SOCIO-LINGUISTICS


          Language is a social-cultural-geographical phenomenon. There is a deep relationship between language and society. It is in society that man acquires and uses language. When we study a language which is an abstraction of abstractions, a system of systems, we have to study its further abstractions such as dialects, sociolects, idiolects, etc. That is why we have to keep in mind the geographical area in which this language is spoken, the culture and the society in which it is used, the context and situation in which it is used, the speakers who use it, the listeners for whom it is used and the purpose for which it is used besides the linguistic components that compose it. Only then can our study of a language be complete and comprehensive. So we must look at language not only from within but also from without: we should study language from both the points of view of form and functions. Socio-linguistics is the study of speech functions according to the speaker. the hearer, their relationship and contact, the context and the situation. The topic of discourse, the purpose of discourse, and the form of the discourse. An informal definition of socio-linguistic suggested by a linguist is the study of: "Who can say what how, using what means, to whom and why." It studies the causes and consequences of linguistic behaviour in human societies: it is concerned with the function of language, and studies language from without.

          Socio-linguistics is a fascinating and challenging field of linguistics. It studies the ways in which language interacts with society. It is the study of the way in which the structure of a language changes in response to its different social functions, and the definition of what these functions are 'Society, here is to cover a spectrum of phenomena to do to with race, nationality, more restricted regional, social and political groups, and the interactions of individuals within groups. Different labels have sometimes been suggested to cover various parts of this spectrum. ETHNOLINGUISTICS is sometimes distinguished from the rest, referring to the linguistic correlates and problems of ethnic groups-illustrated at a  practical level by the linguistic consequences of immigration; there is a language side to race relations. The term ANTHROPOLOGICAL LINGUISTICS is sometimes distinguished from 'sociological linguistics', depending on one's particular views as to the validity or otherwise of a distinction between anthropology and sociology in the first place (for example, the former studying primitive cultures, the latter studying more 'advanced political units; but this distinction is not maintained by many others). 'Stylistics, is another label which is sometimes distinguished, referring to the study of the distinctive linguistics characteristics of smaller social groupings. (But more usually, stylistics refers to the study of the literary expression of a community, using linguistics gradually merges into ethno-linguistics, anthropological linguistics, stylistics and the subject matter of psychology.

          Broadly speaking, however, the study of language as part of culture and society has now commonly been accepted as SOCIOLINGUISTICS. But there are also some other expressions which have been used at one time or another, including the sociology of language', 'social linguistics', 'institutional linguistics', 'anthropological linguistics', linguistic anthropology', 'ethnolinguistics', the 'ethnography of communication', etc.

          The scope of socio-linguistics, therefore, is the interaction of language and various sociologically definable variables such as social class, specific social situation, status and roles of speakers/hearers, etc. As J.B. Pride says, socio-linguistics is not simply 'an amalgam of linguistics and sociology (or indeed of linguistics and any other of the social sciences). It incorporates, in principle at least, every aspect of the structure and use of language that relates to its social and cultural function. Hence there seems no real conflict between the socio-linguistics and the psycho-linguistic approach to language. Both these views should be reconciled ultimately. Linguisticians like John Lyons and cognitive psychologists like Campbell and Wales advocate the necessity of widening the notion of competence to take account of a great deal of what might be called the social context of speech.

          No doubt that the study of language as part of culture and society has the now commonly accepted label sociolinguistics.' But there are also some other expressions which have been used at one time or another, including the sociology of language,' 'social linguistics,' 'institutional linguistics,"sociological linguistics', 'anthropological linguistics', anthropology', ethnolinguistics', and 'the ethnography communication,

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