Assignment on

Linghuistic and Social Inequality

Submitted To:
Submitted By:

Sohail Falaksher
Waseem Azhar Gilany

Class: Session:

M.Phil Linguistics Semester 2nd 2007-09

The Islamia University of Bahawalpur

Department of English

linguistic commonalities have been given more importance than the linguistic differences. In this discussion this concept of linguistic prejudice is going to be explored to prove that linguistic prejudice in the basic cause for delimiting the idea of linguistic and social inequality. it is acknowledged that linguistic and social inequality affects the language and its use to a great extent. All this depends on the social and educational status of the speaker. Linguistic Prejudice is a product of subjective inequality. whether of individuals or the whole communities. Of course. Inspite these notions based on linguistic equality. the grammar of the different languages can not identically represent any language. The linguists have been trying to find similarities among all the languages of the world. In the same way as linguistic differences show no variety of language. In the same way people with different social and cultural background shows the levels of social inequality as well as different social status. It is a very common notion that people are thought more or less intelligent or friendly according to the way they speak. Subjective Inequality It concerns what people think about each other’s speech. Infact the layman have different belief in this regard but the idea presented by linguists seems sound. there is no shortage of differences between grammars. Types of Linguistic Inequality (i) (ii) (iii) Subjective Inequality Linguistic Inequality Communicative Inequality 1. But there is no purely linguistic ground for ranking any of the grammars higher than others.Linguistic and Social Inequality Introduction Use of different linguistic items by a speaker for communicating the same message with in different social situation gave birth to the idea of linguistic and social inequality. Means to say people have different levels of linguistic competence and linguistic performance which provide basis for the notion of linguistic inequality. When a speaker makes a choice with in the vast range of linguistic choices. But this is not a reliable yard stick to judge the social . This century presented the idea that no variety of language is better than other but that all the varieties of languages or dialects have common features has been developed among the linguists. the selection made by the speaker shows a degree of preference for any choice. In the twentieth century.

So we can conclude that it is the most important type which lined out the boundaries for language culture thought representation and social inequality. Linguistic Prejudice A speaker uses speech as a source of social distinction. It relates to the linguistic items that a person knows. But communicative inequality refers to the kind of knowledge or skill that is needed when using speech to interact with other people. linguistics etc. Linguistic prejudice is the phenomenon that is the major cause of linguistic inequality and social inequality. A speaker sent social signals to show his position in the multidimensional social space. thought. This is a common thinking that right way of speaking conveys that the speaker is much valuable than the one who uses wrong way of speaking. 2. agriculture. Linguistic Inequality It is typically a different concept than which runs through the whole chapter as general idea of the linguistic inequality. The linguistic items one knows show the experience of the person. The habit of using signals as a source of information about the speaker is called linguistic prejudice.inequality among the people. In different social situation the people perform differently because of the linguistic items they know. So language is a source of social inequality. But the social occasion like job interviews. fishing. and social inequality. He always communicates to let the other people know about his position. political debates have far reaching effects on social life and social inequality because here interviewee is sketched according to social and linguistic signals he gives. On the other hand listener is also keen to make value judgments about the speaker’s social status.g. Vocabulary is the field where this experience can be most obvious where some individual has a rich set of technical terminology for a particular field of life e. In other words we can say ‘social inequality’ varies situation to situation because of linguistic items used in different social situations. These judgments . It is going to be dealt in detail in the next coming discussion. 3. In the past the importance of linguistic inequality has been over exaggerated. The judgments based on speech can be called instances of prejudice. culture. It refers to themes related to language. Communicative Inequality It is concerned with knowledge of how to use linguistic items to communicate successfully rather than simply with knowledge of linguistic items.

It is a way in which people consider themselves a better group than others.can be better called value-judgments based on speech. Here membership shows the prototype-member of the group. Cognitive Uncertainty People use speech as a source of information about he speaker in order to plan their behavior. . he is in the state of cognitive uncertainty. So a person’s speech pattern is a permanent aspect of his social identity. then he made guesses on the base of his experience of prototypes among the eatable. ii. The claim that people like to think they belong to a valuable group has a direct relation to the question of linguistic prejudices. Then he could conclude what kind of dish. Speech determines the value system of society. This theory can be explained on the base of the basic concept of prototype. Example 2 Toughness in speech can be valued negatively as well as positively in different societies. Types of Linguistic Prejudice i.(for roughness/ bravery) People use their speech to identify the particular social group to which they belong or would like to be thought to belong. this basic need for information about the other person has been called Cognitive Uncertainty (Berger Calabrese 1975. Here speaker tries to become a symbol of group membership. The social signals help to reduce cognitive uncertainty and help the listener to plan his behavior accordingly. reactions. he is going to eat. But one must be careful in drawing conclusions about other people’s non-linguistic characteristics on the basic of linguistic characteristic of their speech. The characteristics that are highly valued can vary from society to society. morals etc. Cognitive Uncertainty Linguistic Insecurity Prestige 1. There is always a need to reduce cognitive uncertainty in social interaction. iii. Berger 1979). Example 1 When a person is given a plate of food to eat. Speech gives us information about speaker’s value.

He will use a mixture of both the forms of language. So he cannot give up all the forms of his local group. Example 1 Keeping a working class accent while adopting middle class syntax and vocabulary. He will select positive images of both the classes. Stereo Types . Prestige Degree of preference for any set of linguistic items determines the prestige given to any language. But he gives preferences to upper-class (it is known as overt prestige) and the use of selected local forms (covert prestige). Another factor involved in determing the notion of social inequality is the study of Stereo Types which we are going to discuss here. Schools and the media can be channels for creating such kind of linguistic prejudices. This phenomenon is known as Linguistic Insecurity (Labov 1972). Example A child who adopts the language of the upper class may lose the respect and affection of his friend’s respect and even that of his family.Multidimensional nature of linguist variants can place an individual to some extent with a number of different groups at the same time. We can argue that linguistic prejudice makes language a yard stick to measure the social in equality in the society. 2. Linguistic Insecurity Some groups of people in Britain and Untied States do not believe that they speak better than others but on the contrary think that they speak badly. 3. Example 2 If parents tell children that their own way of speaking is the ‘Right One’ then they will automatically follow that other groups speak less well.

For people speech is a clue to non-linguistic information about the speaker’s social background and personality traits like toughness or intelligence etc. neutral v. Listener whose stereotypes are going to be investigated might be asked to make ten to twenty judgments about the owner of the speech and to fill a questionnaire. very tough ii. His judgments can then be compared from one voice to another. A (speech) B (Personally) A define (A) → and b A (stereotype) performs two functions at a time which is a subjective connection between the two prototypes. Here B is harder to be observe directly other than the A. somewhat gentle vi. There is a characteristic of speech A And a characteristic of personality B A will be used both as a characteristic of speech through which the characteristic of personality B can be identified. Seven point scale can be used for this purpose let say: i. Subjective Reaction Test is the method for the analysis of stereo type. Here former A will be used as a clue to B. The listener for example would be asked to locate the speaker somewhere on a particular scale such as toughness. gentle vii. tough iii. very gentle . we can assume that here A can be referred as ling variable and B → non-linguistic variable. so there is little point in asking people directly about these connections. intelligence. somewhat tough iv. friendliness or geographical area. For the analysis of stereotype. People use informations in term of prototype. Subjective Reaction Test We will use Subjective Reaction Test (Lambert Montreal) to analyze the stereotypes. Here the investigator prepares a tape-recording (recording of a series of people reading the same content or passage). Most of the people are not consciously aware of the connections between specific linguistic variable and non-ling variable. This kind of prototype (A) is generally referred to as a stereotype.

describes that teachers are of two kinds i.g. Those who evaluate on the basic of standardness of language Those who pay more attention to fluency (confidence & eagerness) . ii. a photograph. Prejudice of Teachers: Through educational system upper class prejudices prevail in society. Linguistic Prejudice Working in Educational System Now again we will explore the notion of linguistic prejudice in order to have better view about linguistic and social inequality. School teachers and their pupils both have fixed speech stereotypes and we can identify a number of ways in which teacher’s prejudice may present problems for their pupils. To conclude we can say that Stereotypes (speech) are sources to identify stereotypes (personality).We can take for an example which of the following jobs do you think the speaker might hold……? (Lobov 1972) The Results of Subjective Reaction Test show clear differences both between voices and between subjects e. Here linguistic prejudices on the behalf of members of educational institutions are going to be discussed. intelligence test and formal tests of ability used by the educational system put much emphasis on language. different voices evoke different stereotype in the mind of the same persons. Concluded by (Giles & Powerland 1925) there can be certain evidences that most of the teacher base their impressions of pupils on speech forms in preference to other sources of information Example 1 Giles and Powerland compare three types of information. Giles & Powerland (1925). whilst the same voice may suggest different stereotypes to different people. a recorded example of speech and an example of school work and found that speech is given more weightage. Example 2 It is also significant that.

Edward Caisns & Barbra Duriez 1976. There are also other researches as done by Schneidman 1976.Assuming that teachers form their first impressions of a pupil on the base of their speech there is a problem for a child whose speech leads to a negative impressions in teachers mind. In the secondary school career they were found aware of difference of accent and dialects. Different researches as Howard Giles (1925) show that. It seems that the ling prejudice of both teachers and pupils are potential sources of serious problem in Education process. One the whole. then how can teacher expect the student to speak standard British English. There are many teachers who believe that one of their main roles is to point out children’s non-standard dialects or accents that their speech in imperfect. Here Hudson suggests no solution to these problems. If teacher because of linguistic prejudice is not ready to speak standard British English. Prejudice of Pupils First of all the questions arise whether linguistic prejudice exists in school children or not. Even the teachers especially at primacy level do not speak standard British English. Wallace Lambert (1967) Giles & Powerland 1975. . The results given by the above experiments can be interpreted as. Perhaps the children paid more attention to the message when it was in their accent a Perhaps they were more inclined to trust the opinion of someone who sounded like one of themselves. how can we expect a child to overlook his linguist prejudices in order to speak Standard British English. His only purpose is to prove that linguistic prejudice can create Educational Problems on the behalf of both teachers and pupils. in the hope that it will mend their ways. such kind of criticism may affect child negatively or it can strengthen his determination not to conform with society as a result of his negative reaction. The negative expectations by the teacher will lead to negative performance by the pupils. The children below secondary school would be unaware of difference between the local accent and accent of teacher.

He might be a very good speaker in his family or friends. ii. The above statement is about Restricted Codes Elaborated Codes . This theory can be a dangerous nonsense that many school systems put the blame of their educational failure on the inadequacies of the child. and the notion of linguistic incompetence concerns the lack of linguistic knowledge of any language. 1. Deficit Theory The claim that linguistic incompetence is found in the children from lower-class houses is known as Deficit Theory. i. Ling incompetence can be a feature of language of babies and L2 learners and if some one forgot his/her L1. It is claimed that people from lower working class use only restricted code. 2. The Scale of Vocabulary On the scale of vocabulary we can say that there are no significant differences in overall size of vocabulary of lower and upper class children. Some children rarely give anything more than a single word in his answer to a teacher and some teachers conclude that the child is incompetent. But it is possible that fault lies not in child’s linguistic competence but in the situation. defined by Chomsky. The student underestimated in this way faces a lot of problems during his educational career. Elaborated Code It is a kind of speech which is relatively explicit and is a kind of speech required to be used in a formal context or situarion. Bernsten (1960’s) claimed that there are two ways of using language.Reason for Linguistic Prejudice Linguistic Incompetence Competence. Whereas most of the members of higher class use both restricted and elaborated ode according to circumstances. Restricted Code This is a kind of speech used between the people who know each other well. is person’s specific linguistic knowledge.

Example When to speak? and when not? What to talk? with whom. own a house? The provision of schooling can therefore be seen as only one factor in the development of schemata concerned. caused by such linguistic prejudices. Communicative Incompetence Communicative Competence is knowledge of language needed by a speaker or hearer to grasp the message effectively. Example All people who own houses pay a house tax. Does Bioma. View of social inequality indicates that different people may be different in the explicitness of their speech in the same circumstance. Non-schooled uses non-logical thinking. Some children do not want to learn the school’s schemata because of Subtractive Bilingualism. While Schooled are taught logical thinking to solve Traditional Syllogism in order to create communicative competence. Example . when. It creates a difficulty for school in persuading some children to accept some of schemata of school. This discussion rejects the notion of deficit theory that verbally deprived children have no language at all. But when we come to the quality we can say there is remarkable difference in the use of vocabulary between the working class children with low proficiency and upper class with high proficiency in language use.quantity of vocabulary. where and in what manner? There is a clear difference between who have been to school and those who not been to school. It includes our knowledge or ability to use linguistic forms appropriately. and that some children do learn schemata from school and others do not. Bernstein claimed that children from lower class homes are likely to be less explicit under the same circumstances than children from higher class homes. The question is to seek out ways to solve the problem. Bioma does not pay a have tax.

Lower class girl: More fluent Lower class boy: Least fluent Middle class children: In between both of them.’ . It seems very right to say ‘Linguistic inequality breeds social inequality and social inequality breeds linguistic inequality. which controls the teacher’s behavior. Example 1 Picture: A man standing by a broken window and shouting on a boy.A speaker sent social signals to show his position in this multidimensional social space in the form of the choice of linguistic items while communicating in society. to which the children are accustomed. It can be suggested that in order to achieve the objectives of the educational system we should make use of communicative competence within the child’s own culture which he brings to school.During an experiment to show explicitness in a description of pictures. lower class children on average need thrice as many prompts to be explicit than the middle class children. The Communicative Competence of Lower-class Children Some people have a deficit (gap) in their communicative competence with respect to certain types of situation. On the other hand listener also tries to draw conclusions about the speaker’s position in this multidimensional social space. Described by Middle class (Implicitly) Working class (Explicitly) Example 2 Making up a Bed-Time story. and lower-class culture. Each of us has his/her own particular range of deficits or gaps (Cazden 1970) would a better term for some formal experimental or school situation in which they have lo be explicit. In the multidimensional social space. Others may have gaps with respect to situations where they are confronted with an angry client and so on. It seems that the difference between codes is a matter of degree and it is a skill specific to a range of situation and not specific to the use of code successfully. Having seen what lower-class children do badly. it is only fair to look at some of the things they often do well. Conclusion: The main problem of lower-class children at school is a culture-clash between middleclass culture. Communicative competence depends more on situation than the individual’s social inequality. even if part of the aim of education is precisely to broaden this communicative competence. speaker always communicate to let the other people know about his position in it.

R.1980 .Cambridge: CUP.Bibliography: Hudson. Sociolinguistics .A.