CHAPTER 5- National Language and Language Planning
– National language: it is the main language of political, social and cultural practices, where people use it as a symbol of their national unity / Official language is the language used by governments for formal functions / In a monolingual community, a national language is usually also the official language, but in bilingual or multilingual communities, it may or may not be the official language. For example: English and French are both official languages in Canada.
Planning for a national official language:
1– Selection: selecting the variety or code to by developed.
2– Codification: standardising its structural or linguistic features.
3– Elaboration: extending its functions for use in new domains.
4– Securing its acceptance: acceptance by people in terms of attitude & prestige.
* Linguists have played an important role at the micro level of language planning activates. Many of them work as members of communities with a lot of influence on language planning, and especially on the standardization or codification of a particular variety. Example: Samuel Johnson’s 40,000-word dictionary was a landmark in the codification of English.
– Acquisition planning: sociolinguists can make a contribution to organized efforts to spread a language by increasing the number of its users, by using it in the education system (language-in- Education planning) or in the media domains such as news papers, radio, etc.
CHAPTER 6-Regional and Social Dialects
– Accent: accents are distinguished from each other by pronunciation.
– Dialects: linguistic varieties which are distinguishable by their vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation.
* Examples of different regional dialects:
Example one: in British English: pavement, boot, bonnet, petrol, baggage. But inAmerican English: sidewalk, trunk, hood, gas, luggage.
Example two: the word tog in English refers to clothes one wears in formal dinner, but in New Zealand, it refers to clothes one wears to swim in.
Social Dialects: a variety of language that reflects social variation in language use, according to certain factors related to the social group of the speaker such as education, occupation, income level (upper-class English, middle-class English and lower-class English. For example: Standard English can be classified as a type of social English spoken by the well-educated English speakers throughout the world.
* Received Pronunciation (the Queens English) or BBC English (the accent of the beast educated and most prestigious members of English society) is classified as a social accent.
Is there a relationship between one’s language and one’s social identity?
The language one uses often reflects one’s social identity and education, for example: dropping the initial h in words like house can indicate a lower socioeconomic background. On the other hand, pronouncing the letter r in the city of New York is considered as a prestigious feature, but the opposite is true in London.
– Isogloss: a term that refers to the boundary lines that mark the areas in which certain dialect words are used.
Sharp Stratification: it refers to the pattern that certain pronunciation features such as h-dropping and grammatical features such as mutable negation divide speaking communities sharply between the middle class and the lower classes.
CHAPTER 7-Gender and Age
* It is claimed that women are linguistically more polite than men
Q How are the language forms used by men and women different in western societies, give examples? (just read)
In western societies, women and men whose social roles are similar do not use forms that are completely different, but they use different quantities or frequencies of the same form. For example: women use more standard forms than men, and men use more vernacular forms than women / women use more ing-forms than men and fewer ing-forms in words like coming or running. But in western communities, such differences are also found in the speech of different social classes, therefore the language of women in the lower and higher classes is more similar to that of men in the same group.
Explain women’s linguistic behavior (using forms that are more standard):
1- Social status: women generally have a lower social status in society; therefore they try to acquire social status by using Standard English.
2- Women’s role as guardian of society’s values: women use more standard forms than men, because society tends to expect ‘better’ behavior from women than from men (women serve as modals for their children’s speech).
3- Subordinate groups must be polite: women use more standard forms than men, because children and women are subordinate groups and they must avoid offending men, therefore they must speak carefully and politely.
4- Vernacular forms express machismo: men prefer vernacular forms because they carry macho connotations of masculinity and toughness. Therefore women might not want to use such form, and use standard forms that associated with female values or femininity
5- women’s categories: Not all women marry men from the same social class, however it is perfectly possible for a women to be more educated then the man she marry, or even to have a more prestigious job than him.
6- The influence of the interviewer and the context: women tend to become more cooperative conversationalists than men.
CHAPTER 8- Ethnicity and Social Networks
* It is often possible for individuals to signal their ethnicity by the language they choose to use. Even when a complete conversation in an ethnic language is not possible, people may use short phrases, verbal filers or linguistic tags, which signal ethnicity. For Example: In New Zealand many Maori people routinely use Maori greetings such as kia and ora, while speaking in English, to signal their ethnicity.
African American Vernacular English: a distinct variety or dialect that was developed by African Americans as a symbolic way of differentiating themselves from the majority group.
Some of AAVE linguistic features (pp186-187)
– Complete absence of the copula verb be in some social & linguistic contexts
– The use of invariant be to signal recurring or repeated actions
– Mutable negation
– Constant cluster simplifications
British Black English
1-Patois: a Jamaican Creole in origin, which is used by Jamaican immigrants in London and by young British Blacks in group talks as a sign of ethnic identity.
Some of Patois linguistic features (p190)
– Lexical items such as lick meaning ‘hit‘ and kenge meaning ‘week, puny‘
– Different pronunciation like then and thin are pronounced ‘den‘ and ‘tin‘.
– Plural forms don’t have s on the end.
– Tenses aren’t marked by suffixes on verbs, so forms like walk and jump are used rather than walked, walks, jumped, and jumps.
– The form mi is used for I, me and my (mi niem / my name).
– The form dem is used for they, them and their (dem car / their car).
2- Midland Black English: a variety of Standard English with a west midland accent which is an informal variety with some Patois features.
3- Multi-cultural London English: a variety used by adolescents (teenagers) from a range of ethnic backgrounds, including Jamaican & Asian backgrounds. Its features include using monophthongs instead of diphthongs and a distinctive vocabulary, for example: blood / mate and nang / good and yard / house.
– Social networks: who we talk and listen to regularly is an important influence on the way we speak (regular patterns of informal social relationships among people.
– Density: it refers to whether members of a person’s network are in touch with each other.
– Plexity: is a measure of the range of different types of transaction people are involved in with different individuals.
– Uniplex relationship: is one where the link with the other person is in only one area.
– Multiplex relationship: it involves interactions with others along several dimensions.– Community practice: the activities that group members share, and their shared objectives and attitudes (one belongs to many communities of practice such as family, workgroup, sports team, etc)