Entry 11- Yule
Language has many variations, especially in the spoken way, and it is possible to find different varieties inside the countries; the study of this is called linguistic geography.
The standard language is “ ideal” variety of one language since it does not have an specific region and it is associated with administrative, commercial and educational purposes. The vocavulary, spelling and grammar tend to the ideal form used in written language. Teachers teach this “ kind” of English, as if it was neutral.
Although, we try to speak this English, all of us have our own accent which could be subtle or less noticiable . Accent is the aspect of the pronpunciationthat identifies where an individual speaker is from ( region or social). Whereas, dialect describes features of grammar and vocavulary and pronounciation as well. There are some regional dialects that have stereotyped pronounciation asssociated with them. The region has a significant importance since the speech of those people living in certain areas would defined a tendency and would be “devided” by those differences . Those boundaries are called isoglosses; it is a line that represents a boundary between the areas with regard to that one particular linguistic item. When a number of issoglosses come together in a more solid line, which can be drawn, the it is called dialect boundary. If the dialect or language variety merges into another, then this regional variation is a dialect continuum rather than being a sharp break from one region to the next one. Political boundaries- from one country to another- may not be enough to make dialects different, they , in fact, will be similar because they are located next to the other. The people who use different varieties of languages with easeness are called bidialectal . Most of us share this characteristic because we speak in different ways according to whom we are talking to: family, friends or in the school. But, if we refer to a person who can speak two languages ( not dialects) then, they are called bilingual. Bilingualism tends to be a feature of the minority groups in order to take part of a dominant community; a way of belonging. Those minority groups can live out their lives without ever seeing their native language appear in a public domain. However, individual bilingualism does not have to be a political dominance as it happens with minority groups. The reason could be that the individuals have two parents that speak different languages. Diglossia is called when there are two distinct variety of a language; there is a low variety acquired locally and used for everyday affairs and a special variety learned in schools for important matters.
Many countries are monolingual, they are capable of speaking one language , as USA. However, it is not like this same for others who live in there because English is not their first language in their community as it happens in Texas. Instead Spanish might be the first language.
In some areas, the standars chosen may be a variety tha originally had no native speakers in the country, this kind of contact, pidgin , began many years ago. It is a variety of a language that was developed for a practical purpose: trading among groups that had contact but who did know each other`s language. It does not have native speakers. On the other side, there are descendents from pidgins who developed its “language”, beyond the trade purpose, and make the pidgin their own first and more complex language , it is called creoles. The development of this evolution, from pidgin to creole, is known as creolization. Otherwise , the tendency of using the forms and structures fewer of creole ( since this trend means belonging to education and greater prestige) is known as decreolization.
“A speech community is a group of people who share a set of norms and expectation regarding te use language”. The important features are the region, educational and economic status. When a community such as a working class group , we can refer to a working class speech , thou we are talking about social dialect or sociolect; a social dialect may vary according to feaatures such as pronounciation, words or structures that are regularlyused in one form by working-class speakers and in another form by middle class speakers: the class is a social variable and pronounciation or words are linguistic variables.
Each of us have an individual way of speaking, a personal dialect: idiolect . It is the tendency to sound like others with whom we share similar educational backgrounds or occupations. Among those who leave the educational system or the ones that did not, there is a general pattern of using certain forms. Social markers are the features that occure frecquently in your speech that marks as a member of a particular social group, weather you realize it or not. For instance a social marker is [h] dropping which is associated with the working class. Speech style is another social feauture of language use which can be distinguished between formal or careful attention and informal use. The change from one style to another s called style-shifting ; middle class speakers are more likely to shift their style significantly in the direction of the upper middle class when they are using a careful style. If the change is in the direction of a form that is more frecquent in the speech of those perceived to have higher social status ,then it refers to overt prestige, which is recognized as more valuable in the larger community. On the contratry, if the certain groups do no change then, it is covert prestige. The reasons is that those groups feel that the features of their language are valuable and let them disguish as a group that they are pleased to belong .Speech accomodation is the ability to modify our speech style away or towards from the perceived atyle of the person we are talking to. We adopt this ability in order to reduce social distances . On the other hand, if it is used to emphasize social distances it is called divergence.
Register is a conventional way of using language that is appropriate in a specific context , occupational or topical. Jargon is special technical vocabulary associated with a specific area of work but slang is used among those who are outside established a higher status groups. It describes phrases or words that are used instead of more everyday terms among younger speakers or groups with special interests. Slang is subject to fashion, to adolescents, to a group that shares ideas or attitudes as a way of satnding out. The expressions of slang can be out of fashion (grow old) and may varies within the younger groups .
Culture is a broad term, but in this case we mean the ideas or assumptions that we learn when we become members of a social group and we initially acquire it without being aware of it. Each culture may or not have certain terms or words that other cultures do not share. There might be words that do not exist since the object does not exist ( horses). There are conceptual distinctions that are lexicalized , expressed as a single word.in one language and are not in others. Not only do words express phisical things but also, they express abstract issues such as time, amounts that vary according to each culture.
Linguistic relativity is discussed when the structe of our language , must have an influence on how we perceive the world. We talk and think about the world of experience using categories provided by our language, which seems to shape our habitual thoughts. Whereas linguistic determinism supports the idea that the language determains thoughts, we are able to think in the categories that the are provided by the lg.
We inherit a language to report knowledge, so we would expect that language to influence the organization of our knowledge in some way. We also inherit the ability to manipulate and be creative with the language in order to create our perceptions: we are determined by language, then the concept of language change would be impossible. Human manipulates the language, not the other way around.
There are cognitive categories such as animate and inanimate which tells us something about a traditional belief system or a way of thinking. The classifiers indicate the type of class of noun involved, they are also used in connection with numbers to indicate the type of thing being counted. Another disticntion , for instance in English, is that there are things treated as countable or non-countable.
Adress term refers to a word or phrase for the person being talked or written to. If the relation between the participants is close , then the adress term would be one especific ; for instance “Sir” is used to indicate an unequal relationship in power. Another example is when refering to a married women (Mrs),will be different from a single lady (Miss). So, there are categories based on gender . The classifications are Biological (male-female), grammatical (masculine- femenine) and social gender which classifies individuals in term of their social role. There is a disctintion in certain words that are used only by men an other used only by women ( in portuguese: obrigada/o). Other point to consider , apart from gendered words such as words that are “machovinist” like firemen, is the gendered speech which focuses on the pitch movement: it describes the effect of vocal vibrations. Women use a rising intonation and the question tag form in order to look for or show agreement, whereas men use more assertive forms and direct speech. They also take longer turns speaking. They do not use back-channels as women do. The use of word –really?- or sounds –hmm- give the impression that the interlocutor is paying attention.