Varieties of Language
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In sociolinguistics a variety, also called a lect, is a specific form of a language or language cluster. This may include languages, dialects, accents, registers, styles or other sociolinguistic variation, as well as the standard variety itself. Variation at the level of the lexicon, such as slang and argot, is often considered in relation to particular styles or levels of formality (also called registers), but such uses are sometimes discussed as varieties themselves. Language Varieties Language variety refers to the various forms of language triggered by social factors. Language may changes from region to region, from one social class to another, from individual to individual, and from situation to situation. This actual changes result in the varieties of language. Varieties of English
VARIATION: Natural phenomenon Language is a form of social behavior and communities tend to split up into groups, each displaying differences of behavior Language manifests differences of behavior Language is the variety of speakers Speakers vary in their vocabulary and skills to use it Linguistic variables have both social and style variation, some only social, but none style variation only Varieties of English or Englishes
How many varieties of English can you think of? Can you name a few? What particular variety of English do YOU speak? What variety or varieties do you think should be considered “proper” and “correct”? Regional dialect not a distinct language a variety of a language spoken in a particular area of a country Some regional dialects have been given traditional names which mark them out as being significantly different from standard varieties spoken in the same place Sociolect the variety of language characteristic of a social background or status A dialect which evolves from regional speech may also have sociolectical implications Ex: standard Italian is a dialect in that it is particular to Tuscany; yet, being the national language of Italy, it is also a sociolect in that it carries a certain prestige from being the lingua franca throughout the country – both in broadcasting, in the press, and by people of high social status Not determiners of sociolects Ethnicity/race Family (too little) Region/Space (not based on social norms)
Occupation/Hobbies (only lexical differences, and it is the least stable) Age Social class Education Religion Gender Sociolect: A dialect or variety based purely on societal norms (race, social Idiolects and Sociolects Idiolect (idios Greek “self” lect “speech” as in lecture): speech characteristics and linguistic behaviour of individuals Sociolect: speech characteristics of members of social groups Registers and Styles A register (sometimes called a style) is a variety of language used in a particular social setting. Settings may be defined in terms of greater or lesser formality, or in terms of socially recognized events, such as baby talk, which is used in many western cultures when talking to small children, or a joking register used in teasing or playing the dozens.
Register term was originated by: Thomas Bertram Reid in 1956 Become common: in the 1960s introduced by a group of linguists who wanted to distinguish between variations in language according to the user and variations according to use, each speaker has a range of varieties and choices between them at different times (Halliday et al, 1964) focus is on the way language is used in particular situations Modify the definition of Register: A set of specialized vocabulary and preferred (or dispreferred) syntactic and rhetorical devices and structures, used by particular socioprofessional groups for special purposes. A register may have a set of derivational devices!
A register is a property or characteristic of a language, and not of an individual or a class of speakers. Registers Registers are varieties of language used in different situations, which are identified by the degrees of formality. Registers can vary from vocabulary, phonology, grammar to semantics. The register theory by Halliday Register is determined by 3 factors: field of discourse: what is being discussed mode of discourse: oral or written tenor of discourse: relation between participants The 3 variables determine the features of language fit with the situation. When fitted, the right register turns up. Style (variation as per the audience; also as per user, or situation, like it can be formal, cold, frozen, warm) Register (for Government, law, journalism, …). Variety associated with certain functions or professions. Think of the word “Area”… Collocation (use of same words in different collocation…)