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Author(s): DELL HYMES

Source: Social Research, Vol. 34, No. 4 (WINTER 1967), pp. 632-647
Published by: The New School
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an areaofresearch, one whoseprob-
lemscanbe studiedbymembers ofa variety
theless, term does
sociolinguistics pose the specialquestionof
therelationbetweenlinguistics and sociology.It is to thisques-
tionthatthispaperis addressed.
Mytitleis adaptedfromSapir(1938),as aresomeofmywords.
A generation ago Sapirsawin anotherdisciplinea reference point
fromwhichto highlight certainlimitationsof culturalanthro-
pology.He wishedto transcend a modeofanalysisthatabstracted
fromvariation and persons.Todaysociology is a reference point
fromwhichone can highlight certainlimitations of linguistics,
if one wishesto transcendagaina modeof analysisthatfailsin
"takingaccountofhumanbeings"(Sapir1938:575). Sapirchose
an examplefroman earlierscholar(Dorsey),thatof theOmaha
Indian,Two Crows;I havefollowedhim in usinga similarex-
ample,thatoftheMenomini, White-Thunder.

Untilrecently and sociology
linguistics seemedmilesapartin
theUnitedStates.Structural wasconceivedas a disci-
i Presented at session 67, "Sociolinguistics," 61st annual meeting, American
Sociological Association, Miami Beach, Florida, September 1, 1966. I am indebted
to ProfessorEverett Hughes for inviting me to participate, and to Murray Wax
and Michael Micklin for their discussion.
2 The firsttwo papers of the session (see n. 1), tor example, are Dy an antnro-
pologist and a psychologist. For a general discussion of such hybrid terms, see
Hymes (1966a).

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piine which concerned itselflittle, if at all, with society. Its
provincewas ratherto analyze those aspectsof language which
belongedto the realm of formas such. There was littleneed to
ask questions which demanded a more intimateknowledgeof
users of a language,speech acts, and speech communities,than
could be assumedon the basis of commonexperienceor common
assumption.The whole temperof linguisticswas impersonaland
formalto a degree. In the earlierperiod of the Americanscience
it seemedindeedalmostintellectuallyindecent,or wrongin prin-
ciple, to obtrude observationsthat smackedof heterogeneity in
descriptiveresult,throughappeal to the usersand uses of a lan-
guage. The assumptionwas that in some way not in the least
clearlydefinedas to method it was possible for the linguistto
arrive at conclusive statementswhich would hold for a given
"language" and its entirecommunityas such. One was rarelyin
a positionto say whethersuch an inclusiveanalysisreflectedin
facta particularinformant, perhapsa particulartypeof context,
topic, style, or was a carefullytestedgeneralizationfromstudy
of a fullrangeof usersand occasionsof use.
Perhaps it is just as well that no strictquestioningof such a
methodarose. It mightthen (as it mightnow) discouragethe
invaluable work of rescuingwhat one can of the structuresof
obsolescentlanguages from one or a handful of survivors. It
mighthave impeded the developmentof the methodsof formal
analysiswhich are indispensableto any studydealing with lin-
guistic structure,whateverits social referent.Perhaps, indeed,
the entirecomplexof assumptionscharacteristic of the formative
period of Americanstructurallinguisticswas necessaryto its suc-
cess. By isolatinglinguisticformas an object of study;by im-
plicitly picturinga simple relation of one language uniform
throughouta singlecommunityas the basis fortheoryas to struc-
tureand function;by restricting attentionto the referential
tion upon which linguisticformin the usual sense is based; by
positingthe functionalequivalence and essentialequality of all
languages,one rejectedmistakenevolutionarystereotypes, guaran-

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teed the worthof the manyunwrittenand obsolescentlanguages
whosediversitywas capital forscientific advance,and made fora
distractedfromthe conquestof structure.(Here indeed is a first
use forsociologyin linguistics:thesociologyof knowledgeapplied
to the developmentof the professionand the ideological aspect
of its theoreticalassumptions.For some noteson the subject,see
Fromsuch a standpoint,whatwould one make of Bloomfield's
early sketchesof individual differencesin competenceamong
Menomini Indians in Wisconsin? Consider in particular the
sketchof White-Thunder(Bloomfield1928: 395):
"White-Thunder,a man around forty,speaksless English than
Menomini,and that is a strongindictment,forhis Menomini is
atrocious. His vocabulary is small; his inflectionsare often
barbarous; he constructssentencesof a few threadbaremodels.
He maybe said to speakno languagetolerably."
Probablythecase would be setaside as a perhapsinteresting but
isolatedobservation;such cases were in factnever taken up as a
This is not the place to introduceanythinglike a complete
analysisof the meaning of such cases. The only thing that we
need to be clear about is whetheran approachto languagewhich
implicitlyassumesthe irrelevanceof sucha case is in the long run
trulypossible. There has been so muchemphasison theautonomy
of linguisticform,and, recently,on the image of the nativeabili-
tiesofa childwhogainsforitselfa fluentknowledgeofitslanguage
almostspontaneously, thatwe shouldnot blink thisproblem.
Let us considerWhite-Thunderfirst as an individualcase. Some
evidence of personalitydifficultyor unusual personal history,
such as having survivedin quasi-feralcircumstancesas a child,
mightbe invoked. One would then be regardingthe case as
analogous to that of someone mute or deaf, whose linguistic
abilities had been affectedby the fact. There might even be
evidenceof a comprehensionof the language,an intuitiveknow-

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ledge of it, thatsurpassesthe poor performance whichWhite-
Thunderdisplaysin speaking.All suchconsiderations have the
effectoftakingthequalities of White-Thunder's use of Menomini
as accidental,so faras thelanguageitselfis concerned.Obviously
one wouldnotchooseWhite-Thunder as an informant, if at all
possible;buthislimitations, howeverunfortunate, are a personal
misfortune; theysaynothing aboutthelanguagecalledMenomini.
Bloomfield goes on to say of White-Thunder, however,that
"His caseis notuncommon amongyounger men,evenwhenthey
In effect,then,White-Thunder's case could becomethatof a
generation, a generation thatmightgo on to becomethe sole
usersofMenomini.Whatwouldit meanfora laterinvestigator
toreport"Menominiis a languageno one speakstolerably' ? Or,
since theremightbe leftno internalstandard comparison,
simplythatMenominiis a languageof smallvocabulary and of
sentences constructed ofa fewthreadbare models?
Sucha possibility goesagainst grainofthecommonassump-
tionsofAmericanlinguists thatlanguagesare immuneto inade-
quacy, that their historicalevolutionsdo not affect the essential
equalityand functionalequivalenceof all languagesin their
communities; yetthepossibility cannotbe dismissed.Indeed,it
is likelyto be thecommoncaseofthefirst generationor moreof
usersof a newlycreolizing pidgin;and a Peruviansociologist is
now investigating Indianswho,so to speak,give up Quechua
beforetheylearnSpanish(personalcommunication fromJohn
White-Thunder forcesus to face the factthatforboth the
individualand thecommunity, a languagein somesenseis what
thosewhohaveit can do withit- whattheyhavemadeofit,and
do makeof it; and thatin consequence, notabledifferences in
facility adequacymay be encountered thatare not accidental,
butintegral to thelanguageas it existsforthosein question.In
short,onemustsharply distinguishbetweenthepotentialinfinite-
ness and equivalenceof languagesas formaldevicesand the

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degree of finitenessand inequality,actual and existential,that
characterizes themamong theirusersin the real world.
To say this is not to reduce the actualityof White-Thunder's
Menomini to a mere list of what he may have been observed
actuallyto say. No doubt his linguisticcompetencewas deeper
thanany particularset of sentenceshe had uttered;no doubt his
vocabularyand sentencemodelsallowed him to say novel things,
and were capable of manysentencesthat may be consideredto
have been unattestedonly accidentally. This sortof opennessis
universalfornormaluse of language. There is howeveran open-
ness, an infinitepotentialityof larger size, so to speak, that
comprisesnovel thingsthata Menominiof White-Thunder'stype
could not have said, even though the formal mechanism of
Menomini might have been brought to express them. Their
absence froma corpuswould then be a matter,not of accident,
but ofinability.There is a fundamentaldifference, in otherwords,
betweenwhat is not said because thereis no occasion to say it,
and whatis not said because one has not foundand does not find
a wayto sayit. For thelanguageto be used to saysuch things,the
There is thusno inherentimpossibility in an entirecommunity
forwhoma language,or languageas such,is an instrument inade-
quate or restrictedin respectto communicativeneeds. In cases
such as thatof White-Thunder'sgenerationwaysof sayingthings
have been lost. The changesin capacity,however,need not at
all be in sucha direction.The historyofmanylanguagesin recent
centuriesor generationsis one of change in respectsthat have
markedlyenhancedthecapacityof thelanguagesand of groupsof
theirusers. Notice also that drasticsocial change need not be
involved. Bloomfieldrefersthe case of White-Thunder'sgenera-
tion to acculturation,suggestingthat"perhapsit is due, in some
indirectway, to the impactof the conqueringlanguage." It is
entirelypossible,however,that in the ordinarycourse of their
historycommunities will come to differin thedegreeand direction

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in which theydevelop their linguisticmeans, and in the place
assignedsuchmeansin theircommunicative life.
In sum,thecompetenciesof usersof a language,and thustheir
languageitself,maychange,even thoughthe differences maynot
appear in the structureof the language withinthe limitsof the
usual description. The same formallinguisticsystem,as usually
described,may be part of different,let us say, sodolinguistic
systems,whose naturescannot be assumed,but must be investi-

What would one have needed to knowabout White-Thunder's
generationin orderto describethe sociolinguisticsystemof which
it was part,in orderto explain the processby which the change
of systemcame about? Bloomfield'ssketches(pp. 394-396) give
us someclues. One mustobviouslybegin,notwiththe Menomini
language,but with the speech communitywhich comprisesit,
English,and occasionallyotherlanguages. Social positionsmust
be specified,
fortheMenomini,likeothercommunities, pervasively
evaluatepronunciations, lexiconand grammar,and thejudgments
of "good" and "bad" are dependent (according to Bloomfield)
ultimatelyon which persons are taken as models of conduct,
includingspeech. Types of use mustbe specified,forBird-Hawk
(who spoke only Menomini,possiblyalso a littleOjibwa) "spoke
with bad syntaxand meagre,often inept vocabulary,yet with
occasionalarchaisms,"once he departedfromordinaryconversa-
tion. Stylesof speech- over-elegant,
archaic,emphaticor rhetori-
cal, can be distinguished. One can guess that Menomini was
perhaps being compartmentalized to certaindomains of use, as
has been the case with the survivingIndian languages of the
Such observationsare incidentalin Bloomfield'saccount. An
adequate understandingof the nature and changes of socio-
linguisticsystemsmusthave a systematic basis. The usual theory

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of language and linguisticshas not providedsuch a basis. The
practice,method,and conceptualizationneeded are beginning
now to accumulatein the workof a small numberof sociologists,
psychologists,and linguists(e.g.,Bernstein,Ervin-Tripp,Ferguson,
Fishman,Goffman,Gumperz,Halliday, Labov, Lambert,Sacks,
Stewart). Withoutelaboratingupon the details of thiswork,let
me indicatesomethingof the necessarynatureof the sociological
contribution. I want to stressthattheremustdevelop a partially
independentbodyof methodand theory - what mightbe termed
(adaptingthe titleof a recentcontributionto linguisticsproper),
an integratedtheoryof sociolinguisticdescription.Let me tryto
indicatewhysomethingless will not suffice.
First,theadditionof languageas one moresociologicalvariable
would not be enough. A linguisticvariable may indeed prove a
usefulindicator,say,of social class; but on thisapproach,nothing
has changedfromthe standpointof the interestsand definitions
of problemsof sociology. Should other variables prove better
indicatorsin a givencase, linguisticvariables,reasonablyenough,
fall by the wayside. A trulysociolinguisticapproach,however,
is interestedin the relationof linguisticvariablesto group mem-
bershipforitsown sake. If linguisticvariablesare not significant
indicatorsof group membershipin a given case, sociolinguistic
theorywill be interestedpreciselybecause such a case may help
disclose the circumstances in which featuresof language do and
do not so function.Negativecases count.
There is a complementary point to be made on the linguistic
side. Social variableshave played a sporadic role in descriptive
linguistics,inasmuchas theyhave sometimesobtrudedthemselves
in the core of grammar,e.g., respectforms(honorifics)in Korean
and Japanese. When not obtrusive,such variablesand functions
have not been soughtout. Presumably,however,respectrelation-
ships are universal to human society;perhaps they are always
expressedat least partiallyin speech. A sociolinguisticapproach
will need to knowhow and when verbalmeansenterinto respect
relationshipsin all typesof society,so as to gain comparative

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controlover the dependence between the two. Obtrusivecases
such as the Japaneseshould come to be treatedwithina general
theory.(For exploratoryworkin thisdirection,see Tyler, 1965).
Second,a grosslycorrelationalapproachwill leave much of the
heartof the subject obscure. To be sure, much can be learned
fromthe factsof the distributionof languagesand sub-codeswith
respectto othervariables,and at all levels,fromworldand nation-
state to village and family. Ultimatelyco-variationof related
featureswill be a principaltestof theories. It remainsthat lan-
guage,as Malinowskiput it, is a mode of action,even if linguists
and sociologistshaveseldomdescribedit as such; and in the study
of language as a mode of action, variationis a clue and a key,
but it is not just variationthatis in question. To thinkso would
be to concede the assumptionthat structureis to be found only
in linguisticform.Two kindsof structureare in factin question;
the traditionalstructurallinguisticview sees structurein the
speechcommunityas what Wallace (1961: 26-27 and passim) has
termed"replicationof uniformity"; sees structure
in the speechcommunityas what Wallace has termed"organiza-
tion of diversity."The most novel and difficult contributionof
sociolinguisticdescriptionmustbe to identifythe rules,patterns,
purposes,and consequencesof language use, and to account for
theirinterrelations.In doing so descriptivesociolinguisticswill
not only discoverstructuralrelationsamong sociolinguisticcom-
ponents,but disclose new relationshipsamong featuresof the
linguisticcode itself.
The heartof what one is afterin descriptivesociolinguisticsis
perhapsclearestfromthe standpointof the socializationof the
child. Linguistic theorytreatsof competencein termsof the
child's acquisition of the ability to produce, understand,and
discriminateany and all of the grammaticalsentencesof a lan-
guage. A child fromwhom any and all of the grammaticalsen-
tencesof a languagemightcome with equal likelihoodwould be
of coursea social monster.Within the social matrixin which it
acquires a systemof grammara child acquires also a systemof

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its use, regardingpersons,places, purposes,othermodes of com-
munication,etc.- all the componentsof communicativeevents,
togetherwith attitudesand beliefsregardingthem. There also
develop patternsof the sequential use of language in conversa-
tion,address,standardroutines,and the like. In such acquisition
residesthe child's sodolinguisticcompetence(or, more broadly,
communicativecompetence),its ability to participatein its so-
cietyas not only a speaking,but also a communicatingmember.
What childrenso acquire an integratedtheoryof sociolinguistic
descriptionmustbe able to describe.
Third, it will not do to begin with language, or a standard
linguisticdescription,and look outwardto social context. A cru-
cial characteristic of the sociolinguisticapproach is that it looks
in towardlanguage,as it were,fromits social matrix. To begin
with language,or an individualcode, is to invitethe limitations
of the purelycorrelationalapproach,and to miss much of the
organizationof linguisticphenomena. Functionsand contextsof
use join togetherwhat structuraldescriptionby itselfmay leave
asunder,as has been suggested. The workingassumptionsof a
thoroughgoing sociolinguisticapproach must in factbe three:
(a) a social relationshipentailstheselectionand/orthedevising
of communicativemeansconsideredappropriateand perhapsspe-
cificto it;
(b) the communicativemeans will thus be organizedin ways
not perhapsdisclosed apart fromthe social relationship;
(c) the communicativemeans available in the relationship
conditionits natureand outcome.
It should be clear thata mechanicalamalgamationof standard
linguisticsand standardsociologyis not likelyto suffice.Studies
of groupsusuallytreatspeechas a medium throughwhich to get
at otherthings;as we have seen, grammarsusually abstractfrom
social variables. Neither normallyattendsto the patterningof
speaking as an activityin its own right. Adding a speechless
sociologyto a sociology-free linguisticscan yield littlebetterthan
post-hocattempts at correlationbetween accounts from which

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theheartof therelevantdata will be missing.Usefulinferences
and insightsmaysometimes be obtained,but descriptive studies,
couchedin termsthatintegrate into
linguistic social variables
fromthestart,are theonlybasison whichit will be possibleto
progress.(Somesuchstudiesare alreadyavailable,as in thework
of Blom and Gumperz,Bernstein,Labov and others. Labov
(1965),forexample,has shownhowsuchan integrated approach
withregardto soundchangeand social
is possibleand necessary
dialectin New YorkCity;thepaperis of specialimportance for
a sociolinguistic
approachto linguistic

The need forsociolinguistic descriptions mayappearobvious
and important to a sociological audience.Suchis notyetwidely
thecasein linguistics. A decadeago Americanlinguists, satisfied
generally withtheavailabletheoryfordescription of language,
beganto turnattention freshly to the use of linguisticsin the
of A
study society. thoroughgoing critique of that theoretical
basishasresulted in a newand ambiguoussituation.Whilesome
linguistsare at workon sociologicalproblems,the issuesthat
dominatelinguistic discussion are almostwhollythoseofdescrip-
tivetheory.And the tendency to separatelinguisticformfrom
socialcontexthas receivedrenewedimpetusfromthe insistence
bytheleadingtheorist ofthepresent day(Chomsky 1965:3):
"Linguistictheory is concerned primarily withan ideal,speaker-
listenerin a completely homogeneous speech-community, who
knowsits languageperfectly, and is unaffected by such gram-
matically irrelevantconditions as memory limitations,distractions,
shiftsofattention and interest, and errors(randomor character-
istic)in applyinghis knowledgeof the languagein actual per-
The goal of explanation in linguisticsis setas universalprop-
ertiesofthehumanmind;thepresentinterest and relevanceofa
sociolinguistic is
perspective rejected.

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There is underway,however,a long-termshiftof emphasisin
American linguistics,such that the appearance of withdrawal
fromsociologicalinvolvementmay prove partial and temporary.
The shiftcan be looselyphrasedas one fromfocuson structure
to focuson function - fromfocuson linguisticformin isolation
to focuson linguisticformin human context.
The patternof the shiftcan be shownin termsof two four-fold
tables. One dimensiondistinguishesdescriptionof a single case
fromcomparative, perspective.The otherdimen-
or cross-cultural,
sion distinguishesthe structureof languagefromits functions,or
use. Much of whathas been discussedcan be seen as summarized
here,and commentcan be brief.

Descriptive Comparative
Structure Invariance Variation
Use (Function) Variation Invariance

Descriptive Comparative
Structure Variation Invariance
Use (Function) Invariance Variation

Source of Tables I and II: Hymes, "Why Linguistics Needs the Sociologist,"
American Sociological Association, 61st annual meeting, Miami, Fla., Session 67,
Sept. 1, 1966.

Table I showsa distributionof emphasescharacteristic of struc-

tural linguisticsas it developed during the and
emergedinto greaterprominenceafterthe Second World War.
With regardto descriptionof a singlelanguage,the point was to
find the invariance,the homogeneous structure. As between
languages,the expectationwas to finddiversity,or variationof
structure- in some eyes,the greater,the better. The use of lan-
guage (speech) was not much attended to and commonlyseen
as a realmof variation,a sortof groundof the figureof invariant

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form. Viewed comparatively,languages were regardedas func-
tionallyequivalent,and the functionsof language mentionedin
A shiftof emphasis,or a new patternof emphasis,has shown
itselffirstwith regard to linguisticstructure.As between lan-
guages,a renewedinterestin typologyand in universaishas made
the emphasis there one of findinginvariance. The context is
primarilya psychologicalone. With regard to descriptionof a
singlecase, focuson invariancecontinues,but attentionto com-
plex communitieshas establishedinterestin social dialect,speech
so thatone findsa growingemphasis
levels,and thelikesufficiently
upon specifyingvarietieswithin a communityand accounting
For the use and functionof language,the contextis primarily
sociological.The implicationof the two tablesis thatwithregard
to descriptionof a single case there should be concern to find
invariance (a sociolinguisticsystem);and, as between cases, a
concernto findvariation,or diversity, of use and function.Such
emphasisis indeed emerging.
The generalcharacterof the differences betweenthe two pat-
ternsof emphasis,and again, of much of the presentdiscussion,
can be summedup in another,more discursiveway,as shownin
Table III. The labels "structural"linguisticsand "functional"
linguisticsare appropriatein the sense that linguistscommonly
speak of linguisticformas structure, and of functionof language
as a question of use; but structuralanalysisof course involves
questionsof functionalrelevancewithinthe linguisticsystem,and
functionalanalysisdisclosesstructuresof use, so that there are
in factboth structuraland functionalaspectsof each. Thus, the
necessityof the quotation marks.

The componentsof "functional"linguistics,like the compo-
nents of sociolinguisticdescription(e.g., such as mentionedfor

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Comparison of Emphases in "Structural" and "Functional" Linguistics

"Structural" "Functional"

(1) Structure of language (code) (1) Structureof speech (speech act)

(2) Single homogeneous code, single (2) Speech communityas matrix of mul-
homogeneous community tiplicity of internally varied codes
("organization of diversity")
(3) Referential function- fully semanti- (3) Gamut of functions (expressive,
cized instances of use as norm poetic, emphatic, etc.)
(4) Use merely implements, perhaps (4) Organization of use discloses addi-
limits, or may correlate with what tional structuralrelations among ele-
is analyzed as code: analysis of code ments of code; comprisespossibilities
precedes analysis of use. excluded by analysis of code in
abstractionfromuse; shows code and
use in integral (dialectical) relation.
(5) Functional (adaptive) equivalence of (5) Functional (adaptive) differentiation
languages of languages
(6) Essential (potential) equality of all (6) Existential (actual) inequality of
languages languages
In sum:
(7) Concepts of speech community, (7) Concepts of speech community,
speech act, fluent native speaker, speech act, fluent native speaker,
functionsof speech and of languages, functionsof speech and of languages,
taken for granted, or arbitrarily taken as problematic and to be in-
postulated, vestigated.
Source: See Tables I and II.

the Menomini- community,values, role-models,typesand occa-

sions of interaction,and social change) are patentlysociological
in nature. Yet theymightbe taken as anthropological,or social
psychologicalas well. With regard to the former,indeed, one
mightrelyupon ethnographers and the long traditionof linguis-
tic work in anthropologyfor the successof the new patternof
emphasis. Why singleout sociology?The answeris in part that
needs all the participationit can get; but in part
theansweris thatthenatureof the worldin whichsociolinguistic
descriptionwill be done pointsincreasinglytowarda major role
forsociologists,if theywish to take it. The specificationof the
social relationshipsthat provide the matrix for sociolinguistic
descriptionis increasinglya matter,not only of roles,but of role

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conflict;of stratification;ethnicity;sampling; co-variation;in
sum,of a kind of descriptivework,which,if ethnographic, allows
no clear distinctionbetween social anthropologyand sociology
as its context. The workis increasingly a matterof ethnography
of settings,situations,events,roles,groups,in complex societies
of the sort typicallystudied by sociologists.And not only does
one findAmericansociologiststurningto work in othersocieties
thatis likelyto involvethemin linguisticexperienceof the sort
thatmaylead to sociolinguistics;one also findsthat the concepts
necessaryto a comparativeand evolutionaryperspectivein socio-
linguisticsare developedas much,if not more,in the sociological
Descriptivesociolinguisticsin the modernworld is inseparable
fromencounterwithsocial change. Indeed, fora systematicthe-
ory to emerge,manyphenomenanow treatedas diversetypes -
pidginization,standardization, constructionof artificiallanguages,
vernaculareducation- must be seen as interrelatedwithin the
historyof European expansion and the emergenceof a world
history.The linguisticacculturationof the Menomini and the
decline of the Englishdialectsare twinfacetsof the same process,
which has as other facetsthe growthof new dialects of English
in India and the Caribbean, no matterhow separate the study
of each of thesehas been hitherto.And it is in the sociological
traditionthat one findsthe major precedentfor the scientific
studyof European social history,and for the comparativestudy
of the relevantinstitutions.
It may be said of sociology,as of each of the social science
disciplines,that various of its assumptionsand claims are chal-
lenged by the phenomena of sociolinguistics,and that its own
mandaterequiresit to take themup. As a problemarea, socio-
linguisticsis not likelyto become the possessionof any one disci-
pline, and it may indeed be the case that it will emerge as a
genericallysocial-sciencemode of linguisticdescriptionand ex-
planation,withoutrespectto individual disciplines (cf. Hymes

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1966a: 151-153). If sociologyis not an exclusive partnerwith
linguisticsin the enterprise,however,it still is an indispensable
As a finalnote, one attractionof sociolinguisticsmay be this:
There are threewaysof seekingunityin the phenomenaof lan-
guage. One has been to seek a unityof originin the past. A sec-
ond has been to seek a unityof underlyingstructure,a timeless
or continuingorigin,so to speak, in the present. A thirdway,
one peculiarlyopen to the sociolinguisticapproach,is to seek a
unityin the future - to see the processesof sociolinguisticchange
thatenvelop our objectsof studyas underlainby the emergence
of a worldsociety. It is the sociolinguisticperspectivethatnatu-
rallyand inevitablyconsidersman,not onlyas whathe has been,
and is, but also as whathe is becoming.


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New York: Harper and Row, 1964, pp. 391-396.
Chomsky, Noam, 1965, Aspects of the Theory of Syntax, Cambridge: Massachu-
settsInstituteof Technology.
Hymes, Dell, 1966a, "Anthropological Linguistics and Congeners," American An-
thropologist,68: pp. 143-153.
, 1966b, "Linguistic Method of Ethnography,"to appear in Paul L. Garvn,
ed., The Place of Method in Linguistics, Bloomington: Indiana UniversityPress.
, 1966c, "Sociolinguistic Determination of Knowledge: Notes on the History

s On sociology as a necessarypartner in semantic analysis, see Mair (1935), where

examples of lack of sociological analysis are dissected. The two major trends in
the study of language within the social sciences today concern semantic structures
and structuresof language use, and these two trends come together in problems
of survey research and of analysis of interaction. The survey researcher and the
student of interaction face questions of both referentialand social meaning, in
choices of words and in choices of language, dialect, variety or sub-code. Descrip-
tive sociolinguistics thus serves the interests of all social scientists engaged in
comparative, or cross-cultural,research. This theme is developed extensively in
my paper, "Linguistic Aspects of Comparative Political Research," to appear in a
volume edited by Robert Holt. (See Lucy Mair, 1935, "Linguistics Without Sociol-
ogy: Some Notes on the Standard Luganda Dictionary," Bulletin of the School of
Oriental Studies, London).

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of its Treatment in American Anthropology." Prepared for research. Committee
on the Sociology of Knowledge, International Sociological Association.
Labov, William, 1965, On the Mechanism of Linguistic Change, Georgetown Uni-
versityMonograph 18: pp. 91-114. Washington, D.C.
Sapir, Edward, 1938, "Why Cultural Anthropology Needs the Psychiatrist,"Psy-
chiatry 1: pp. 7-12. Reprinted in D. G. Mandelbaum, ed., Selected Writingsof
Edward Sapir, Berkeley and Los Angeles: Universityof California Press, 1949,
PP. 569-577.
Tyler, Stephen A., 1965, "Koya Language Morphology and Patterns of Kinship
Behavior," American Anthropologist67: pp. 1428-1440.
Wallace, AnthonyF. C, 1961, Culture and Personality,New York: Random House.

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