The Linguistic Variables
The linguistic variables are those where the meaning remain constant but form
varies like cat & pussy have the same social meaning but different form.
So far pronunciation is concerned house [h] and with [h] has same social meaning
different pronunciation. Here variables are just the tools to analyze the language to
set social dimensional society.
Apart from the pronunciation, there is no shortage of syntactic variables as in the
(i) Presence or absence of ant/no is black and white adolescent American English
e.g. I didn’t not need any/no apples.
Presence or absence of is/are in Black English
John is tired.
Presence or absence of that conjunction in Standard American English.
They think that is different.
The syntactic variables are structured in creole and particularly in German. But
pronunciation variables are hard to solve as the current state of discovery in
phonological theory where the status if phoneme and the nature of underlying
forms of words is still in doubt give rise to one such problem. As in ‘cart’ and
‘cart’. Trudgil studied [a:] and [α:] that only single dimension frontness/ backness
nut it involves a 2nd dimension of nasal oral since front variant may or may not be
nasalized. But Labov’s quantitative study make it easier to analyse on a single way
dimension and consider both are one variant.
The problem becomes more acute when a large number of phonemic
variables are found i.e. several sifferent contrasts are involved (front/back,
low/raised, with without off glide). Like in bag, back, fat, man and fast. This has
the following range of variants: local prestige is associated to middle class speaker
[ ], but among work class speaker [ ] (relatively raised and front) is used before
velar consonant (bag, back) while other consonant show a variant further back than
[ ] and also sometimes raised, with or without centering off glide giving [ ].
The problem is that we are here following Labov method ordered all into
single method ordernt list. While those extremes of Trudgil can not be reduced to
Calculating score for tents
To calculate the score of a text to compare and show the difference between
the linguistic variables in the speakers speech. A score is calculated for each
variable in each text, which allows text to be compared to respect to one variable at
a time. The score is calculated by assigning values to the variables. Suppose we
have three variables A, B and C. we assign value 1 to A, 2 to B and 3 to C. the
score foe any text is then average of all the scores for the variants in the texts.
Now assume that we have a text containing 12 A’s and 32 B’s and 75 C’s.
To calculate the text score by calculating all the scores for all A’s B’s C’s is
12 + 46 + 225 =283
and dividing it by the total number of variants we get
Text Score= 283 =2.57
There are shortcomings in this method
(i) ordering and ranking of the variables.
(ii) Distribution of variants because it does not give any idea of the relative
contribution made by individual variants.
It is not appropriate as it gives values to one number, not tell us the exact position
or contribution of the variant in calculating or giving accurate result.