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LANGUAGE, SOCIETY AND CULTUR

to indicate membership of a different social group or a different speech community. Speech community: is a group of people who share a set of norms, rules and expectations regarding the use of language. Sociolinguistics: It deals with the inter-relationship between language and society. It has strong connection to anthropology, through the investigation of language and culture. It has strong connection to sociology, through the crucial role that language plays in the organization of social groups and institutions. It is also tied to social psychology too. Social dialects: Varieties of language used by groups defined by such factors as class, education, age, sex and a number of other social parameters. The concept of “prestige”, about language in use, is typically understood in terms of “overt prestige” and “covert prestige”. Overt prestige: the generally recognized 'better' or positively valued ways of speaking in social communities. Covert prestige: the hidden type of positive value attached to non-standard forms and expressions by certain subgroups - indicates “you are one of us” Example: 'schoolboys' seem to attach covert prestige to forms of 'bad' language. Age and gender: (Social class the same) Age: variation in forms and expressions is most noticeable in the grandparent - grandchildren time span. Grandfather may still talk about the 'icebox' and 'wireless', but not know “what rules”, “what sucks”, or “what's totally stoked”, and he doesn't use “like” to introduce reported speech: “We're getting ready, and he's like”, “Let's go, and I'm like”, “No way I'm not ready, and he splits anyway the creep!” Gender: Female speakers tend to use more prestigious forms than male speakers. The forms, such as “I done it”, “it growed” and “he ain't” can be found more often in the speech of males, and “I did it”, “it grew” and “he isn't” in the speech of females. Ethnic background: Within any society, differences in speech may come about because of different ethnic background. When a group within a society undergoes some form of social isolation, such as the discrimination or segregation experienced historically by African-Americans, then social dialect differences become more marked. From social point of view, the resulting variety of speech may be stigmatized as “bad speech”. The speech of many African-Americans, technically known as Black English Vernacular (BEV) is often stigmatized as “bad speech”, because of: 1. Absence of copula (linking verb-forms of the verb 'to be'), as in expressions: “They mine”, “you crazy” Arabic, Russian and some other language have similar expressions without the copula 2. Double negative constructions as in expressions “He don't know nothing”, “I ain't afraid of no ghosts”. # Old English used double negatives, and French and Spanish use double negatives also. (Examples on p. 243 of the textbook) Idiolect:The personal dialect of each individual speaker of a language is called idiolect. Besides the elements of social and regional dialect, voice quality and physical state of the individual also contribute to the identifying features of an individual's speech - in many respect, you are what you say. Style, register and jargon:

Style: Situation of use determines formal or informal style of speech - speaking to the chancellor (Formal style) speaking to the colleague (Informal style). (Examples on p. 244 of the textbook) Register: Variation in use of speech according specific situations (religious, legal, technical) - Expressions vary from situation to situation. (Examples on p. 245 of the textbook) Jargon: (also “argot” or “cant”) can be defined as specialized technical vocabulary associated with different registers, such as “religious register”, “legal register”, “linguistics register”. (Examples on p. 245 of the textbook) Diglossia: This term is used to describe a situation in which two very distinct varieties of language co-exist in a speech community, each with distinct range of functions. Example: In Arabic-speaking countries - “high” or “classical” variety of Arabic is used for lectures, religious speech, and formal political dialog. (6) Language and culture: Anthropologists define culture as “socially acquired knowledge”, since languages are acquired through cultural transmission, linguistic variation seems to be tied to the existence of different cultures. Different groups not only have different languages, they have different world views which are reflected in their languages. There are words and expressions in languages that reflect cultural phenomena. Aztec has no word for “Santa Clause”. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf produced arguments in the 1930s, that the languages of American Indians led them to view the world differently from those who spoke European languages. According to Whorf, the grammar of the language of the Hopi Indians of America has a distinction between 'animate' and 'inanimate' (a semantic feature). The words 'cloud' and 'stone' were categorized as 'Animate' in Hopi language. Whorf concluded, therefore, that the Hopi believe that clouds and stones are 'living' entities and that it is their language that leads them to believe this. In Whorf's words, “We dissect nature along lines laid down by our native language”. But, in Whorf's conclusion there is confusion between the biological category of 'living' and the linguistic category of 'animate'. Stones and clouds do not “live” for Hope Indians anymore than 'stones' and 'doors' are considered to be females in the minds of Spanish speakers (“la piedra” and “la puetra”). Whorf's strong version of linguistic determinism was wrong.3. A weaker form of linguistic determinism: Our languages reflect our cultural norms and concerns, but speakers can certainly change their language to refer to new entities or concepts. Our minds are not totally locked by our language. Language universals: Those properties that are common to all languages are referred to as language universals: All languages can

be learned by children. All languages employ arbitrary symbol system. All languages can be used to send and receive messages by their users.

In many ways, speech is a form of social identity, and is used, consciously or unconsciously,

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