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English Language Theories
English Language A2
Terms in this set (17)
Erving Goffman's Face Theory
The idea that we project a certain 'face' (style of language) to suit a particular topic, person or situation.
An example of this is:
A face threatening act, shown by questioning another's 'face'.
"No, you didn't"
Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson's Politeness Principle/Theory
Positive politeness - Makes the listener/receiver feel good, wishes to be liked by another an example of this is personal remarks and giving compliments.
Negative politeness - avoids imposing on the listener/receiver, wishes to be impersonal. The speaker wants to remain autonomous Examples of this include indirect remarks or questions, using hedges to 'soften' language and minimisation of imposition.
Howard Giles' Accommodation Theory
Convergence - changing your speech to be more like the listener/receiver's.
Divergence - changing your speech to be less like the listener/receiver's.
Mutual convergence/divergence - when both or all receivers either converge or diverge their language.
Upward convergence - changing your register to appear more educated, higher class or status etc.Typically shown through the use of standard English or received pronounciation.
Downward convergence - changing your register to appear more 'regional'. This may involve the dropping of sounds in certain words or the use of slang.
Robin Lakoff's Politeness Principle
Conversation is governed by the 'politeness principle'.
There are three rules in conversation:
- Don't impose. ("Sorry to bother you").
- Give options. ("It's up to you").
- Make your receiver feel good. (Compliments).
Grice's Cooperation Theory / Maxims
Maxim of quantity - do not say too much or too little. Say no more or less than is necessary.
Maxim of quality - do not lie or exaggerate anything to which you have no evidence for.
Maxim of relevance - always remain on topic, only say things that are relevant to the current, main or ongoing topic/s.
Maxim of manner - do not be obscure or ambiguous, utterances should be clear and make sense to the receiver/s.
When a person is not practising one or more of the maxims they are said to be 'flouting' the maxims.
Lesley Milroy's Social Network Theory
Open network - none of the participants in conversation know each other.
Closed network - the participants of the conversation know each other.
Multiplex network - the participants know each other socially in multiple ways.
Austin's Speech Acts
Locutionary acts - The utterance of a word or phrase.
Illocutionary acts - The utterance of a word or phrase that results in an action. For example, "I name this ship...", "Stop it".
Perlocutionary acts - The utterance of a word or phrase that affects the receiver's thoughts, feelings etc. It is the effect the word or phrase has on the receiver.
Research by linguists.
Trudgill - Norwich Research, 1983
The lower the social class, the more likely to drop the 'ing' and the 's' in plural words.
The lower the social class, the more likely they are to speak non-standard English.
Petyt - Bradford Study, 1980
There is a correlation between the dropping of the letter or sound of 'h' and social class.
The lower the social class, the more likely it is to not be pronounced.
Labov's New York study
Those who pronounce the 'r' in words are considered more socially prestigious than others. This is similar in the UK to those who drop the 'h' in words; they are considered less socially prestigious.
Labov's Martha's Vineyard study
The locals and the fisherman were changing the way they spoke as the island was becoming increasingly more commercial and full of tourists. They weren't aware of the change though. Labov describes this as a 'change from below'. When the speaker makes a conscious change to their speech it is called a 'change from above'.
Reflectionist Theory - Culture and Language
Language is like a mirror, it reflects the 'trends' in society.
Linguistic Determinist Theory
The language we speak affects the way in which we behave and as a consequence, it affects wider society.
Basil Bernstein's Influential Theory
Our environment and social class affects how we speak.
Restricted code - short, simple and sometimes incomplete language. Limited vocabulary. Limited ability to describe and expand upon ideas (adjectives, nouns, verbs etc). Reliance on implicit meaning rather than expressed meaning.
Elaborated code - more complex language. Wider and more developed vocabulary. Ability to describe and expand upon ideas ("). More explicit meanings than implicit meanings.
David Crystal - Characteristics of Standard English, 1995
- It is not regionally based.
- Distinctive features of grammar, vocabulary and orthography (spelling) but not of pronunciation. It can be spoken with any accent.
- It is the most prestigious form of English and is associated with high status.
- It is promoted by educational institutions and is used by government, law and the media.
- It is most widely understood.
- It is mostly used in printed texts. However, only a minority use it when they speak.
Prescriptivists and Descriptivism
John Honey (1997) - We should all be taught standard English. It is the only way to ensure that we all have equal opportunities. Absence of standard English may also cause issues of universal communication. This results in bidialectism; two dialects.
Milroy and Milroy (1985) - We shouldn't correct people who use non-standard English. Non-standard English is typically used by the working class, who are disadvantaged because they are told their language is wrong. All varieties of English should be treated equally and people shouldn't be discouraged from using non-standard English.
THIS SET IS OFTEN IN FOLDERS WITH...
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