Linguistics: recap and Chapter 18 Regional Variation

Linguistics: Chapter 18
Regional Variation

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Slide 1: Tekstslide
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Linguistics: Chapter 18
Regional Variation

Slide 1 - Tekstslide

But first...remember, remember!

Slide 2 - Tekstslide

When you think in terms of language history and development; what does the word ‘proto’ refer to?

Slide 3 - Open vraag

What term do linguists use for words from different languages that are similar in form and meaning?
Words like: Hause, house, huis

Slide 4 - Open vraag

Do you think the Spanish word constipado (to have a cold) is a cognate of the English word constipated?

Slide 5 - Quizvraag

Do you think the Dutch word moeder and the English word mother are cognates?

Slide 6 - Quizvraag

The German word ‘bekommen‘ and the English ‘to become’ seem cognates; but are they?

Slide 7 - Open vraag

Linguistics: Chapter 18
Regional Variation

Slide 8 - Tekstslide

This commercial raised some Dutch
eyebrows in 2004. Why?

Slide 9 - Open vraag

                                                                                       Accents in 

Slide 10 - Tekstslide

Learning aims:
By the end of this session you will be able to:
  • explain the difference between a dialect, an accent and a language;
  • explain and apply your knowledge of terminology concerning regional varieties, e.g. isoglosses, diglossia
  • explain how pidgins and creoles differ;
  • And you will be aware that there is no “proper” variety of English.

Slide 11 - Tekstslide

What is “English”?
Every language has a lot of variations, especially in spoken language.
These variations can differ from country to country and between different parts of the country.
Linguistic geography
Which variety do you ( prefer to) speak?

Slide 12 - Tekstslide

Standard language (a variety)
  • An idealized variety (‘proper” English?)
  • No specific region
  • For most people the language accepted as the official language of their country or community.
  • The dominant, or most prestigious, dialect.
  • The language printed in newspapers & books, used in mass-media and taught in schools (also as L2/FL)
  • Standards:
  • Standard American English
  • Standard British English
  • Standard Australian English

Slide 13 - Tekstslide

Slide 14 - Tekstslide

Have you met Amy Walker? She is from.....

Slide 15 - Tekstslide

Accent & Dialect
Systematic differences in the way different groups speak a language

Regional: Australian accent, New York accent, French accent, etc

Varieties in grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation, but still mutually understandable (if not; another language)

Slide 16 - Tekstslide

Differences in dialects:
1. Phonological (also in accents):
Individual words:
dance, about, potatoes, water, house, etc
Sentence stress patterns.
2. Lexical:
Compare British English – American English:
first floor/ground floor, elevator/lift, pants/trousers, etc.
3. Grammatical:
Double negative, deletion of the verb “be”
He don’t know nothing.
They mine.

Slide 17 - Tekstslide

I've lost my key, have you seen it?
I lost my key, have you see it? 
R is pronounced
R is sometimes silent

Slide 18 - Sleepvraag

Regional dialects
Often a source of humour/jokes > based on stereotyped  

Slide 19 - Tekstslide

Regional dialects
Serious research of regional dialects:
Identification of consistent features of speech found in one geographical area (when compared to another region)

The informants tended to be NORMS
non-mobile, older, rural, male speakers
Outdated information?

Slide 20 - Tekstslide


Slide 21 - Tekstslide

American dialects

Slide 22 - Tekstslide

An example
New York City accent bears little resemblance to the other dialects in this region. It is also the most disliked and parodied of any American dialect (even among New Yorkers).

Slide 23 - Tekstslide

English Dialects

Slide 24 - Tekstslide

  • Originally the dialect of the working class of East End London.
  • Pronunciation:
house becomes /aus/ (or even /a:s/)
think > /fingk/
water > /wo?i/
time > /toim/, brave > /braiv/, etc.
  • Besides the accent, it includes a large number of slang words, including the famous rhyming slang:
plates -- feet [from plates of meat = feet]
skin – sister [from skin and blister = sister]
trouble --  wife [from trouble and strife = wife]

Slide 25 - Tekstslide

Who were the NORMS?

Slide 26 - Open vraag

In Cockney the word "telephone" is replaced by "dog" (= 'dog-and-bone'); "wife" by "trouble" (= 'trouble-and-strife'); "eyes" by "minces" (= 'mince pies'); "wig" by "syrup" (= 'syrup of figs') and "feet" by "plates" (= 'plates of meat').
Can you “translate” the following utterance by a speaker of Cockney rhyming slang into English:
"It nearly knocked me off me plates—he was wearing a syrup! So I ran up the apples, got straight on the dog to me trouble and said I couldn't believe me minces.“

Slide 27 - Open vraag

Regional dialects: research(where are the boundaries?)
  • Isogloss: a line across a map separating two areas with regard to one particular linguistic item (paper bag vs paper sack)
  • A bundle of isoglosses can form a dialect boundary > dialect maps.
  • Dialect continuum: not a sharp boundary between dialects.

Slide 28 - Tekstslide

Slide 29 - Tekstslide

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Slide 31 - Tekstslide

An isogloss is a line across a map separating two areas with regard to
one particular linguistic item
several linguistic items

Slide 32 - Quizvraag

A large number of isoglosses together would constitute a
dialect boundary
dialect continuum

Slide 33 - Quizvraag

In reality such a number of isoglosses would not constitute a sharp boundary, we call this a
dialect boundary
dialect continuum

Slide 34 - Quizvraag

Looking at this picture,
what can you say about the
development of “flock”?

Slide 35 - Open vraag

Many countries have a lot of regional varieties of the language (=dialects)

Some countries have two (or more) official languages.
Usually one first language, the second language learned at school.

Diglossia: 2 distinct varieties
    of a language (high / low)
       E.g. African American Vernacular English vs Standard (American English)

Slide 36 - Tekstslide


Slide 37 - Tekstslide

  • Contact language
  • Usually trade between 2 groups of people who did not speak each others language.
  • No native speakers.
  • An “English pidgin” if English is the lexifier language. (the main source of words)
  • Simplified language (and creative linguistic ability)

Slide 38 - Tekstslide

  • Can develop from a pidgin: creolization
  • Becomes first language of a social community
  • Native speakers
  • Becomes more complex; more grammatical

Slide 39 - Tekstslide

Language planning
  • Can/should the government do something to interfere with/have an influence on people’s use of language? > establish the standard variety or language and implement this standard.
  • Language taught in school?
  • Language bans.
  • National language “wars”
  • Language = identity?

Slide 40 - Tekstslide

Slide 41 - Link

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Slide 43 - Tekstslide

Next year
Chapter 19: social variation in language

Slide 44 - Tekstslide