English Language Theorists: Language and Age
Terms in this set (17)
Penelope Eckert (1998): Age as a sociolinguistic variable
Argued that there are different ways of defining the concept of age:
1) chronological age - number of years since birth
2) biological age - physical maturity
3) social age - linked to life events such as marriage and having children
Also said: "age is a person's place at a given time in relation to the social order: a stage, a condition, a place in history".
Mary Bucholtz (1999)
- Documented the use of AAVE features by white kids in Northern California as a way of being cool.
Yuri Kuwahara (1998)
- Documented the development of English among a group of adolescents in Northern California, showing that as they moved into American adolescence, those who became school orientated developed SE, whilst those who moved into street culture showed more AAVE features.
William Labov (1972)
- Found a relation between the use of AAVE features and the speaker's place in the peer network.
- Studied a friend group of pre-adolescent African American boys in a housing project in New York. Saw that some boys were more engaged in school than others, and used less AAVE features.
- West Yorkshire Study: 63 teenagers asked and 100% of teenagers thought that people speak differently depending on their age and that language use becomes more standard with age.
- Conducted a second study among 17 yr olds that the shared language of teenagers was informal, containing taboo and slang specific to their age-group
Unni Berland (1997)
- Studied different groups of teens and noticed language differs on social class.
- 'Innit' used more by working class
- 'Yeah' used more by middle class
Stenström (2002): Teenage talk: From General Characteristics to the Use of Pragmatic Markers in a Contrastive Perspective"
- Mainly focused on speech of 14-16 yr olds in London.
- Common features included:
• irregular turn taking
• indistinct articulation
• word shortenings
• teasing and name calling
• verbal duelling
• language mixing
- Findings from the Bergen Corpus, a large sample.
- Could be a rebellion of the teenagers, almost like a sociolect, to show a different identity to the adults. Or could hold covert prestige.
Jenny Cheshire (1987)
Adult language, as well as child language, develops in response to important life events that affect social relations and attitudes of individuals
Ignacio Martinez (2011)
Teenagers use negatives more frequently than adults
Christopher Odato (2013)
Found children as young as 4 use 'like'. Also collected evidence that younger children copy the language of those older than them
Howard Giles (2006): Communication with people of different ages in the workplace; Thai and American Data
- Studied the interaction between young and elderly in business settings.
- Elderly tended to be less accommodating than the young person.
- Also, one is more likely to accommodate to someone superior (i.e a manager) than someone of less/equal superiority (i.e a coworker)
Vivian de Klerk (2005)
Young people seek to create identities and have the freedom to 'challenge linguistic norms' and want to look 'modern' and 'cool' as well as different and need to belong to a distinctive group. But not all teenagers are alike - they are not a homogeneous group
Penelope Eckert (2003): Adolescent Language
- Argued adolescence is a social structure.
- Double standards: 'teen culture' and 'adult behaviour' have similarities (like vs okay).
- Jocks: participate in school life and more concerned with speaking in a prestigious way.
- Burnouts: more rebellious, less interest in school activities, exaggerated pronunciation, and greater use of multiple negation.
- Geek girls: tended to adopt RP in words like 'butter' (prestige).
- Cool girls: fronting of back vowels i.e/u/ in 'dude'.
- Generally found slang used by teens to establish youth culture and identity.
Instagram post study
Found that older children no longer find it cool to use abbreviations and informal language.
Developed the Instagram posts study.
He argued that these factors are influential:
1) The media and the press
2) New means of communication
4) Street art and graffiti
Influential factors in teenspeak
1) Peers and identity in 'youth culture'
3) Adults (either copying their language or diverging from them)
David Crystal (2008)
- Says myth of teenagers only using textspeak and therefore failing exams is a load of 'chicken droppings'
1) Majority of texters are adults
2) Every text has a purpose
3) Only 10% of words are abbreviated in texts
4) Some abbreviations were common 100 years ago (e.g. C U L8ER) and used by many people such as Queen Victoria and Lewis Carroll
5) Teens are literate and know how to spell in order to miss out certain letters and abbreviate
- Texting is a recent phenomenon and therefore data results are reliable.
- Says language is a form of expression and best way to improve language is to practice which means texting earlier is better.
- Says there are negative social consequences
- Too much texting can lead to an addiction
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