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Chapter 8:Sociolinguistics

I. Decide whether each of the following statements is True or False:

1. Sociolinguistics is the sub-discipline of linguistics that studies social contexts.

2. Language as a means of social communication is a homogeneous system with a homogeneous group of speakers.

3. Language use varies from one speech community to another, from one regional group to another, from one social group to another, and even from one individual to another.

4. The goal of sociolinguistics is to explore the nature of language variation and language use among a variety of speech communities and in different social situations.

5. The linguistic markers that characterize individual social groups may serve as social markers of group membership.

6. From the sociolinguistic perspective, the term “speech variety ” can not be used to refer to standard language, vernacular language, dialect or pidgin.

7.Functional speech varieties are known as regional dialects.

8. The most distinguishable linguistic feature of a regional dialect is its grammar and uses of vocabulary.

9.Geographical barriers are the only source of regional variation of language.

10. A person’s social backgrounds do not exert a shaping influence on his choice of linguistic features.

11.Two speakers of the same language or dialect use their language or dialect in the same way.

12. Every speaker of a language is, in a stricter sense, a speaker of a distinct idiolect.

13. The standard language is a better language than nonstandard languages.

14. A lingua franca can only be used within a particular country for communication among groups of people with different linguistic backgrounds.

15.Pidgins are linguistically inferior to standard languages.

16. A pidgin usually reflects the influence of the higher, or dominant, language in its lexicon and that of the lower language in their phonology and occasionally syntax.

17.The major difference between a pidgin and a creole is that the former usually has its native speakers while the latter doesn’t.

18.Bilingualism and diglossia mean the same thing.

19.The kind of name or term speakers use to call or refer to someone may indicate something of their social relationship to or personal feelings about that individual.

20.The use of euphemisms has the effect of removing derogatory overtones and the disassociative effect as such is usually long-lasting.

II. Fill in each of the blanks below with one word which begins with the letter given:

21. The social group isolated for any given study is called the speech c________.

22. Speech v_________ refers to any distinguishable form of speech used by a speaker or group of speakers.

23. From the sociolinguistic perspective, a speech variety is no more than a d__________ variety of a language.

24. Language standardization is also called language p_______.

25. Social variation gives rise to s_________ which are subdivisible into smaller speech categories that reflect their socioeconomic, educational, occupational background, etc.

26. S_______ variation in a person’s speech or writing usually ranges on a continuum from casual or colloquial to formal or polite according to the type of communicative situation.

27. A regional dialect may gain status and become standardized as the national or o________ language of a country.

28. The standard language is a s_________, socially prestigious dialect of language.

29. Language varieties other than the standard are called nonstandard, or v_______ languages.

30. A pidgin typically lacks in i_______ morphemes.

31. Linguistic taboo reflects s_________ taboo.

32. The avoidance of using taboo language mirrors social attitudes, emotions and value judgments and has no l_________ basis.

 

III. There are four choices following each statement. Mark the choice that can best complete the statement:

33. _______ is concerned with the social significance of language variation and language use in different speech communities.

A. Psycholinguistics           B. Sociolinguistics

C. Historical linguistics       D. General linguistics

34. The most distinguishable linguistic feature of a regional dialect is its _____.

A. use of words                B. use of structures

C. accent                          D. morphemes

35. ____ is speech variation according to the particular area where a speaker comes from.

A. Regional variation           B. Language variation

C. Social variation              D. Register variation

36. _______ are the major source of regional variation of language.

A. Geographical barriers

B. Loyalty to and confidence in one’s native speech

C. Physical discomfort and psychological resistance to change

D. Social barriers

37. _________ means that certain authorities, such as the gov-ernment choose, a particular speech variety, standardize it and spread the use of it across regional boundaries.

A. Language interference         B. Language changes

C. Language planning              D. Language transfer

38. _________ in a person’s speech or writing usually ranges on a continuum from casual or colloquial to formal or polite according to the type of communicative situation.

A. Regional variation               B. Changes in emotions

C. Variation in connotations     D. Stylistic variation

39. A ____ is a variety of language that serves as a medium of com-munication among groups of people for diverse linguistic back-grounds .

A. lingua franca                      B. register

C. Creole                               D. national language

40. Although _______ are simplified languages with reduced grammatical features, they are rule-governed, like any human language.

A. vernacular languages              B. creoles

C. pidgins                                 D. sociolects

41. In normal situations, ____ speakers tend to use more prestigious forms than their ____ counterparts with the same social back-ground.

A. female; male                  B. male; female

C. old; young                     D. young; old

42. A linguistic ____ refers to a word or expression that is prohibit-ed by the "polite" society from general use.

A. slang                            B. euphemism

C. jargon                           D. taboo

 

IV. Define the following terms:

43. sociolinguistics               44. speech community

45. speech variety                46. language planning

47. idiolect                           48. standard language

49. nonstandard language       50. lingua franca

51. pidgin                             52. Creole

53. diglossia                          54. Bilingualism

55. ethnic dialect                   56. Sociolect

57. register                            58. slang

59. taboo                              60. euphemism

V. Answer the following questions as comprehensively as possible. Give examples for illustration if necessary:

61. Discuss with examples that the speech of women may differ from the speech of men.

62. Discuss with examples some of the linguistic differences between Standard English and Black English.

63. What is a linguistic taboo? What effect does it have on our use of language?