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Social Thought and Research

SOCIOLINGUISTICS AND LINGUISTIC GEOGRAPHY


Author(s): RAVEN I. McDAVID JR. and RAYMOND K. O'CAIN
Source: The Kansas Journal of Sociology, Vol. 9, No. 2, STUDIES IN SOCIOLINGUISTICS (Fall 1973),
pp. 137-156
Published by: Social Thought and Research
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23255197
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SOCIOLINGUISTICS

AND LINGUISTIC

RAVEN I. McDAVID,

RAYMOND

and

Sociolinguistics

is a branch

of historical

somewhat

biased

of South

urban

communities.

may

geography

be

considered

as complementary

of language

variation.

of the stable

samples

older

communities,

review

of linguistic

applications

sociolinguistics
of linguistic

be

for interpreting

authors

The

on

of small

a framework

Carolina

the phenomena

based

linguistics

in the selection

it provides

however,

to

approaches

K. O'CAIN

should

geography

linguistic

contradictory

mutually

studies

criticisms
and

geography,

and

of varied

and

suggest
others

necessarily

traditional

linguistic

cultures;

both

rural

in matters

and
of

and

geography
in which

directions

than

geography

and

populations-in

both

and

rather

Linguistic

traditional,

informants,

of

to sociolinguists

useful

JR.

of Chicago

University

University

GEOGRAPHY

the

findings

of interdisciplinary

cooperation.

Introduction

among

scholars

discussion

even

though

there

the

nature

of

Disagreements
level

of

intellectual

Sturtevant

never

lapseseach

was

century

for different
the

other.

of the

careful

were

they

if the

variations

each

should

in

has

usage

other's

that

their

of

point
be

fundamental

was

easier

are

aims

to

presented
for those
not

who

in conflict,

led

to misunderstanding,

with

the

work

it is the

part

but

and

other

kinds

that

each

of rationality

Edgar

emphasizing
than

more

at different

looking

maintain

Bloomfield

for

and

to

possible

the

variations,

his students,
are

be

Leonard

Though

necessarily

have

it should

Yet

minute

emphasizing

view

even

interests.

in interpretation.

changeone

It should

his

emphasizes

be differences

may

sound

in perspective

a quarter

of evidence,

may

enlighten

to explain

the

basis

sociolinguists.

Both

deal

are

different,

of rapprochement.

hope
arisen

within

to illumine

the

as each

inevitable

friends.

recognize

in the

be able

that

differences

a situation

with

see

personal
to

disagreement,
Such

to

warm

purposes,
And

on

agreed

are

in connection
a speech

the other.

community;
Yet

somehow

though
there

of the linguistic
their

methods

has developed

geographers
and

the

their

notion

and

the

populations
that

the two

somewhat

groups

are

irreconcilable

adversaries.
It is the
been

made

KJS IX, 2

on

hope
each

of this
side,

paper
to

to

answer

indicate
or

the

explain

origins
such

of recent
criticisms,

disagreements,
and

to

suggest

to discuss

some

directions

137

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of the criticisms

which

might

lead

that
to

have

greater

Fall 1973

138

Kansas

cooperation.

of Sociology

Human

language,

it would

that

complicated
The

authors

linguistic

believe

that

both

geography;

industrialized

have

since

both

level

every

day.

these

will

should

have
have

they

a small

have

been

as often,

of

manuals

of pronunciation,
schools

public

has

only

a handful

been

concentrated

logic,

All

of
to

the

differences

since

literature

and

Most

were

American

of

grammars

of the

the

the

new

language

inaugurated

has

related

to these

historical
of

investigations

took

the

and

place

Spanish

auspices

of

from

professional

the

their

fathers

up

in the

grew

a Negro

and

majority
careers

have

too

of

practitioners

inner

an

Negro
and

intimate

evoked

two

city

North;

on

often

practical

two

in the

communication

that

been

passion;
of our

aspects

with

and

the

varieties

because

exotic

the

of the
But

language.

of linguists

attention

of

teaching
an interest

universals,

language

dictionaries,

curriculum

of the

the

ones),

of the kinds

some

monolingual

recognition,

detail,

(especially

concerns

of

the standard

in any

that

recognized

development

of that

if not

an

in large
speakers,
school

were

to

and

aware

actual

initiated

boards

overlooking
or

social

blacks

problems

by scholars

areas,

in
has
to

English
in symbolic

great
service

other

disciplines.

of native

white

institutions

and

groups.

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

This

departments

and

focused

It was

fulfill
from

of the

and

it turned

in economic

numbers

to

speakers

groups

merely

different.

schools

investigations,

become

complex

the

Spanish

of these

from
to

of

and

of these

Many

disposition

metropolitan

failure

apparent

of the

cause.

increasing

but

the

no

proved

sociolinguistics

as Southern-reared

was

their

they

shown

mission-oriented;

groups

public

because

of language.

studied

areas,

for such

problems

the study

of blacks

of their

the

from

(R.I.M.)

with

considered

languages

been

metropolitan

have

been

arising

have

American

English

had

in traditional

work

translation.

linguists

linguistics

field

county

it has

millenia,

been

of second

issues

of machine

The

have

language

of acculturation

Southwest.

under

the

theoretical

of

One

matters

is indicative

language

of what

teaching

in large

poor

native

the teaching

systems

departments

to abandon

in the

often

seemed

in English

inevitable

significant;

as an instrument

that

a grounding

socially

the

is so

territory,

Sociolinguistics

are

concerns

of

of Applied

community

and

serious

problems
role

and

Involved

these

Rise

speech

as the

have

Both

between

understanding

two

matters

to provide

an

at least

communities

such

toward

objectivity

adjacent

considerable

of cross-regional

problem

For

around

languages,

attempts

traditional
Rico

on

and

directed

built

of American

of other

speakers

been

portions

perspective.

and

the

had

doctor.

agricultural

and

in opposition.

placed

historical

within

variation

language

need

we

to face

toward

The

Here,

of an

have

town

States

all the answers.

dialects.

a small

considerable

spent

produce

step

in social

other

seat

United
has

Both

insights.

the

had

will

experiences

constitute

never

but

continental
or school

research

in the

other

the

person

provide

lobbyist,

the

area,

one

any

directed)

industrial

Westerners,

Perhaps

study

that

discipline

Middle

in (and

in the South

up

grown

married

this

perhaps

an

being

that

experiences

engaged

in

spoken

English

to suggest

their

metropolitan

have

Both

colleges.

specifically

be foolish

in sociologyone

training
of an

Journal

social

lacked

probably
of

English

organization.

disadvantaged,
on

Puerto

language

out,
was

their

adolescent

they
peer

and

Sociolinguistics

much

so

produced

whether

attested

in the
the

Among
various
been

in

spoken

of words

divergent

the

concerns

concerned

with

dimension

to

of

recent

Dialect
in the

decades

of

of

this

But

rarely

account

evidenceto

been

used

in

have

done,

geographers
Dillard
1973),

method
the

and

his index

There

is no

or

that

McDavid,

or of

Marckwardt

(1948)

incontestable

fact

English

be

Southern

used

German

that
tote

to

where

these

linguistics
features

similar

alternative

want

off

for

on

a wide

the

where

want
person")

in many

American

with

have

which

has

1972)

scene

origins

1962;

made

1948;

(Frank,

use

et

1939,

at.,

that

be

might

Isles.

British

of

what

linguistic
1961).

Kurath-McDavid,

it (D'Eloia,

to misrepresent

largely

four

been

to scholarshave

open

serious

a very

been

in the

origins
been

a social

have

1973-)

Allen,

always

geography

never

Kurath,

been

always

added

have

has

(e.g.,

its potential

and

have

nations-there

derivative

summaries

geography.
Linguistic

of general

and

theories

geographers

explanations

seem

foreign-language
is probably
by

are

particular
be

prompt

traced
to

possible,

in the

influence

is improbable,

not

a West

of

is not

geography

of its varietiescan

is influenced

a familiarity
reinforcing

latter

geography

1953,

geographers.

off

The

European

and

linguistic

to get

the

Atwood,

of some

of the

origins.

linguistic

English

range

probably

geographers.

on

primary

linguistic

and

part

only

with

new

suggesting

examined

Mediterranean,

only

as

desirable,

have

to have

or suspected

Geographers

linguistic

linguistic

African,

World,

and

1966,

mentions

is

with

of blacks

speech

likeknown

alternative

though

secondary

Englishor

New

("carry

since

have

from

of historical

of the

again,

linguistic

1961;

(1963,

and

in the

that

in the archives

only

support

West

or

but

1950);

or

blacks,

evidence

cases,

special

the

of the

and

Even

of American

of American

elsewhere

demonstrates
that

can

features
or

Spanish

1949;

(Davis-McDavid,

that

by

of American

position,

creolists

between

argument

used

insist

both

Labov

the founder

list Kurath,

a method

demonstrates

French

dialects

not

he

study

franca

the situation

materials

Only

for the creolist

argument

does

1966

Students

the creolists

again,

communities

varieties

and

interest,

But

reviewed

Kurath-McDavid,

sociolinguistics.1
in his

and

necessary

of inquiry,

whether

American

been

differences.

unpublished

This

be the necessary

publications,

many
1970;

of the

nothing

a popular

(1972),

evidence

British

say

urban

the

putting

affiliations

possible

by Linguistic

in speech

in evaluating

by sociolinguists

must

blacks

regional

Kurath-Lowman,

are such

Portuguese,

of them

linguisticsunlike

and

speech

of

speech

studies
langauge.

the

the lingua

many

have

been

of English.

of Sabir,

variety

of American

the

English

black

Indies.

of Sociolinguistics

with

investigations

West

history

awareness

language

concern

branch

1949;

Kurath,

into

of

on

follow-up

the

French,

English,
the

of sociolinguists

traditional

systematic

1939-1943;
taken

conclusions

of

urban

have

sociolinguists

of American

speech

attention

few

history

(1898-1905);

Dictionary

much

relatively

of, say,

and

their

matched

so

English.

complex

recognizably

have

financed

been

features

Mediterranean,

problems

their

or well

popular

the

have

languagesvarieties

already

the

directed

fifteen-century

Evaluation

Inevitably,

have

of Middle

varieties

the

structures

and

supposedly

Africa,

English

Wright's

of

regional

of them

Few

evidence.

there

perspective

creolized

in the

complexities

But

evidence.

special

and

pidgin

Joseph

the

ask

frequently

would

circumstances

useful

into

investigations

are well

other

no

Perhaps

139

Geography

Linguistic

light

Pennsylvania

African

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etymon

other

languages,
the

recognize

of information
they
Dutch
does

not

Where

arguments.
to

but

a theory

urge

facts
about

caution.

origin;
exclude

the
the

140

Kansas

of Sociology

Journal

from

of reinforcement

possibility

from

country

Nor

to Minnesota.

Maine
he

when

languages

another

to a West

points

since

source,

is it likely

African

that

in a vehicle")

tofeC'transport

that

affirmation

offers

(1971)

Dalby

sounds

more

like

is widely

than
the

O.K.)

another
basic

in Northern

found
case

case

lumbering
in different

of homonymy

has

been

carefully

in Read

put

(1963a,b).
What
should

the

ever

examine

be

linguistic
an

intensive

records

field

of Western

North

or suspected

to

whether

these

familiar

experience

for the

Carolina.
be

Kentucky

the

Normans

crossed

occur

also

for the
still

natives
the

Linguistic

Atlas

of the Middle

work

would

in the

significant

in areas

"pure

have

affected

detail

also

(see

traditional
mobile

L.

Though

the

"dialects"

(1948:

76)

"dialect"

at

words
tangle

Dieth

regional

distribution.

had

place

no

linguistic

identity,

that

sought

Dieth

was

focuses

and

insignificant
if it exists

investigators

as earlier

studies

of the

directed

need
that

mythology

that

on

was

the

is a

the record

in certain

coves

of eastern

in England

wane

known
ascertain

also

to examine

to

speech

to features
should

sociolinguist

The

come.

the

way,

the

before

the

loose

piece

et
that

Jaberg
the

in an

and

of skin

Jud

(1939-43)

the

study

urbanized
York

City,

and
has

like

mobile
no

that

least

linguistic

baby

carriage,
with

were

showing

to

ignore

society

reflection,

(1950)

for New

and

included.

and

be inherently
criticisms;
atlas,

is not

he did

modern"

in fact,

interesting,
most

characterized

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of

Pop

regional
the

Americans

the

regional

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insisted
on

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support

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like

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predominantly

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British

treatment

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to

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felt,

full

as is clear

consequently
is cited

which

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Paris,

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traditionally

for an "alarmingly

Dieth

with

York

have

sidewalk

variants

these

urbanized

of a highly

London,

Americans

of

European
and

like

expense

might

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Hubbell

the

of

a continuation

essentially

Europeans

interesting

not

in some

them

localisms.

centers

rebuked

her remarks

to discuss

elements

most

Dieth

maps

in American
society.2

cultural

at

chose

conservative

that

variants

variation

Atlas,

Since

(1956).

it is well

Linguistic

exaggerate

words

of a nail,

of social

apparently

forces

and

understand

umbrella,

79)

the

would

Thus

for

the

that

of influential

at the root

a!.,

homogenizing

not

grammatical

(1928-40),

that

dimensions.

(1948:

Pickford

geography.

elite

was

Pickford

from

for example),

1969,

isolated

as one

of words

and

Kurath,

most

stem

geography

view

did

urban

by Sociologists

Wolfram,

the

appraised

"perplexed"

conceding

in New

with

the

Geography

linguistic

apparently

variants

phonological

on

have

The

if there

instance,

to expect

questionnaire

the design.

contend
by

Pickford's

or geographical

was

faulted

dialect

was

of the

language"
social

While

geography

Pickford
relatively

in

also

effective

For

research.

as well

States,

of Asheville

still

(cf.

sampled

Pickford

along

of hair,

had

instrument

(1948),

included

unjustifiably

vocabulary.

all.

freezing

of Linguistic

In brief,

geography,

"the

questionnaire

without
people

of American

1970).

1967,

Dieth

differ

a more

must

of sociolinguists

attitudes

research

between
that

left-handed,
had

the

citing

distinction

the

linguistic

and

Atlantic

possible

to previous

it is reasonable

Carolina,

South

Anglo-Saxon"something,

methods

of the

Davis,

European

society,

sharp

M.

attention

in 1066.

Channel

criticisms

frequently

the

who

Criticism

Sociological

make

which

from

North
and

community,

geographer,

linguistic
speak

of Asheville,

speech

Preliminary

socially

features

of the

study

is some

of the sociolinguist

expects

geographer

than
it

that

American

(1950).
identification

contention
by purely

that

as
local

geographical

and

Sociolinguistics

distribution
they

fall if purely

should

in fact,

Cities,
often

form

there

were

vixen

became

overlooks
make

cross-affiliation
geographers

the

regional

regional

trait and
The

New

York

radiation

from

Also
common
This

to have

Type

II:

Type

III:

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lives

of the

that

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any

of all informants

ignored

treatment

informants

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of social
(Chapter

by types

should

which

into

a poor

Atlas

influence

used

school)

cultured

in

a hero
as

disseminated

widely
to

territory
attained

recently

No

associations.

in Philadelphia,

been

as a

status

as the boulevard

variously
ahoagy

of

be

filled

national

in by
status,

1969).5

education

from

social

the
alone

Kurath,

et at.,

social

class

of

informants.
of social

as an indicator

rank.

(1939):

contacts.

wider

and/or

has

atypical

card.

in regional

intervening

of determining

types

restricted

the

and

social

complex

between

like car

have

of these

are not

Cities
consensusa

or lacking

but

indicate

often

oscillate

known

of linguistic

findings

variants

may

of group

complexes

the

linguistic

sandwich,

and

Fox

vixen.

of neighborhoods

kind

significance.

street,

(McDavid,

Atlas

of social

college),

the

All

method

Linguistic

high

uniform

leaving

in Chicago

only

the

feature

1400's,

of the metropolitan

various

with

for r in words

boy

to city,

that

urban

the

shown

for political

clout

and

social

and

the

harmonizes

to have

of the

and

vox

knowledge

point

Newcomers

places.4

use.

speakers,

but

in Boston.

city

of the

reading

reading
wide

background,

and

social

reading

contacts.
extensive

and/or

social

44).

Atlas

seldom

must

prove

the

assumed

quoted

differences
VI)

term

(usually

Linguistic
and

from

summary

little

orders

various

variants,

is far from

a submarine

for the

quoted

areas

in London

Southern

fixen,

a sufficient

a linguistic

the sidewalk

one

with

which

have

(1972)

between

skip

(usually

1939:

from

persons)

Orleans,

likely

And

O'Cain

criticisms

educaton

et at.,

foci

workers

education

Superior

cultural

York,

dialect

to other

of favored

it also

linguistic

native

components;

Pickford's

but

society,

are

and

of the

support

fewer

as a chinaman

education,

formal

(Kurath,

conclusion

summary.

formal

Better

this

but

Chicago

the

in the widely

originated

I: Little

the

Presumably

field

does

have

and

..

background

of cultivated

is known

the

is that

Type

The

are

observer.

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trends

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speakers
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classes;

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the

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145

Geography

history.

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Kansas

146

Journal

areas

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(1929,

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1937),

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(1945),

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more

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of social

and

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significant

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confirmed

r-less

to exist.

seed,

to be more

likely

147

Geography

learned.

success

and

(1972)
The

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divided
were
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in life styles:

in

148

Kansas

Journal

from

transportation,
evidence

from

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materials,

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the

name

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a

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nonlinguists
linguist.19

interviewers

in which

(Reed,

and

(1945)
(1941,
nature

Gallaher
1942,

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(1937),

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1949).

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1961),

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(1972),

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research

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could

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149

must

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2Diversity

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66),

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demonstrated

Chattanooga
Tom

lexical

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yield

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Clifton

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Harlem

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of St.
as

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exist,

as

Pederson

(1965b)

150

Kansas

Linguistic

Journal

with

(though

abbreviated)

Atlantic

States

all

the

Atlantic

after

7Data

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(1973).

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territory

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(1969),

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a/., proceeded

Shuy,ef

impressionistic

social

it is apparent

rank,

into

discreet

the

'natural'
'classes'."

Pop
major

fan.

(1950).

more
see

problems,

Cartographic

recent

Kurath

brief

historical

overview

is

(1972).

representations

appear

in most

works

(1962).

therefore

speakers;

some

social

Wolfram,

Shuy,
used,

they

of the

to several

(1933),

for assessing

18).

of dialectology

is known

rank

is to gain

charting

some

criteria

sociolinguists

of social

scale

of the

Bloomfield

he did

Norway,

not

took

sample

the speech

to sample

pains

of Paris.

the speech

of the surrounding

in the town.

shown

broad,

same

of approaches

study

has

their

the

to be dialect

Avenue,

call

of subjectivity

boundaries

and

state,

sociologists

history

analysis

Fifth

the spread

what

sort

significant

have

of the

knowledge

information.

justifying

of the

Parisians

III)

a working

had

to regional,

purpose

this

avoided

linguistics,

Chapter

stores,

The

(1966),

(1972)

multi-factor

thus

occur,

possibly

run the risk of being


1

second

in a sociolinguistic

(1966),

department

"The

consider

for variables

Kurath,

The

York,

in

college

individuals

among

McDavid

is
the

on

treatment

of these

available.

who

persons

equivalent

use

geography
scores

might

of

provide

an interpretive

historical

did

not

linguistic

have

For

New

et

1973).

when

is devoted

(1939)

do

numerical

a comprehensive

cultivated

to college).

compensate

from

graduate

differences

affairs.

freely

scores

than

more

biographies

of the

to a uniformizing

Carolina.

geographers

geographers

Viereck

et at.,

of Detroit:

between

Linguistic
1

of

subjectivity

rank-ordered

could
will

studiesLabov

range

day-to-day

(1972)

including

in

on the group.

in South

Kurath,

the

informants,

(Curtis,

recorded

and

a wide

organized

Ford

male

sociolinguistic

focus

by his father

(1966),
1

but

position

College"

was

individuals,

recent

consulted

communities
developed

Babson

ancestors

of

(1939),

first

of

half

equivalent

regarded

of exposure

indication

informant

about

only

not

as an

The

usage.
that

was

number

of family

the

Ford,

reveal

school

appreciable

easy-going

profiles

et a/.,

Kurath,

9One

Henry

at Boston's

an

evaluation

Community

generations
...

with

towards

(1961)
(normal

college

of informants

education

attitudes

and

Kurath-McDavid

attended

states

in the

interested

language

in

even

Pennsylvania.

trying

were

geographers

specifically

dealing

of Sociology

the

and

all clerks

would

distinctive

of kerosene,

stratification

sociolinguistic

Macy's,

S.

Klein.

be lumped

vocabularies.

once

a trade

See

name,

sales

among
indices

Occupational

of class

clerks

in

position,

three
like

together.

Pederson

(1964;

at the expense

forthcoming)

of local

terms

on

Chicago.

like coat

This content downloaded from 95.186.253.178 on Tue, 19 Jan 2016 15:47:10 UTC
All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

oil.

the

New

York

Edwards

City
index,

18Paddock
more

occurrence.

regular
we,

you,

19Such

tell

20Folklorists

2'Much

the

conclude

commentators

take

have

who
this

recognizes

most

pitches

and

Midwesterners

take

to the

cornpone

witnesses

the

than

Southerners

truth

the

talk

that

more

Watergate

political
and

is expected

tense,

/,

are an invaluable
tapes.

language.

from

to those

no quarter

others.
other

the Southern

will

regions.
the

perplexed

But

The

Southerners

than

slowly

hearings

gatherings.
that

accompany

for Midwesterners.

to be disconcerting

at Southern

oratory

that

noises

at

of the present

with

1972).

(Foster,

non-significant

witnesses

but

English,

of Newfoundland

for Southerners

is likely

to

in all persons

or the Watergate

(1969),

believe

for granted

extended

senators
by the

is greater

to Black

Britain.

University

folklore

linguistically

and

stresses

Southerners

distressed

is itself

use

of Great

as Williams

projects,

the

paralanguage,

Southern

as a warning

history

to

tendency
parts

attributed

151

Geography

be given

same

listener
those

who

it.

^Institutionalized
professional

been

courtesy

with

liberties

that

the

features

at the Memorial

is disappearing

in a monotone,

which

courtesy

to

least

and

speak

versatility

stylistic

punctilious

folklore

regard

greatest

Midwesterners

that
The

The

the

that

belief

with

is true

same
between

differential

the

us that

by folklorists
oral

Likewise

that

with

system

in the northern

general

assembled

of language.

for the student

rather

was

as those

of recordings

archives

indicates

296-297)

(1905:

Wright

of a verb

in Newfoundland

existence

as he sleeps,

as well

they,

resource

the

shows

(1966)

L inguistic

and

Sociolinguistics

are

misapprehensions

1963:

(Mencken,

pickpocket

rife.

In the

underworld

a gum

moll

is not

the

consort

of a gangster,

but

a female

719n).

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