CHAPTER 6-Regional and Social Dialects (Janet Holmes)

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 in American 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.

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