed rules of - social interaction - hierarchy - gender roles, and many other things - by looking at how language is used in interactions - example: code-switching to express identity, such as ethnicity - code-switching : switching between different dialects or ways of speaking - also called - style shifting when the difference is subtle - diglossia when the shift is between languages or distinct dialects - you probably speak differently to your employer than you do to your friends...
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- Fall '11
- Cultural Anthropology, Deborah Tannen, BEV, African American Vernacular English, cultural anthro, Linguistic performance