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LANGUAGE VARIETIES

Edward Sapir states, “language is variable” at a number of structural levels (phonology, morphology, and syntax). Variability is within everyone’s experience of using and listening to it. Variationist paradigm focuses on understanding variation and change in the structural parts of language rather than the behavior of speaker or the nature of the speaker interaction. In the work, the variety is viewed directly from the language itself without considering who uses it and to whom it is used. Hudson and Ferguson define variety in terms of a specific set of ‘linguistic items’ or ‘human speech patterns’ (presumably, sounds, words, grammatical features, etc.) which we can uniquely associate with some external factor (presumably, a geographical area or a social group). According to Hudson (2001:22) a variety of language is a set of linguistic items with similar social distribution. A variety can be smaller than a language and a dialect. Phoneticians point out that two utterances of the same word by the same speaker are never exactly alike. Some variation in sound –patterns may be structured, as for example in phrase, such as bacon and eggs, the final /n/ of ‘bacon’ may be assimilated to the place of the preceding /k/as velar rather than alveolar nasal. On the other hand, quantitative paradigm explores regularity in linguistic variation by examining certain dimensions that are external to language itself and relating variation in these to variation in language. These dimensions are normally social; two are described as natural dimensions (space and time). The variation in space forms the subject matters of linguistic geography, eg, traditional dialectology. The variation in time forms the subject matter of historical linguistics. Main advances are ‘human” dimensions of variation compare the incidence of variants in different speakers and groups of speakers by using quantification which is called social dialectology. Therefore, studying variation in this point is much broader than in what is done by variationist paradigm. Eventhough these two works study about variation, but the techniques are different and they can lead us to study various aspects of language. Research Procedures of quantitative paradigm:
1. Selecting a variable (for example, a sound segment such as /a/ which is observed to vary in

pronunciation)

A linguistic innovation is an act of the speaker (s) which may or may not be established in the linguistic system and it become part of the language and if it does penetrate into the system. certain techniques have to be used to elicit casual or informal styles. John Gumpers (1962): a social group which may be either monolingual or multilingual. It is a locus in which speakers agree on the social meanings and evaluations of the variants used and it incorporates variability in language use. but that they arise from the activities of the speakers and then feed into linguistic system. This activity can lead to speculation as to whether human linguistic competence is probabilistic (Cedegren and Sankoff. via the common language 2. 3.2. taken together with other variables may reveal the direction of linguistic change in progress at some particular time. sex (gender) of speaker. Changes do not take place in the language. either directly or indirectly. it is geographically restricted which is important in the identification of the origins and diffusion of linguistic changes in progress. . a. Quantitative sociolinguistics focuses on the speech community. Fasold. held together by frequency of social interaction patterns and set off from the surrounding areas by weakness in the line of communication. It may be overlap for bilingual people. it becomes a linguistic change. Leonard Bloomfield (1933:42): a group of people who interact by means of speech. socio-economic class. so this proposed a methodological distinction between innovation and change. In practice. In particular. 1. ethnic group of speaker. All normal speakers of a language exhibit stylistic variation in speech. 1990:249-57). 1974. age of speaker. Quantifying occurrences of variants in the speech of different speakers and groups of speakers. Some definitions below about speech community are proposed by some linguists. and patterns of stylistic variation exhibited by speakers. and social netwok. The main advance of quantification is by relating variation in language to variation in society and situational context of speech (contextual style). John Lyons (1970:326) defines speech community as all people who use a given language or dialect. which informants may tend to avoid in talking to an outsider such as the fieldworker known as observer’s paradox. Charless Hockett (1958:8) : the whole set of people who communicate which each other. for example.

According to Bell. It can be categorized into two types. Language Maintenance. William Labov (1972a:120): it is not defined by any marked agreement in the use of the language element. Haugen says there are important matters to do with ‘function. Standardization. and Change Language maintenance signifies the process of consciously maintaining. the former referring to the development of such things as grammars and dictionaries and the latter referring to the use of the standard in such areas as literature. example. which is continuously in progress.’ For example. . these norms may be observed in over types of evaluative behavior and by the uniformity of abstract patterns of variation which are invariant in respect to particular level of usage. and possibly a literature. For.4. spelling books. Bell (1976. 147–57) has listed seven criteria that may be useful in discussing different kinds of languages. a norm must be selected and accepted because neither codification nor elaboration is likely to proceed very far if the community cannot agree on some kind of model to act as a norm. so much as by participation in a set of shared norms. Haugen (1966a) has indicated certain steps that must be followed if one variety of a language is to become the standard for that language which he calls the ‘formal’ matters of codification and elaboration. If there is consciousness of a standard language in a nation. Non institutional maintenance or vernacular maintenance is extended to cover situations in which the pressure to maintain language states (Milroy (1975:82). and dictionaries. the speakers do not do not evaluate variants which other speakers use or if it is dominant. and commerce. vernacular maintenance can become a conflict. administration. Institutional maintenance arises from the imposition of linguistic norms by powerful social groups also called standardization. autonomy. mixture. institutional and non institutional. Standardization refers to the process by which a language has been codified in some way. localized non institutional norms of language will tend to be preserved. Standardization is a diachronic process occupying an extended time-scale. these criteria (standardization. education. vitality. reduction. That process usually involves the development of such things as grammars. the courts. historicity. pp. and de facto norms) may be used to distinguish certain languages from others.

On the other hand. e. 24–5) is classified into two terms. Autonomy is an interesting concept because it is really one of feeling. pp. Is this an r-pronouncing area of English. Dialect geography is the term used to describe attempts made to map the distributions of various linguistic features so as to show their geographical provenance. Patois is usually used to describe only rural forms of speech. De facto norms refers to the feeling that many speakers have. 1980. but the bond provided by a common language may prove to be the strongest tie of all. for example. the issue becomes one of deciding how many varieties and how to classify each variety. Regional dialect according to (Petyt. trade. political. or profession. In addition. Reduction refers to the fact that a particular variety may be regarded as a sub-variety rather than as an independent entity. Mixture refers to feelings speakers have about the ‘purity’ of the variety they speak. we may talk about an urban speech and middle class as dialect. or is it not? What past tense form of drink do speakers prefer? What names do people give to particular objects in the environment. For example. as in words like car and cart. A language must be felt by its speakers to be different from other languages. This criterion can be used to distinguish languages that are ‘alive’ from those that are ‘dead. Social network depends on indicators of density and multiplexity in a speaker’s social relationship. Quantitative measurements of social class depend on such indicators.. and educational level. Social. as income. religious. social class.g. When a language is recognized as being spoken in different varieties. or ethnic ties may also be important for the group. elevator or lift. it also seems to refer only to the speech of the lower strata in society. dialect geographers try to find answers to questions such as the following. that there are both ‘good’ speakers and ‘poor’ speakers and that the good speakers represent the norms of proper usage. and social network. Parson (1952) which uses the concept of statificational social class (stratificational model and a process . The measurements depend on social theory of Talcott. in seeking to determine features of the dialects of English and to show their distributions. refers to the existence of a living community of speakers.’ Historicity refers to the fact that a particular group of people finds a sense of identity through using a particular language: it belongs to them. petrol or gas. carousel or roundabout? Extra Linguistic Variables Language variation can be caused by social variables.Vitality.

Social network analysis provides a methodology for studying the interaction between pattern of maintenance and patterns of change. 923) that language can be used to refer either to a single linguistic norm or to a group of related norms. The difference between social network and social class is that network deals with dimension of solidarity at the level of the individual and his or her everyday contact.model of class). Languages and Dialects Linguists have generally relied on working assumption that there exists a structured and stable entity which is called a language or a dialect of a language. The first model involves classifying individuals in a hierarchy of class groupings based on the idea of a continuum from the highest to the lowest. or prestige as prior categories. and dialect to refer to one of the norms. Females tend toward the careful end of the continuumand males toward the casual end. Similarly. 1980) point out that. Scandinavian languages are mutually comprehensible to a great extent. In order to characterize a “language” or any quasi discrete variety of a language. . class. Sociolinguists (Downes. but sometimes becoming the prestige norm is in the course of time. 1984. For example. The female norm becomes the prestige norm may be because of status. and in terms of style. we need to invoke sociopolitical criteria in addition to linguistic criteria. Haugen points out (p. but some dialects of English are not readily comprehensible to speakers of other dialects. The second model is as the means of production and distributing and resulting in two broad groupings of society – proletariat and bourgeoisie. the tendency appears to be always in the same direction. Gender Variation according to gender appears to be universal. Gender differentiation is a driving force in linguistic change. Chambers and Trudgill. Class accounts for the hierarchical structure of society (arising from inequality of wealth and power). Social Network Social network is based on relationships contracted by individual speakers with other individuals. females favor prestige norms and males vernacular norms. boundaries between languages can not be wholly determined in terms of structural difference or mutual comprehensibility.