Sociolinguistics, Elaborated code

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Summary

Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used, and the effects of language use on society. Sociolinguistics differs from sociology of language in that the focus of sociolinguistics is the effect of the society on the language, while the sociology of language focuses on language's effect on the society. Sociolinguistics overlaps to a considerable degree with pragmatics. It is historically closely related to linguistic anthropology and the distinction between the two fields has even been questioned recently.

Details

Basil Bernstein also studied what he named the 'elaborated code' explaining that in this type of speech pattern the middle and upper classes use this language style to gain access to education and career advancement. Bonds within this social group are not as well defined and people achieve their social identity largely on the basis of individual disposition and temperament. There is no obvious division of tasks according to sex or age and generally, within this social formation members negotiate and achieve their roles, rather than have them there ready-made in advance. Due to the lack of solidarity the elaborated social language code requires individual intentions and viewpoints to be made explicit as the 'I' has a greater emphasis with this social group than the working class.

The following table illustrates differences in language associated with social position:

It is also notable that, at least in England and Australia, the closer to standard English a dialect gets, the less the lexicon varies by region, and vice versa.

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External Links

  • WikipediaSociolinguistics: an interview with William Labov

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