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An Introduction to Sociolinguistics (Janet Holmes) Chapter One: What do sociolinguists study? - Sociolinguistics: a term that refers to the study of the relationship between language and society, and how language is used in multilingual speech communities. Q what aspects of language are Sociolinguists interested in? Sociolinguists are interested in explaining why people speak differently in different social contexts. And the effect of social factors such as (soc
  An Introduction to Sociolinguistics (Janet Holmes)Chapter One: What do sociolinguists study?-Sociolinguistics :a term thatrefers to the study of the relationship betweenlanguage and society, and how language is used in multilingual speechcommunities. Qwhat aspects of language are Sociolinguists interested in? Sociolinguistsare interested in explaining why people speak differently indifferent social contexts. And the effect of social factors such as (socialdistance, social status, age, gender, class) on language varieties (dialects,registers, genres, etc),andthey areconcerned with identifying the socialfunctions of languageand the waythey areused to convey social meanings. Qwhat do sociolinguists mean by the term variety? A variety is a set of linguistic forms used under specific social circumstances,with a distinctive social distribution.*Formalityincreases between participants ( speaker and hearer  ) whenthesocial distance is greater.Informality(Solidarity) increases whenthe socialdistance is little between participants ( speaker and hearer  ).*Social statusdepends on a number of factors such as social rank, wealth, age,gender and so on; therefore the person with the higher social status has thechoice of using formality or informality (solidarity) when addressing otherpersons of lower social status. But the person with the lower social status usesonly formality when addressing a person of higher social status.  Chapter Two: Multilingual speech communities-Domains :domains of language use, a term popularised by an Americansociolinguist, Joshua Fishman. A domainof languageinvolves typicalinteractions between typical participants in typical settingsabout atypicaltopic.Examples of these domains are family, friendship, religion, education andemployment. -Setting : the physical situation or the typicalplace wherespeechinteractionsoccur(code choice), settings such as home, church, mosque, school, office, etc. -Diglossia : communitiesratherin whichtwo languages or language varietiesare used with one being a high variety for formal situations and prestige, and alow variety for informal situations (everyday conversation).Diglossia has threecrucialfeatures;two distinct varieties of the same language are usedin thecommunity, with one regarded as high (H) variety and the other as low (L)variety. Each variety is used for quite distinct functions; H & L complementeach other.No one uses the H variety in everyday conversation.  Example : the standard classical Arabic language is the high variety in Arabcountries, and it is used for writing and for formal functions, but vernacular(colloquial) Arabic is the low variety used for informal speech situations. -Polyglossia : basically polyglossia situations involve two contrasting varieties(high and low) but in general it refers to communities that regularly use morethan two languages. -Code-switching: it is to move from one code (language, dialect, or style) toanother during speech for a number of reasons such, to signal solidarity, toreflect one's ethnic identity, to show off, to hide some information from a thirdparty, to achieve better explanation of a certain concept, to converge or reducesocial distance with the hearer, to diverge or increasesocial distance or toimpress and persuade the audience (metaphorical code-switching) -Lexical borrowing :it results from the lack of vocabulary and it involvesborrowing single words  –  mainly nouns.When speakinga second language,people will often use a term from their first language because they don't knowthe appropriate word in their second language. They also my borrow wordsfrom another language to express a concept or describe an object for whichthere is no obvious word available in the language they are using. *Code switching involves a choice between the words of two languages orvarieties, but  Lexical borrowing is resulted from the lack of vocabulary.  ChapterThree:Language maintenance and shift-Language shift : it happenswhen the language of the wider society (majority)displaces the minority mother tongue language over time in migrantcommunities or in communities under military occupation.Therefore whenlanguage shift occurs, it shifts most of the time towards the languageof thedominant group, and the result could be the eradication of the local language QWhat factorsleadto language shift? Economic, social and political factor1-The dominant language isassociatedwithsocial status andprestige2-Obtainingwork is theobvious economic reasonfor learning another language3-The pressure ofinstitutional domainssuch as schools and the mediaDemographic factors1-Language shiftis faster in urban areas than rural2-The size of the group is some times a critical factor3-Intermarriagebetween groupscan acceleratelanguage shiftAttitudes and values1-Language shift is slower among communities where the minority language ishighly valued, therefore when the language is seen as an important symbol of ethnic identity its generally maintained longer, and visa versa. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Language death and Language loss: When all the people who speak a language die, the language dies with them. With the spread of a majority group language into more and more domains, thenumber of contexts in which individuals use the ethnic language diminishes.The language usually retreats till it is used only in the home, and finally it isrestricted to such personal activities as counting, praying and dreaming.  QHow can a minority language be maintained?1 -A language can be maintained and preserved, when it's highly valued as animportant symbol of ethnicidentity for the minority group. 2 -If families from a minority group live near each other and see eachotherfrequently, their interactions will help to maintain the language. 3 -For emigrate individuals from a minority group, the degree and frequency of contact with the homeland can contribute to language maintenance. 4 -Intermarriage within the same minority group is helpful to maintain thenative language. 5 -Ensuring that the minority group language is used at formal settings such asschools or worship places will increases language maintenance. 6 -An extended normal family in which parents, children and grandchildren livetogether and use the same minority language can help to maintain it. 7 -Institutional support from domains such as education, law, administration,religion and the media can make a difference between the success and failure of maintaining a minority group language. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… -Language revival: some times a community becomes aware that its languageis in danger of disappearing and takes steps to revitalises it. Example :In 1840, two thirds of the Welsh people spoke Welsh , but by 1980, only 20% of the population spoke Welsh , therefore the Welsh people began a revival processof  Welsh language by using a Welsh-language TV channel and bilingualeducation programs that used Welsh as medium of instruction at schools.
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