CHAPTER 9- Language Change
* Variation and Change: the cause behind language change is the variation of use in the areas of pronunciation and vocabulary.
Post-vocal |r| its spread and its status: In many parts of England and Wales, Standard English has lost the pronunciation post-vocal r. The loss of r began in the 17th century in the south-east of England and is still spreading to other areas. Accents with post-vocal |r| are called rhotict, and these accents are regarded as rural and uneducated. On the other hand in cities like New York, pronouncing the letter r is regarded as prestigious.
The spread of vernacular forms: some times a vernacular feature insome communities as a reflection of ethnic or social identity such as what happened in Martha’s Vineyard Island. Labov’s 1960 study showed: when the island was invaded by summer tourists, the island community of fishermen changed their pronunciation of some word vowels to older forms from the past as a reaction to the language of tourists.
How do language changes spread?
1- from group to group: changes spread like waves in different directions, and social factors such as age, gender, status and social group affect the rates and directions of change.
2- from style to style: from more formal to more casual, from one individual to another, from one social group to another, and from one word to another.
– Lexical diffusion: the change from one word’s vowel to another, the sound change begins in one word and later on in another, etc.
How do we study language change?
A- Apparent-time studies of language change: it is the study of comparing the speech of people from different age groups, to find out any differences that could indicate change (whether increase or decrease).
B- Studying language change in real time: in this study, the researcher studies the language in a community and then comes back to it after a number of years to study it again, and find out any changes.
Reasons for language change:
1- Social status and language change: members of the group with most social status, for example, tend to introduce changes into a speech community from neighboring communities which have greater status and prestige in their eyes.
2- Gender and change: differences in women’s and men’s speech are a source of variation which can result in linguistic change.
3- Interaction and language change: interaction and contact between people is crucial in providing the channels for linguistic change (social networks).
4- The influence of the media: some researcher belief that media has a great influence on people’s speech patterns and new forms.
CHAPTER 10- Style, Context and Register
* Language varies according to use and users and according to where it is used and to whom, as well as according to who is using it. The addresses and the context affect our choice of code or variety, whether language, dialect or style.
1- Addressee’s influence on style: many factors influence the addressee’s style such as social distance / solidarity / age / gender / social background.
2-Formal contexts and social roles: the formal setting where the social roles of participants override their personal relationship in determining the appropriate linguistic form (style).
3- Topic or function: style is sometimes determined by the function which language is used for.
– Audience design: the influence of the audience (listeners) on a speaker’s style, for example: the same news is read differently by newsreaders on different radio stations during the same day, therefore producing different styles for each audience.
– Speech converges: each person’s speech converges towards the speech of the person they are talking to. It tends to happen when the speakers like one another, or where one speaker has a vested interest in pleasing the other or putting them at ease.
– Speech diverges: deliberately choosing a different language style not used by one’s addressee, it tends to happen when a person wants to show his cultural distinctiveness, social status, ethnic identity, etc
– Hypercorrection: it is the exaggeration of some lower class speakers in imitating middle class standard speech. For example: the use of ‘I’ rather than ‘me’ in constructions such as ‘between you and I’.
– Register: occupational style using specialized or technical jargon, it describes the language of groups of people with common interests or jobs, or the language used in situations associated with such groups, such as the language of doctors, engineers, journals, legalese, etc.
In sports announcer talk; what is the difference between ply-by-play commentary and color commentary?
– Play-by-play commentary: it focuses on actions by using telegraphic grammar.
– Colour commentary: it focuses on people, with heavy and long modifications or descriptions of noun
CHAPTER 11- Speech Functions, Politeness and
Functions of Speech
1- Referential function: to convey information and this is done through different forms of speech, such as declarative or interrogative statements.
– Declarative statements (After this semester, I’m going to visit London)
– Interrogative statements using Wh-questions (what is your name?)
– Interrogative statements using yes/no questions (do like London?)
– Alternative questions with answer choices (do like tea or coffee?)
2- Directive function: giving orders or making requests by using imperative statements. An imperative statements may express a strict demand such as saying (open the door) or it can seem less demanding by using the politeness strategy such as saying (open the door, please) or through using question tags in the case of informality between mother and son (Max the TV is still on!)
3- Expressive function: to express personal feelings, thoughts, ideas and opinions, with different choice words, intonation, etc. These expressions are submissive to social factors and to the nature of the expression as negative (I’m very gloomy tonight) or positive (I’m feeling very good today).
4- Phatic or Social function: it is one of the most common speech acts in everyday interactions; it consists of greetings, complements, gossip, etc. for greeting a friend, a speaker can say (hi/hello). As for greeting a stranger, the speaker can use (hello), but the more formal greetings between strangers are (good morning/afternoon/evening).
5- Metalinguistic Function: it is used to describe parts of language such as grammar, or words that describe language itself (I is a personal pronoun)
6- Poetic Function: using poetic features such as rhyming words, alliteration or paronomasia and antithesis (An apple a day keeps the doctor a way).
7- Heuristic Function: Halliday identified this function of language which concerned with learning, the main concentration of researching this function of speech is to identify the spoken language of learning children.
8- Commissives: it involves using threats and promises (I will clean my room, I promise).
Politeness: it is the consideration of social factors (social distance in terms of solidarity or formality), social status, type of situation or context, intonation, etc when communicating with others.
* One may ask somebody to sit down by using different utterances:
Sit down / please sit down / I want you to sit down / won’t you sit down / you sit down / why don’t you make yourself more comfortable?
– Positive politeness: a type of politeness based on solidarity between speakers and hearers who share values and attitudes, and in which formal expressions in addressing are avoided.
– Negative politeness: a type of politeness based on formality between speakers and hearers in which formal expressions in addressing are used in order to protect hearers’ face and avoid intruding on them.