LINA02H3 Lecture Notes - Sociolinguistics, Voicelessness, Canadian English

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Published on 10 Jun 2013
School
Department
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PSYA02 March 14, 2013
Accents can be produced by geography
Intro
Children in isolation do not (generally) acquire human language
No two humans speak in exactly the same way
Humans need social context in order to learn language.
o Humans are by definition social entities
The relationship between language and society is studied by the vast field of
sociolinguistics.
Dialects
Native speakers of any language can talk to and understand each other, no two
people speak alike
We have the ability to recognize acquaintances by hearing them talk
Every speaker has idiodlect: the unique characteristics of the language of an
individual
Do not divide accents by region, because every person has different phonetic
environments.
Groups within the same language can be different among themselves
When systematic differences between groups appear, dialects are formed
o Intelligible differences between people within the dialect
o Unintelligible differences from people outside the dialect
A language is a collection of dialects
When two dialects become mutually unintelligible, they change into separate
languages
o Is difficult to draw line between separate dialects and separate languages
Political, economical, geographic factors are involved
o Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish are considered separate languages,
although their speakers can understand each other
o Mandarin and Cantonese are described as dialects of the same language,
although their speakers cannot understand each other
This may be because the Chinese government wants these to be
considered ‘one language’ to present the uniformity of a country.
Changes to language in one specific area give rise to regional dialects
o For example, the specific version of the English language spoken in the
city of Boston or the Canadian English of Newfoundland is a regional
dialect
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Document Summary

Children in isolation do not (generally) acquire human language. No two humans speak in exactly the same way. Humans need social context in order to learn language: humans are by definition social entities. The relationship between language and society is studied by the vast field of sociolinguistics. Native speakers of any language can talk to and understand each other, no two people speak alike. We have the ability to recognize acquaintances by hearing them talk. Every speaker has idiodlect: the unique characteristics of the language of an individual. Do not divide accents by region, because every person has different phonetic environments. Groups within the same language can be different among themselves. When systematic differences between groups appear, dialects are formed. Intelligible differences between people within the dialect: unintelligible differences from people outside the dialect. A language is a collection of dialects. When two dialects become mutually unintelligible, they change into separate languages.

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