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Arts and Humanities
ENGLISH LANGUAGE THEORIES
Terms in this set (58)
Defined a Discourse Community as having members who share a common set of goals. They communicate internally through the use of discourse and specialist lexis. Members of this community must possess a required level of knowledgeable skills to be considered eligible to participate in the community.
- uses specialist lexis or discourse
- possess required knowledge and skills
Drew and Heritage
They suggested that members of a discourse community share inferential frameworks with each other, consisting of implicit ways of thinking, communicating and behaving. They also suggested that there are strong hierarchies of power within organisations, with asymmetrical relationships marked by language use
- it is goal orientated
- there are constraints
- there are inferential frameworks and procedures
- asymmetrical relationships expressed through language
Showed how important phatic talk is in getting jobs done. He recognised that workers need to establish impersonal relationships and have interactions about things that are not work related. Suggesting social chat is an important part of effective working. Connecting with others is an important dimension in work place communications.
Giles accommodation theory
Adjusting our speech by convergence or divergence to adapt to the other people or person in the conversation
Compared a corpus of business language with a more general corpus, in order to investigate whether there was such a thing as a business lexis. He found what he described as a semantic field of business, involving a limited number of semantic categories to do with business people, companies and institutions etc.
Dominance model, believed that women's language was inadequate in comparison to men's, features included:
- hedges or fillers
- tag questions
- empty adjectives
- Her study lacked ecological validity as it was in laboratory conditions
- She only recorded the men side
Dominance model, "interaction shitwork" suggests that in conversation women do the donkey-work but rarely benefit from the process
-topic initiation and uptake
- Small sample size, less generalisable
- People recorded themselves, low ecological validity
Zimmerman and West
- Dominance model, women are concerned not to violate a mans right to speak, men are dominant in conversations. Men rarely interrupt each other but do interrupt women
- Sample size is bigger
- More ecological validity
- Dominance model, women talk more and introduce more topics. Women were less successful in getting their topics accepted
- Better ecological validity than Lakoff
Difference model, all women conversations are different to mixed sex conversations
- minimal responses
- Only done in New York so not very generalisable
- Only focused on female speech
- Difference model, girls are more mature in conversations, women use rapport men use report
- Had a range of ages which makes it more generalisable
- Was more ecologically valid as she collected a range of data included written and spoken speech
Difference model, male language is rougher, women speak closer to standard english, variation is controlled by both social and linguistic factors.
- Difference model, men are competitive, women work together. Men try to dominate conversations
- Was done in a bakery which makes it ecologically valid
- Diversity model, you act out your gender
- Was not a study
O'Barr and Atkins
- Diversity model, WL are not applied to all women, it depends on the speakers social status
- studied 150 hours of real courtroom speech which makes it ecologically valid and high in reliability
- Diversity model, bigger amount of similarities as differences, all earlier studies are unproven. Meta analysis (strongest study)
- Diversity model, all a myth, devision between the sexes are all mythical and not based on a fact
- Used statistics from call centres showing that men can learn to be emotional, these findings were high in ecological validity as they were from a real setting not a made up one
- Researched youth speak on Instagram. Found older children no longer saw it as 'cool' to use informal variants.
- Case study showed that 100% of 63 teens in Yorkshire secondary school believed people speak differently depending on their age.
- Recorded that teens in Yorkshire secondary school remembered playground language that was no longer part of their vernacular.
Argued that language 'develops in response to important life events'.
Anna Brita Stenstrom
Identified a range of features of teen talk including: irregular turn taking, overlaps, abbreviations, verbal duelling, taboo, code switching and slang.
- Stated that slang is used by teenagers to 'establish a connection to youth culture and to set themselves off from the older generation'.
- Stated that 'adolescents do not all talk alike... differences among adolescents are probably far greater than speech differences among the members of any other age group'.
- Defined three ways of defining the concept of age: chronological, biological, and social age.
Found that teenagers use negatives more frequently than adults do and that teenagers tend to be much more direct.
- Researched use of tags such as 'innit', 'yeah' and 'right'
-Found that social class was an important factor in the use of tags: 'innit' was more common among working class and 'yeah' used more by middle class.
- Found that gender was a factor in the use of tags: 'okay' was used more by boys than girls although both genders used 'innit, 'right' and 'yeah' in equal measure.
Stenstrom, Anderson and Hasund
Found common non standard grammatical features of teen speak included: multiple negation, use of 'aint', non standard pronouns and ellipsis of auxiliary verbs.
- Found children as young as 4 were using 'like' and that there were three stages in the use of 'like' as a discourse marker'
- Suggested that children copy the use of those older than them in their use of 'like' as a discourse marker.
Suggested that there has been a drop from 40000 words to 800 words in the working vocabulary of teenagers.
Found that the younger generation on Martha's Vineyard pronounced "older" vowel sounds
It was a way to resist the social changes going on around them
Argued that the following factors are influential: The media and the press, new means of communication, music, street art and graffiti
- Young people have the freedom to "challenge linguistic norms"
- They 'seek' to establish new identities
- The patterns of speech previously modelled on the speech of adults are 'slowly eroded by the patterns of speech' by their peer group
- They need to be seen as "modern, cool, fashionable, and up-to-date"
- They need to establish themselves as 'different'
- They need to belong to a group who are different from their parents, distinguishing themselves as members of a distinctive social group
- Lexical Asymmetry, English language doesn't have equal definitions for the same gender
- e.g. bachelor / spinster (unwanted/lonely)
master/ mistress (adulterer)
- Androcentric Language, male centred language e.g. mankind instead of humankind or humanity
- Males as the dominant group, have produced language, thought and reality
- Historically, it has been structures, the categories and the meanings which have been invented by males, not all males
- Women have played little or no part in this process
- It has been male subjectivity that has been the source of those meanings, including the meaning that their own subjectivity is objectivity
women = flounces, struts, shrieks and nags
men = strides and marches
Matched Guise Experiments
- First done by Wallace Lambert, involved the same person reading a passage in French and then in English, they were then asked to rate the reader as to intelligence, English scored highest
- Howard Giles found that RP was perceived as having more status than Somerset or Northern
- RP speakers were highly rated for intelligence, ambition, self- confidence etc. but scored lower on sense of humour and talkativeness
- Welsh and Cockney scored higher for sense of humour and talkativeness
- Another study rated the Brummie accent and found it to be more guilty than the same person speaking in an RP accent
- non-standard is not incorrect, it is just a variation
- attitudes to accents are arbitrary; postvocalic 'r' shows this; also, dialects are often more logical than SE, hence the trend towards regularisation
- In his book 'Bad Language' Trudgill says that 'accentism' is a much of a prejudice as sexism or racism.
Aziz Corporation - business and accents
- Foreigner wanted to learn how to speak English in the Estuary accent, like Alan Sugar as he found it was more prestige and better for business
Estuary English - Rosewarne, Coggle, Crystal
Giles and Powesland study
Summary of McArthur
- Circle of Englishes, all of the varities of Englishes around the world
- There is no world Standard English
Summary of Katchru
- Three circle model
- The widespread of English and it's uses
- Was done to show that non-native speakers are still fully capable of speaking the language
Bernstein's Elaborated and Restricted Code
- EC: context independent, most who hear will understand it. Full and complex sentences, broader vocabulary, can communicate abstract ideas
- RC: heavily context dependent with lots of deixis; excellent at reinforcing group membership but limited as to who can understand. Simple and compound sentences, context bound language
- Claimed working class students don't do well as they only have access to restricted code, middle class can use both
- methodology: conversations were staged, the term restricted made working class speech sound deficient, working class speakers are able to use elaborated code claims Labov
Labov's The Logic of Non-Standard English
- Labov had some of his black students interview black teenagers, many of whom were school refusers and gang members, also had black colleagues from Columbia Uni interview black educated middle class speakers
- P's were asked to discuss abstract ideas, the existence of god, life after death, dreams etc.
- Larry (the gang member) used non-standard English, but he answered the question and did so short and to the point
- Chas, used Standard English but did not answer the question and was over complicated and verbose
- Labov says Bernstein's views were a bias on working class, the conversations were staged and artificial, term restricted made working class speech seem deficient, and Labov showed working class speakers are able to use elaborated code
Labov - New York department store study
- Looked at phonological variation (post vocalic R in Americans)
- Saks (high end) PVR was apparent all the time, Macy's (middle) and Kleins (lower) first time was missing, second PVR was used more frequently due to them repeating themselves with more care
- PVR is an example of how class and context affects language use
Labov - New York study
- Found it is to do with the class with how often people use the post vocalic R, the lower middle class were shown to use it more frequently particularly when reading the words which maybe shows they were aware
- Focused on the non-standard/standard language use of males and female in each social class
- Took recordings of speech in the four different contexts: reading a wordlist, reading a passage, formal conversation and casual conversation
- The IV was whether the participants were middle class to working class and gender, he separated the gender
- the DV was whether the subject used the standard RP velar nasal /ng/ or the standard /n/ e.g. running vs runnin'
- Found 100% of middle class women used the standard -ing forms
- 0% of lower working class men used the standard -ing forms
- Overall the /n/ was higher in lower social classes, and occurred much more often in men
- Women thought they used the standard more than they did, OVERT prestige and vice versa for men, COVERT (they thought they used the non standard more)
- Implications of this study was that there is a link between class, gender and context and the use of non-standard forms, these factors influence an individual's use of language
- Social climbing in Bradford, West Yorkshire
- Focuses on common variables in many northern English accents e.g. H-dropping /h/ sound in hat, happen
- he measured the frequency of H-dropping across social class and short 'u' sounds which differ in RP e.g. put and putt, but are pronounced the same in a Bradford accent (rhyme with soot)
- Found that it followed the basic trend of greater regional accent use in the working class, it decreased as you moved up the social class ladder
- Clear divide between middle and working class usage with the % dropping being 67% for upper-working class and 28% for lower-upper class
- Social mobility (individual moves up the socio-economic scale) often resulted in hypercorrection for example like using /uh/ (sounding like percussion) in the first vowel of the word 'cushion'
- A person whose personal contacts all know each belong to a CLOSED NETWORK, an individual whose contacts tend to not know each other belong to an OPEN NETWORK
- Investigated three working class communities in Belfast, Hammer and Clonard
- Took part in each community as a friend or a friend, investigated the correlation between the type of network an individual in the community belonged to and the way the individual speaks, expected to find closed networks spoke more non-standard forms
- Gave each individual a network strength from 0-6 based on the person's knowledge of other people on the community measured each person's use of features such as mother and hat both of which have standard/non-standard forms
- Found that high network score correlated with use of non-standard forms
- Men who belonged to close-knit communities use a high frequency of non-standard English whereas women who tended to be housewives and therefore belonged to less dense networks showed evidence of using more Standard English
- In Hammer and Clonard, women tended to go to work and belonged to closed networks and men unemployment rates were higher 35% and their network rates lower
- Women tended to show non-standard forms more suggesting differences are down to social status not gender
- Suggests that social networks play a large part in the use of standard and non-standard English
- Came up with dialect levelling, found that children brought up in Milton Keynes weren't speaking with the same accents as parents or using the local dialect, the features he found included the fronting of vowel sounds similar to Estuary English
- Focused on 48 children: 16 four-year olds, 16 eight-year olds and 16 twelve year olds and one caregiver for each child, children were either born in Milton Keynes or arrived there at age two
- Noted all occurrences of different pronunciations for each variable when children used words like coke and home for (ou) and move and shoe for (u:), they also recorded use of glottal stop and other Estuary English features
- Were recorded on tape video and were divided into two main sections: elicitation tasks (using quizzes, spot the difference pictures and map reading tasks) and spontaneous speech
- Found that the children tend to front their vowels more than adults
- Use of fronted pronunciation in words such as move (/mouv/ instead of /mu:V) amongst women and girls was shown to be in different patterns and older girls showed more fronting
- Speech of older children reflects characteristics of a new speech community developing in Milton Keynes, similar to Estuary English, younger children were similar to their parents accents
- Implications were Kerswill identified the emergence of a new Milton Keynes dialect that was a shared and standard form in the area, representing the combination of accent forms of the native and incoming communities demonstrating dialect levelling
- Reading study
- Conducted a p observation to gain data on non-standard grammatical variables between boys and girls around 16 in reading, also investigated the influence of peer group belonging on the teenagers' use of the vernacular
- She recorded how often they use 11 non standard variables, these included non standard has "you just has to do what teachers say" negative concord "it ain't got no' and the non standard s 'they calls me names'
- She visited playgrounds in Reading 2/3 times a week for 9 months, there were 4 groups: 2 groups of girls/boys - Group A (girls/boys who were against fighting and swearing) and Group B (girls/boys who approved of these things)
- There are clear instances of higher use of non-standard forms in the Group B girls
- Group A did not use as many non standard features than than group B, group A represented middle class and group B represented working class
- Found code switching for school setting was present using less non-standard forms
- Implications were that peer group belonging influences teenager's use of language not necessarily gender
- Looked into speech of young, new generation speakers born into London's Caribbean communities
- Interviewed and recorded the speech of young British born teenagers who had Jamaican parentage
- Found that the main choices of young speakers were effectively between Caribbean creole forms, Cockney forms and Standard English/RP forms
- Sebba defines London Jamaican as a language with a combination of phonological, lexical and grammatical elements from all three of the variations
- The speakers in Sebba's research are able to incorporate SE, RP, Jamaican Creole and Cockney forms in their use of language and code-switch appropiately
- Shows different varieties of English are created when faced with diversity and that they are used with great sophistication
-Focused on the dialect of youths from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds across London
- Suggest a variety of 'multi-ethnic youth dialect' (MEYD), which she termed Multicultural London English, has strong characteristics drawn from the influences of several other language, creole and cultural sources
- Suggest that MLE is identified with by adolescent users in London, this form is gaining ground with youths in other cities such as Bristol and Birmingham
- Influence of settled immigrant speakers is significant
- MLE is viewed as a fully functioning dialect in its own right
- The creation of a common culture among the culturally diverse youth has formed fertile conditions for the growth of the dialect
- Keen to point out the sophistication of the language and the highly skilled manipulation of language involved
- Multicultural Urban British English MUBE, his research was to explore the extent to which features of MLE can be found in Manchester, raising the possibility of a multi-city urban youth variety of English in the UK
Jean Aitchison's language myths: The crumbling castle
- Suggests that English was once a great castle, but overtime it has decayed and crumbled into the sea
- She states this is false because the description of English as a 'once fine language', is a particularly inaccurate one, as language is constantly changing and evolving
- "No year", she said, "Can be found when language achieved some peak of perfection
Jean Aitchison's language myths: The damp spoon
- Suggests that 'bad English' sticks to people who are lazy and passive
- The laziness is reflected by the people that put the damp spoon into the sugar bowl
- Aitchison, states that 'the only lazy speech is drunken speech' and that speaking quickly, for example, isn't a sign of laziness - it is anything but
Jean Aitchison's language myths: The infectious disease
- Suggests that 'bad English' is like a horrible disease, like herpes that spreads from person to person, we have no control of vaccine
- Suggests that the idea that changes are 'caught' and 'spread; is technically correct, but is no disease, people pick up changes because they want to
- Young people are at a disadvantage if they apply for a job or are in higher education if they misuse words or mangles what they're trying to say
- Argues that people invent new words to refer to emotionally laden things but these words can themselves become tainted and need replacing again
- We will know when we have achieved equality and mutual respect when names for minorities stay put
Steven Pinker - Euphemism treadmill
- Shows that concepts are in charge, the concept does not becomes freshened by name
- Society will only be fair when euphemisms stop changing
Dominant and muted group theory
- Shirley and Edwin Ardener believed that in any culture there are more and less powerful groups
- The more powerful social groups control the means of communication e.g. language, TV, media and therefore these froms of communication reflect the views of this dominant group
- Any other groups are in various ways prevented from using or ignored by these froms of communication
- They thus become muted groups as they are denied a means of expressing themselves
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