An Introduction to Sociolinguistics:
Ronald Wardhaugh

Important Terms:
VARIETY
 LANGUAGE
 DIALECT








Dialect geography, isoglosses, boundaries, and continuum
VERNACULAR
PATOIS
KOINE
Style/Register
Accent
Bell’s Seven Criteria For Languages

standardization, vitality, historicity, autonomy,
reduction, mixture, and de facto norms
 “A
set of linguistic terms with similar
distribution” (Hudson 1996, 22 via
Wardhaugh 23)
“any body of human speech patterns which is
sufficiently homogeneous to be analyzed by
available techniques of synchronic description
and which has a sufficiently large repertory of
elements and their arrangements or processes
with broad enogh semantic scope to function in
all formal contexts of communication” (Ferguson
1972, 30 via Wardhaugh 23)
 “Such varieties as Standard English, Cockney,
lower-class New York City speech, Oxford
English, legalese, cocktail party talk, and so on.
One important task, then, in sociolinguistics is to
determine if such unique sets of items or
patterns actually do exist” (Wardhaugh 23)

 Ambiguous
– “As Haugen says, the terms
‘represent a simple dichotomy in a situation
that is almost infinitely complex’”
(Wardhaugh 25)
 “Language is used to refer either to a single
linguistic norm or to a group of related
norms, and dialect is used to refer to one of
the norms” (Wardhaugh 25)
 Influence of “ideological dimensions – social,
cultural, and sometimes political –
beyond…purely linguistic ones” (Wardhaugh
32)
 Standard VS. non-standard
 Dialect
geography
 Isoglosses
 Dialect
boundaries
 Dialect
continuum
 “the
language a person grows up with and
uses in everyday life in ordinary,
commonplace, social interactions”
(Wardhaugh 24)
 Negative connotations
 French
distinction between “un dialecte and
un patois. The former is a regional variety of
language that has an associated literary
tradition, whereas the latter is a regional
variety that lacks such a literary tradition”
(Wardhaugh 25)
 Pejorative
 Literary tradition after advent of
standardization excludes
 “a
form of speech shared by people of
different vernaculars – though for some of
them the koine itself may be their
vernacular” (Petyt 1980, 25 via Wardhaugh
40)
 Styles/Registers
 Accent
 Standardization
 Vitality
 Historicity
 Autonomy
 Reduction
 Mixture
 De
facto norms
 Dialects:





Vernacular: Standard English
Koine: Standard English
Neo-Latin
(German, Spanish, French)
*Attic Greek, Koine
 Accent:
General American
 Registers:




Casual
Formal
Tourist
Latin class/Conventiculum
http://en.wikipedia.org/
wiki/General_American
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Languages, Dialects, and Varieties