Historically, the study of language in society features three perspectives: Geographical perspective (since 19th century),
Anthropological perspective (since 1920s), the study of language and culture Sociological perspective (since 1960s). Anthropology, sociology A major distinction is made between the geographical perspective, also referred to as traditional dialectology, and the sociological perspective, or modern dialectology. Dialectology as such is the study of dialects of a language with a focus on their distribution (regional and/or social) and characteristic linguistic features. modern dialectology or sociolinguistics is used generally for the study of the relationship between language and society. Traditional and modern dialectology study dialects with a difference in scientific focus: Traditional Dialectology | Modern Dialectology |
Since 19th century| Since 1960s|
Geographical Sociolinguistics| Sociological Sociolinguistics| Focus on rural areas| Focus on urban areas|
Focus on regional variation/varieties: accent and lexicon| Focus on social variation/varieties: accent, lexicon and grammar| Focus on NORMS (Non-mobile Old Rural Male Speakers)| Less restricted focus: study of diverse social groups (age, class, male/female…)| Elicitation of information via questionnaires and interviews (tape-recorded)| Plus corpora, modern statistical methods for analysis of linguistic data| Result: creation of linguistic maps (dialect maps) with isoglosses indicating dialectal borders| | Also: regional dialectology or dialect geography| Also: social dialectology or urban dialectology| ISOGLOSSES: Isoglosses are borderlines on a dialect map, i.e. (imaginary) lines illustrating the geographical distribution of studied linguistic features (e.g. lexical, phonological). On a linguistic map they can locate dialectal regions and by means of this indicate dialect boundaries. A dialect boundary can be drawn...