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Lang- Social groups

Theories, theorists, studies and definitions for Language and Social groups

How do you define a persons social class? Their occupation, education and income
What did Labov conduct an experiment on (in the US)? In 1966, William Labov conducted an experiment in New York department stores, Saks Fifth Avenue (a prestigious store) Macy's (a mid range store) and S. Klein (the lowest ranked store). Labov investigated the use of post-vocalic "r".
How did Labov conduct his experiment? Labov would make a request for the whereabouts of an item that he knew to be on the fourth floor of the department store, and then repeated the request.
What did Labov conclude in his experiment? Employees from more prestigious stores would use the "r" more often. Therefore the higher the social class of the speaker, the more likely they would pronounce the post-vocalic "r".
What did Peter Trudgill conduct an experiment on? In 1974, Peter Trudgill investigated the relationship between social class and linguistic features between working and middle class speakers in Norwich. Particularly g dropping in "ing" words.
What did Trudgill conclude in his experiment? Respondents lower down the social scale were more likely to drop their "g" in their pronunciation saying (fishin' and singin'). Trudgill also found that the more formal the situation the more "-ing" was pronounced among all social classes.
What two codes did Basil Bernstein distinguish in his writings? Elaborated and Restricted code
What is elaborated code? Elaborated- There are more logical connectives such as "if" and "unless", word order is more structured, and it's used to convey facts and abstract ideas. It's generally associated with formal situations. It's more explicit.
What is restricted code? Restricted- A more simpler way of communication with a looser word order. It's used to convey attitudes and feelings and is often associated with informal situations. It's more implicit.
What did writers assume Bernstein meant about the use of the two codes? Middle class children generally used elaborated code whilst working class children only have restricted code.
How did Bernstein modify this? He argued that the difference between the use of the codes in different social classes meant working class children had more difficulty using elaborated code in school. However all children can understand both codes when spoken to them.
Problems with Bernstein? - His research is outdated - "Restricted" and "Elaborated" implied deficiency - His research was carried out in university departments
What did Lesley Milroy conduct an experiment on? In the 1980s, Lesley Milroy investigated speech in Belfast. Particularly the relationship between social networks and use of non-standard pronunciation. She gathered data from two Protestant (Bally Macarett) and one Catholioc (Clonard) group.
How did Milroy conduct her experiment? She assessed individuals in each community and rated their network strength from 1 to 5. Five representing close and strong ties. She then tested the use of linguistic variables such as "th" sound in "mother" and "a" sound in "hat".
What did Milroy conclude in her experiment? high Network strength score correlated with the use of non-standard pronunciation. Men were more commonly associated with closed networks while women were often part of less dense open networks.
Define multiplexity Having more then one relation with the same person.
What is a closed network? When your personal contacts know each other. In an open network the people you know do not know each other.
What did Jennifer Cheshire conduct an experiment on? In the 1980s Cheshire studied grammatical variation in Reading. She focused on two teenage groups with different social attitudes and values. Group A included girls who disapproved of swearing and fighting. Group B approved of these things.
What did Cheshire conclude in her experiment? Both groups used non-standard language. However your social attitudes and your peer group culture influences your speech style. Group B who approved of swearing and fighting used more non standard forms than Group A.
What did Penelope Eckert conduct an experiment on? In 2000 Eckert investigated the social practices of American high-school students. The "jocks" who participated in school enthusiastically in contrast to the "Burnouts" who were actively rebellious and refused participation.
What were Eckert's findings in her experiment? (1) The burnouts used exaggerated pronunciation associated with the urban accent of their Detroit neighbourhood. The jocks on the other hand were more concerned with speaking in a socially prestigious way to reflect their middle class background.
What were Eckert's findings in her experiment? (2) The jocks were critical of the burnouts ungrammatical language, frequent swearing and for not being articulate. The burnouts criticised the jocks for talking just like their parents.
What did Eckert conclude from her findings? People who share the same practices and values as others tended to converge in their speech.
Define Slang Informal, non standard words and expressions.
Features of Slang Ephemeral, inventive/creative, and refer to vocabulary rather than grammar.
Purposes of Slang - To identify as part of a social group or sub-culture (drug dealers) - Occupational groups (doctors) - Exclude outsiders, Be secretive ( teenagers from adults) - Be rebellious or entertaining - Be new, fashionable, and, up to date
Slang is specific to social and regional groups Slang can vary dependent on region e.g. Cockney rhyming slang butcher's hook (look) dog and bone (phone) Slang reflects multiculturalism with different terms deriving from different cultures e.g. tucker (Australian for food)
Slang is specific to social and regional groups (2) All social classes use slang e.g. Eton slang - beak (teachers) The media influences slang e.g. British youth culture has been influenced by African American slang.
Context of Slang Who you're with may impact your usage of slang e.g. difference using slang between friends and grandparents Time and place affects the use of slang. In a formal context e.g. business meeting you are unlikely to use much slang
Slang is used in writing Amount and type of slang used will depend upon the audience and purpose of the text. A text message would contain more slang than a broadsheet newspaper about Brexit
Attitudes to slang Slang is sometimes disapproved by prescriptivists because it is seen as "improper". Some slang is viewed as politically incorrect Descriptivists argue slang is rebellious and it's non conformist edge is the source of its vitality
What did Paul Baker conduct a study on? Baker focused on the language variety Polari. He studied the lexicons and it's derivation but also the usage of the language and why it died out.
What is Polari? Polari is a form of slang, predominantly used and developed by gay men and center round London, travelling out into the British Merchant Navy and the theater scene. It shares properties of an anti- language.
Define Anti-language An Anti language is language created and used by an anti-society. An anti society is a small, separate community intentionally created within a larger society as an alternative to or resistance to it. Michael Halliday invented the term.
Why did Polari die out? The decriminalization of homosexuality in 1967 may have been the primary factor in the decrease of it's use
Created by: Haribro
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