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Mata Kuliah Reading 2

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113 07 122


1. How could you test whether peoples opinions about a language are based on the
intrinsic linguistic features of the language (such as its sound and its gramatical
patterns) or derive from non linguistic factor such as the social and poltical status
of the speaker?
2. This exercise is intended to give you some idea of how language attitude data is
collected and of the kind of result which emerge. In order to make the exercise
manageable,I suggest you see just two taped voices and ask for responses from a
small number of people. To obtain results you could generalise from, it would be
necessary to use more voices and many more respondents.
Tape a person from your community with a local accent telling you a story
from their personal experience.Then tape someone with a standart accent (such as
RP in England ) from the television or radio, if possible talking on a similiar
perswonal topic.Then play excerpts from the two speakers to two or three of your
friends or family and ask them to rate the speakers on the following scale.
Speech rating scale
Liisten to the tape and then indicate with a tick where you would place the
speakers on the following scale.
Speakers 1


Good sense of humour
Leadership skills
Highly educated
High status job





not fluent
no sense of humour
no leadership skills
low status job

What differentare there in the rating? How would you explain them?

3. In chapter was demonstrated that the number of standart vs vernaculer froms
used by people varied according to the social context. What are the educational
implications of this fact?
4. Can you think of any reason why a language teacher might think it was not their
job to teach those who use vernaculars from to use standart dialect forms?
5. One sociolinguistic study of an african american wroking class community
showed that the verbal skills expected of boys and girls differ considerably.Both
learn how to deal with analogy questions asked by their elder.These encourage
them to see paralles and connections among disparate event and to tell about them
cleverly without spelling out explicity what the links are.Allusiveness is valued,
rather than explicitness, and the resulting style has been described as topic
associating .Boys , however , are also aecouraged to practise story- telling in
competitive public arenas where adults as well as children watch and judge.How
might these different curtural experiences affect the success of the children i

1) One method which has been used to investigate this question is to play a range of
tape recorded speakers of different languages to agroup of listeners. Th listeners
reactions to languages and dialects that are familiar to them are then compared
with their reactions to language which are u familiar.
Using this method, it has been found that responses to afamiliar language
from a pattern.The pattern reflects the prestige of the speakers of the language in
the community whose views are being sought. Response to unfamiliar dialects

and languages, however, form no pattern and randomly distributed. The same is
true for accents. For example, cockney was rated tenth in a list of ten accents
played to British listeners, while it was rated third by American listeners to whom
it was much less familiar. These results proide support for the claim that listeners
responses are strongly influenced by non-linguistic factors.
2) The local accent is likely to be less highly rated than the standartaccent,especiaaly
on the status related features such as confidence, ambition, intellegence,
leadership skills, high education and high status job.Local accent generally gain
higher ratings on solidarity related features such as sncerity, friendliness,reliable,
and sense of humour , and from young peolpe. Whatever reactions you collect,
you should be able to explain them by considering social influence on peoples
attitudes t ccent, and by taking account of the concepts of overt and covert
3) As pointed out in the preceding section,even the most well-educated speaker uses
some verncular forms on some accasions in some contexs, so there can be no
argument for the inherent superiority of standard forms for educational purposes.
Conversely if a speaker can produce a standard form- even if they do not do so
consistenly- the argument for educational deficit based o ignorance of that form
cannot hold water. Claims about the educational disadvatages of some varieties
reflect attitudes to the users and functions of those varieties in contex, rather than
any intrinsic features of the varietues.This issue disscussed in more detail below.
4) It has been suggested by some sociolinguistist that school should not identify their
task in the language section of the curriculum as teaching standard forms to
childen who do not use them. Rather, they suggest, the teachers task is to provide
children with the means to challenge the attitudes which discriminate againts their
speech forms.Since there is no linguistic basis for these negative attitudes, it is
argued tht schools should empower children and give them the confidence to
assert the validity of their language and the skills needed to expose the
insubstantial nature of the criticism made of vernacular form.
On the other hand, others argue that the standard dialect is necessary for
social advencement and for communicating effectively with a wider audience, at

least in writing.moreover it is essential to use standard forms in orderto be taken

serioisly in many social contexts,spoken, and writen .
Where do you stand in this debate?
5) The boys experience of story telling stands them in good stead in white middleclass school. They respond to resquest to the teacher about an axperience with a
topic focused narrative which is accepted as a story. The teacher accepts their
stories and helps develop them.
The girls have not had this kind of experience, however, and their stories tend to
resemble childrens respnss to analogy questions in their community. They draw
paralles between events which have no obvious connection and expect the listener
to draw out the links.But schools value explicitness, and the girls allusive
accounts of their experience often make no sense to white middle-class
teachers.The teachers think the girls are incapable of sticking to the point and
constructing a coherent story. By identifying these differences in the background
experience of the children, the sosiolinguist was able to account for the
differences in their perfomances in school, and recommend ways of helping the
wroking class African American girls develop narrative skills.