LIN 207 Lecture 1: Intro to Linguistics

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9 Feb 2017
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Intro to Linguistics
What is linguistics?
There are roughly 7000 different languages in the world, and many more dialects
Liguistis is the ssteati stud of the olds laguages
We are descriptive, not prescriptive: we treat all languages and dialects as equally correct and
valid
What is sociolinguistics?
Sociolinguistics is the study of how language (linguistics) relates to social context (socio-)
how does language vary and change depending on context?
How do people use language to express who they are?
Ethnicity
Gender/sexuality
Age or life stage
Cultural and/or religious background
Where you are from
Etc.
Language and Dialect
In actual practice, the distinction between language and dialect is not clear-cut
Is it a linguistic distinction?
Or a political one?
Or both?
Mutual intelligibility, but speakers see them as separate languages:
Spanish and Catalan
Hindi and Urdu
Swedish and Norwegian
New Zealand Sign Language and Australian Sign Language
Some differences, but speakers see them as the same language:
Mandarin and Cantonese
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Classical Arabic and vernacular Arabic dialects, eg Egyptian Arabic, Palestinian Arabic,
etc
Miztec varieties
Some varieties of English, eg Scots and Texan English
Designating something as a full language rather than a dialect of another language is often a
atte of speakes idetit, o soial o politial pestige
A laguage is a dialet ith a a ad a a
Terminology
Dialect is applied to what is considered a subvariety of a language, and typically has its own
grammatical characteristics.
Dialet desies a sste of gaa, hih a ilude a haateisti
accent as well
Example: African American Vernacular English has its own grammar
Accent: Set of characteristics of a pesos o goups pouiatio
Who speaks a dialect?
Liguists use the od dialet diffeetl fo odia people.
“aig soethig is a dialet is ot deogato
It means that that variety has its own grammar
Sometimes people say language variety to avoid misunderstanding or avoid making the
language/dialect distinction
“he has a aet
Whe people sa, “he has a aet, hat do the ea?
He talks in an unusual way.
He talks differently than we do.
Accents
Liguists use the od aet differently from ordinary people
As liguists use the od aet, it efes to aoes pouiatio pattes
“he has a Feh aet
“he has a Teas aet
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