Q1/Explain how the addressee shapes the speaker’s language.
Sociolinguistics is one of the most important fields in studying a language, it studies relationship between language and society. it clarifies the reason why everyone speak in a different way in different social contexts, and they are dealing with spotting the social effects of language and the ways it is used to deliver social meaning. It’s essential to be aware of the importance of society and language, since every society has different features and its effect on language may cause misunderstanding, so it’s essential to be aware of the social factors and its roles on the choice of language and its variate.
Language differs according to its uses, who uses it, according to where it is used. The addressees and the context affect our choice of code or variety, the language variates in terms of the styles, grammar, pronunciation, Vocabulary and dialects.
The addressee is the one who receives the information, i.e. the person who the speaker talks to. Solidarity between participants is an important factor contributing to choice of speech style. First let’s know what does style mean? It means the means /way we use to talk to the receiver ( The addressee) .
There are some social factors that affects the use of language while talking to addressee such as Statues relationship, purpose, Social Distance, Formality, Participants, Settings and Topic. everyone knows more than one variate of a same language, and its saved in their mind. Communicative repertoire: a tool kit of linguistic and communicative options. It’s different of linguistic codes that a person kept and uses them based on the setting. There are circumstances that one is required to know more than variation of the same language in order to communicate properly according to the context, here comes the role of Diglossia, which refers to situations when two separate codes exist in the speech community, and these two codes are kept separately in their functions.
Two different varieties of the same language are used in the community, one viewed as high (or H) variety and the other a low (or L) variety. Each variety is used for pretty different purposes; H and L balance each other. H variety is not used in everyday conversations, it is more based on rules, it has grammatical categories which L doesn’t have and have inflectional system of nouns and verbs which L is lacking or there is a few. H have lexicon technical terms and learned expressions which have no steady L equivalent .L includes favored expressions and the names of very ordinary objects.
To conclude, H stands for the formal variate of the language which isn’t used always and its strict and L stands for the other variate of language which is used more and its informal, used in home, café and friendly contexts.
The more you know the person you are talking to, the more informal and relaxed the speech style language is used. For example, when you talk to your friend and you want to ask about his place, you simply just say “Where were you?”, using an informal and casual language. While people more use formal and strict language when they talk to someone they don’t know, or they don’t know very well, here the role Social distance appears to be very important in choosing the proper variation, i.e. it gives a shape for the speaker’s language.
Another social factor that might affect the use of style is the age of addressee, People usually use a different style for talking to children and to adults. When talking or writing to a 5-year-old and to a 35-year-old, most people use simpler vocabulary and grammatical constructions with the 5-year-old addressee. Another factor that affects the style the speaker uses to speak to the addressee is the Setting, the setting of the conversation, if it’s a hospital, school, university or court, a formal language must be used and if the setting is a supermarket, home, café you don’t need to pay attention too much on the formality of the language.
Social role may also be significant and is often a factor contributing to status differences between people. Typical role relationships are teacher–student, doctor– patient, soldier–civilian, priest parishioner, official–citizen. The first-named role is often the more powerful, the dialogue between teacher-student, doctor-patient and etc. are always formal with full politeness.
Setting and the dimension of formality may also be noteworthy in selecting a appropriate variety or code. In church, at a formal ceremony, the proper variety will be different from that used afterwards in the church porch. The variety used for a formal radio lecture differs from that used for the adverts. Another important factor is the function or goal of the interaction. What is the language being used for? Is the speaker asking a favor or giving orders to someone? it’s clear that the style of the speech can change based on the purpose, for example if you need a favor or something, you use politer and arranged language for your goal, In Kurdish we have a proverb says “By sweet talk, you can take out the snake from the hole”.
Another important factor, is the age of addressee, it’s clear that when male talk to female probably, will use a beautiful, standard and formal language, for prestige and flirting maybe, its known for everyone that female speakers use standard language most of the time because of the prestige and personality, they show that they are high class people, therefore most of the time standard language is used when the addressee is female.
To conclude, some of the social factors of the addressee or the person you speak to affects the style, dialect, grammar and vocabulary you use to talk to the addressee, this is because you want to use the variate which is appropriate for the addressee, here the process of code choice takes place in the process of talking. Most of the time the reason behind code choosing from one variate to another is for the purpose of showing solidarity.
Q2/ Explain the functions of speech.
Speech communication plays different types of functions in everyone’s life and in society as a whole. A dialogue, a mixture of many every day interactions, joins mainly both:
• Affective (social) function
• Referential (affirmative) Function
There are a number of ways of classifying the functions of speech, as it follows :
1. Expressive words express the speaker’s feelings, e.g. I’m feeling hungry today.
2. Directive statements try to get someone to do something. (directing) e.g. close the door.
3. Referential expressions offer information, e.g. At the third stroke it will be three o’clock
4. Metalinguistic utterances comment on language itself, e.g. ‘Hegemony’ is not a common word.
5. Poetic utterances emphasis on aesthetic features of language, e.g. a poem, an ear-catching
motto, a rhyme, Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
6. Phatic utterances express solidarity and sympathy with others, e.g. Hi, how are you, lovely
day isn’t it!
Any terms of above terms may express more than one function, and any function may be expressed by a stretch of discourse which doesn’t exactly coincide with an utterance. The first three functions are recognized by many linguists, though the exact labels they are given may differ. They seem to be very important functions of language, perhaps because they derive from the basic components of any interaction – the speaker (expressive), the addressee (directive) and the message (referential). The phatic function is, however, equally important from a sociolinguistic perspective. Phatic communication delivers an affective or social message rather than a referential one. language is not used to convey only referential information, but also expresses information about social relationships. The categories guide analysis, but they are not mutually exclusive. A love poem, for instance, is both poetic and expressive. An advert, demonstrate, may be poetic, directive, amusing and possibly informative!
Other speech function categories have been identified, often arising from the certain interests of a scholar, or the focus of a particular study. Michael Halliday, for example, recognized a function of language concerned with learning, which he considered heuristic, and glossed as the ‘tell me why’ function. Directives are concerned with getting people to do things. The speech acts which express directive force differ in strength. We can try to get people to sit down, for instance, by suggesting or inviting them to do so, or by ordering or commanding them to sit down. Orders and commands are speech acts which are generally expressed in imperative form. Directing people to do something can be done in two ways, in polite way and in impolite way, Polite efforts to get people to do something in English tend to use interrogatives or declaratives while imperative for impolite way, for example, Go out! (imperative), Could you go out? ( interrogatives with modal verb ) and I want you to go out. (declarative).
Q3/ Discuss the ways in which language and thought interrelate.
Language is more than just a tool for communicating. It affects our culture and our thought processes. Dealing with the connection between language and thought, the name of Benjamin Lee Whorf is the most famous name, who was an anthropological linguist.
Wilhelm von Humboldt who was a well-known German scholar settled language and thought as inseparable, as language completely determining thought, in a hypothesis known as the Weltanschauung (world view) hypothesis (Brown, 1968). Humboldt also stressed “profound semantic” differences between languages which lead to varying “cognitive perspectives,” which was known as cultural relativity (Wierzbika, 3). little attention was given to this extreme view at the time, this idea drew much interest and criticism in the 1930’s in the appearance of a hypothesis known as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis (Linguistic Relativity). The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, named after the American linguist Edward Sapir and Bejamin Lee Whorf is categorized as theory of language. In 1929, Sapir presented his belief that the probable variety of human behavior is ruled by the language he speaks. This hypothesis was rooted in Sapir’s study of Native American Languages, which then drew the particular attention of Sapir’s student Benjamin Lee Whorf. a paragraph that Sapir read to a group of anthropologists and linguists in 1928, caught the attention of scholars and non-scholars and has enthused comparative research among many different languages. As he stated:
Human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society… The fact of the matter is that the ‘real world’ is to a large extent unconsciously built upon the language habits of the group. No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached (Salzmann, 1993:153).
This statement and other similar ones by Whorf, aimed to explain that language is the medium by which one views the world, culture, reality and thought. many researchers nowadays take one of the following three positions regarding the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis or Linguistic Relativity:
· language heavily influences thought (strong interpretation): Whorf mentions some examples form the Native American language, Hopi, in order to support his hypothesis that thought is strongly based on language. According to Whorf, the Hopi language doesn’t have any words, grammatical structures or terms that state the English concept of ‘time.’ Therefore, he thinks it’s possible in the Hopi language to express the world or reality in ways other than what many languages refer to as ‘time.’ The Hopi view of reality is specific to the language and can only be best expressed if one is familiar with the language (Carroll, 1956:57). Through this example Whorf believes language strongly effects thought, he is often criticized with indirectness because he “infers cognitive differences between two speakers from an examination of their respective languages,” (Hopi and English). His proof of cognitive differences is only “based on reiteration of the linguistic differences” (Harre, 1990:5).
· language does not influence thought: There are three main points that scholars use to argue the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: translatability, differences between linguistic and non-linguistic events and universals. Translatability is a common quarrel scholars use against the hypothesis, although language may differ considerably in the way they express certain details, it is still quite possible to translate those details from one language to another (Fishman, 1976:273).
· language somehow influence thought (weak understanding): Most scholars until now faced some difficulties in concluding that language designs or shapes thought, however through examples from Whorf’s studies in Hopi and other observations from researchers it is valid to suggest that language does partially determine thought. In determining linguistic relativity, the question is not whether a language affects ones’ thoughts but to what degree (Wierzbicka, 1992:7).
Vocabulary and cognition: here it comes the differences from one language to another for example, some languages have linguistic categories which take account of the shape of objects.
The form of Navajo verbs, for example, is sometimes determined by the shape of the object:
e.g. wjether its short or its long , thin or thick, round or not, and so on and another example is the Chinese word for eleven, shi-yi , is literally ‘ten-one’, and for twenty the Chinese word is
er-shi , literally ‘two-ten’. So, learning to count after ten is easier for Chinese speaking children than for English-speaking children.
Grammar and cognition: Grammatical categories such as tense, aspect and gender encode aspects of reality differently in different languages. According to Whorf, it’s because of the verb tense system of Indo-European languages, conjugating Hopi verbs, however, requires an analysis of events in terms of dynamic motion, expressed by aspect markers, rather than by tenses marking their distribution in time. This led Whorf to conclude that the Hopi think in terms of cycles of events and sets of processes rather than units of time. He even argued that Hopi was better equipped to deal with the wave processes and vibrations of modern physics than English was. “Language and society are so intertwined that it is impossible to understand one without the other. There is no human society that does not depend on, is not shaped by, and does not itself shape language” (Chaika, 1989:2). This statement best defines the relationship between language, thought and reality for language not only shapes the way reality is perceived but reality can also shape language. The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis has changed the way many people look at language. It has influenced many scholars and opened up large areas of study. While many like Sapir and Whorf support the notion that language strongly influences thought and others argue that language does not influence thought, the evidence from research indicates that language does influence thought and perception of reality but language does not govern thought or reality.
Q4/ Explain The Ethnography of speech approach used by sociolinguistics when analyzing discourse.
It’s a field of study which is concerned with the description and analysis of communication within the broader setting of the social and cultural practices and beliefs of the members of a specific culture and in analyzing language which has been designed to increase awareness of culture-bound assumptions. The first sociolinguist who developed this approach was Dell Hymes, he was aware of the limitations of traditional approaches to describing communication systems because he worked with the indigenous native peoples of the USA.
He established a frame work for the analysis of communicative events which involved:
v Genre or type of event: e.g. telephone call, conversation, business meeting, lesson, interview, blog.
v Topic or what people are talking about: e.g. politics, holidays, sport
v Purpose or function: the cause(s) for the talk: e.g. to design an event, to catch up socially, to teach something, to encourage someone to help you.
v Setting: where the talk takes place: e.g. at house, in classroom, in an office
v Key or emotional tone: e.g. thoughtful, jocular, sarcastic.
v Participants: characteristics of those present and their relationship: gender, age, social status, role and role relationship: e.g. mother–daughter, teacher–student, TV interviewer, interviewee and audience.
v Message form, code and/or channel: e.g. telephone, letter, email, language and language variety, non-verbal.
v Message content or specific details of what the communication is about: e.g. planning a time for a football match, .
v Act sequence or ordering of speech acts: e.g. greetings, turn-taking rules in meeting, ending a phone call conversation.
v Rules for interaction or prescribed orders of speaking: e.g. who must speak first, who must respond to the celebrant at a wedding, who closes a business meeting.
v Norms for interpretation of what is going on: the common knowledge and shared understandings of the relevant cultural presuppositions: what we need to know to interpret what is going on: e.g. that how are you does not require a detailed response in most Western English-speaking societies, that it is polite to refuse the first offer of more food in some cultures.
This framework is very useful because it:
v spots some features that
v cultures e.g. procedures of ceremonies such as wedding or funeral from one culture differs from another one.
v provides a way of analyzing events that are unique to a particular culture.
v highlight the unnoticed ‘rules’ that operate in any interaction.
v draws attention to features that participants take for granted, and which tend to go unobserved unless something goes wrong.
v highlights the mismatch between various components of the components of a communicative event.
v highlights the role of the researcher as an insider or an outsider in a community.
Researching a culture from the inside, as a member of a community and researching while coming into a community as a researcher from outside have advantages and disadvantages as shown below:
Better understanding of group culture
Loss of objectivity
Ability to interact more naturally with members
Greater relational intimacy
Informants may assume researchers knows answers
More rapid acceptance with participants
It costs less
Identified by participants as a ‘voyeur’
Researcher role clearly defined
Difficulty in grasping culture of those investigated
Participants will have clear understanding of researcher role
Takes time to break down the barriers with interviewees
Take more time to access potential participants .