LANGU AGE V ARI ATION AND V ARI ETI ES

by Dyah Rochmawati (NIM. 08 745 006)

This paper is presented to fulfill the assignment of the Sociolinguistics course by Prof. Dr. Soekemi, M.A

SURABAYA STATE UNIVERSITY POST- GRADUATE PROGRAM LANGUAGE AND LITERARY EDUCATION DEPARTMENT (S2) April, 2009

LANGUAGE VARIATION AND VARIETIES
A. INTRODUCTION In the past few decades, linguistics- the systematic study of language has expanded dramatically. Its findings are now of interest to psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, anthropologists, teachers, speech therapists and many others who have realized that language is of crucial importance in their life and work. A branch of linguistics which studies properties of language and languages which require reference to social, including contextual, factors in their explanation is called Sociolinguistics. One of such properties is variation (Downes, 1998: 9, 16). The study of language variation and change is the core of the sociolinguistics enterprise (Chamber, et.al., 2004) Variation is recognized as we have many different ‘ways of speaking’ the same language (ibid.: 16). We recognize speakers with different dialects or accents. Sometimes we find variation within the same community. Speech is always uttered by individuals who are members of social groups which are both separated from and related to other social groups in space and time (ibid.: 18). A variety is a neutral term which simply means any particular ‘way of speaking’. Thus, when we observe an utterance it is always in a particular language, in a particular dialect of that language, and pronounced with a particular accent. A dialect varies from other dialects of the same language simultaneously on all three linguistic levels: phonologically, grammatically, and in terms of its vocabulary or lexically (ibid.: 17).

B.

LANGUAGE VARIATION AND VARIETIES

People do, indeed, differ in language and custom (Goodenough, 1981: 1). Language is closely linked with the members of the society in which it is spoken, and social factors are inevitably reflected in their speech. Language can be studied as a social phenomenon. This has brought about language variation and the variation runs along ‘fault lines in social factors’, such as divisions between social classes, the sexes and different ethnic groups (Downes, 1998: iii). Accordingly, language differs so much. The part of sociolinguistics, the descriptive sociolinguistics is to disclose the general or normative patterns of language use within a speech network or speech community so as to show the systematic nature of the alternations between one variety and another among individuals who share a repertoire of varieties. The description of societal patterns of language variety use- a variety being either a different language or a different social ‘dialect’, or a different occupational ‘dialect’ or a different regional ‘dialect’- whenever any two varieties are present in the linguistic repertoire of a social network- commonly utilizes the concept of situation (Fishman in Giglioli, 1972: 48). A situation is defined by the co-occurrence of two (more) interlocutors related to each other in a particular way, communicating about a particular topic, in a particular setting. Thus a social network or community may define a beer-party between university people as a quite different from a lecture involving the same people. The topics of the talk in the two situations are likely to be different; their locales and times are likely to be different; and the relationships or roles of the interlocutors vis-à-vis each other are likely to be different. Any one of these differences may be sufficient for the situation to be defined By a language we mean a body of standards for speech behavior, a body of organizing principles for giving order to such behavior. The standards comprising every known human language may be seen as ordered into several systems or levels of organization: the phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic, and symbolic (Goodenough, 1981: 5)

C.

CONCLUSION REFERENCES

Chambers, J.K. 2004. Studying Language Variation: An Informal Epistemology. In Chambers, J.K., Trudgill, Peter, and Schilling-Estes.(eds.). 2004. Handbook of Language Variation and Change. Malden, MA.: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Downes, William. 1998. Language and Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Giglioli, Pier Paolo (Ed.). 1972. Language and Social Context: Selected Readings. Middlesex: Penguin Books Ltd. Goodenough, Ward H. 1981. Culture, Language, and Society. California: The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company, Inc.

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