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What is Sociolinguistics? Explain Its Scope and Origin. BS. English (4th Semester) The Women University Multan.
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Sociolinguistics’ Assignment of Group no. 01.
Topic: What is Sociolinguistics, its Origin and its Scope?
Roll no.07 Aleena Farooq.
Roll no. 29 Ariba Tariq.
Roll no. 31 Anza Naeem.
Roll no. 32 Iqra Riaz.
Roll no. 39 Zulaikha Hameed.
Roll no. 49 Amna Hanif.
What is Sociolinguistics?
Sociolinguistics is a branch of linguistics dealing with the relationship between Language and
Society. It deals with the effect of Language on society and the effect of society on Language,
both. The language is the communication tool and the society is the communities of people; the
place is very important because the language style of people reflect the place they belong to.
Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of language, including
cultural, expectations, context, and the effects of language use on society. The aim of
sociolinguistic investigation is to achieve a further progress in the knowledge of nature and the
operation of human language by the study of language in its social context. Sociolinguistics is an
interdisciplinary science which is concerned with relationships between language and society. It
studies how language varieties differ between groups separated by certain social variables, e.g.,
ethnicity, religion, status, gender, level of education, age, etc . Many Linguists defined
Sociolinguistics, some definitions are mentioned below:
“We can define sociolinguistics as the study of language in relation to society.”
“Sociolinguistics is that part of linguistics which is concerned with language as a social
and cultural phenomenon.” (Peter Trudgill, 1983)
“Sociolinguistics is concerned with investigating the relationship between language and
society with the goal of a better understanding of the structure of language, and how
language functions in communication.” (Ronald Wardaugh, 1986)
“Sociolinguistics is any study of language in relation to society.” (Peter Matthew, 1997)
“Sociolinguistics is the field that studies the relation between language and society,
between the uses of language and the social structures in which the users of language
live.” (Bernard Spolsky, 1998)
Origin of Sociolinguistics:
“Sociolinguistics has its roots in dialectology, historical linguistics, and language contact with
considerable influence from sociology and psychology. This is why it has evolved into an
exceptionally broad field.” Sociolinguistics is a new discipline of Linguistics, it Developed in
the last 30 years. Sociolinguistics gives a meaning by combining two words “socio” and
“linguistics.” There are many Linguists who contributed in explaining the origin of
sociolinguistics. Some important Linguists and their contributions are mentioned below:
He studied about the linguistic competence. The grammatical use of language by an idealized
speaker. His view lacked in social and structural view of language.
He studied language socially. He told two main points:
1. Knowledge about the Grammatical use of language.
2. Knowledge of the Social and cultural aspects of language.
He is called the Father of Sociolinguistics. He studied sociolinguistics as an independent subject.
He studied the Variation in Language.
He said that all Languages are equally important, no language is superior or inferior to the other
He gave 3 functions of Language, known as Meta-funtions;
Saussure: The structure of langue/parole & the diachronic/synchronic was suggested by
Ferdinand De Saussure.
1. Langue/Parole – Internal Linguistics. (phonology, morphology, syntax)
2. Diachronic/synchronic – External Linguistics. (Acquisition & use of language and the
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Scope of Sociolinguistics:
Sociolinguistics tells about the usage of language. It tells about the socio-economic situation of a
person. In Sociolinguistics language is studied on three levels; structural and functional.
1. Structural: Studies the use of vocabulary, pronunciation, tense, sentence order.
2. Functional: Studies the functions of language.
3. Social: Studies the use of langue and parole.
Sociolinguistics is further divided into 2 approaches, Micro and Macro.
Micro-Sociolinguistics: Micro-sociolinguistics refers to the research with a linguistic lean
focusing on dialect and stylistic/register variation. It is focused upon the description-analysis of
languages. (Individual level/small groups) Micro-sociolinguistics explores the ways in which
society influences a speaker's idiolect - meaning the specific language of a person - and how
people communicate with one another in line with different social variables/factors and how
language varies with social attributes such as class, sex, and age.
Macro-Sociolinguistics: This approach emphasizes on Society. It focuses more on society
as a whole in relation to language, that is the study of language related to how the society treats
the language. Macro Sociolinguistics looks at issues as to why immigrants keep their native
language in some contexts and not in others, or how social identity can affect language. It is
focuses on the study of language. (Large-scale - group behavior). It studies what societies do
with their languages, such as: attitudes that account for the functional distribution of speech
forms in society, language shift, maintenance, and replacement, the delimitation and interaction
of speech communities.
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