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英语语言学纲要笔记(8)Chapter 8 Language in Social Contexts

2008年12月08日  所属:英语语言学  来源:完美学社  作者:英语语言学纲要

英语语言学纲要要点笔记:(8)Chapter 8 Language in Social Contexts。

Chapter 8 Language in Social Contexts
 What is sociolinguistics?

 The sociolinguistic study of language
 Language in relation to society
 Diversity of language, variation between societies or within a society
 The distinction between “language” and “a language”
 Try to answer the following three questions:
 Can language be defined in terms of geography?
 Can language be defined in terms of nationality?
 Should language be defined by mutual intelligibility?
 The answer to these questions should all be no. All languages are equal. If you define language in terms of these factors, you are speaking of “a language”.

 Varieties of language

 A language varies according to the following factors:
 Situation
 Geographical areas
 Social factors
 Purposes and subject matters
 Time (through which the language develops)
 Geographical varieties and regional dialects
 What’s the relationship between a regional dialect and the national standard speech?
 A regional dialect is a variety of the national standard speech.
 Accent
 Pronunciation:
 Spelling: -our/-or
 Vocabulary:
 Grammar: have you/do you have…
 Social varieties
 Sociolects are forms of a language that characterize the speech of different social classes.
 A social variety is a variety of language brought about by the social factors.
 Language plays the role of a social indicator.
 Social classes and variation
 Grammar: third person singular
 Pronunciation: popular contracted forms
 Sex and variation
 Women tend to speak more standard, decent variation.
 Women tend to make overstatements, especially when making comment.
 Women prefer to use certain adjectives which are not used normally.
 Women tend to avoid the use of vulgar words.
 Women tend to use certain expressions to show happiness or surprise.
 Age and variation
 Race and variation
 Racial difference
 Black English
- Pronunciation
- Grammar
 Temporal dialects
 Standard dialect and idiolect
 Standard dialect is the highest prestige in a society or a nation. It is usually based on the well-educated speech.
 It is used in news media and literature.
 It is described in dictionaries and grammar books.
 It is taught in schools and to non-native learners.
 Idiolect is the language system of an individual. It is one’s particular way of speaking and/or writing.
 Register – situational variety
 Register is a speech variety which changes according to the situation where language is used. Usually it is shared by a group of people, such as lawyers, doctors, stamp collectors, etc.
 To know how to use a register means to know how to use language appropriately.
 Register is analyzed on three dimensions: field, mode and tenor. Field is concerned with why and about what we communicate; mode is related to how we communicate; tenor is about with whom we communicate.

 Formality

 Frozen
 Formal
 Consultative
 Casual
 Intimate

 Language in contact

 Throughout history no natural language is pure or free from the influence of other languages. Due to trade, war, colonization and other causes languages may come into contact. When this occurs, mixed codes may come into being, which are called pidgins and creoles.
 The term pidgin is the label for the code used by people who speak different languages. A pidgin is not the native language of any group.
 A creole is a mixed language which has become the mother tongue of a speech community.
 Bilingualism and multilingualism are normal in many parts of the world today.
 Bilingualism gives rise to code-switching and code-mixing. The former refers to the fact that a speaker changes from one language to the other in different situations or when talking about different topics. The latter refers to the change from one language to the other language within the same utterance.

 Taboos and euphemisms

 Taboo refers to a prohibition on the use of, mention of, or association with particular objects, actions, or persons. Euphemism is an expression that substitutes one which may be seen as offensive or disturbing to the addressee.
 Taboo and euphemism are actually two sides of the same coin.
 What is taboo or not taboo depends on the context.

 A brief introduction to a hot topic nowadays: language and culture

 What is culture?
 Nature is material, while culture is spiritual.
 Linguistic relativity
 Language is part of culture, a carrier of culture.
 Language is a product of our social life.
 Language is the principal mean by which culture is passed down.
 Language reflects the way of thinking. Mental activities depend on linguistic activity.
 Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (relationship between language and culture)
 Determinism
 Language determines our way of thinking.
 Relativism (linguistic relativity)
 For further study of this hot topic, refer to the book Language and Culture written by Claire Kramsch

 Competence

 Linguistic competence: grammaticality, presented by Chomsky
 Communicative competence: four components
 Grammaticality
 Acceptability
 Appropriateness
 Effectiveness


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