Course: Language Variation & Stylistics (5665) Level: MA TEFL
Semester: Spring, 2012 Total Marks: 100 Pass Marks: 40
ASSIGNMENT No. 1
This assignment is based on the units, chapters, reading passages, and the supplementary reading material of this course. We would advise you to read the relevant chapters, units, reading passages and extracts to answer the questions that follow. Read the extract that deals with the definitions of „Dialect‟, „Standard and Non Standard Language‟, „National Language‟ and „Varieties of English‟, and „Stylistics‟. Also read the relevant course material that define and explain these terms and then answer the questions that follow. A dialect is a variety of a language that is characteristic of a particular group of the speakers‟ language. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors, such as social class. Dialect therefore, is a variety of a language that is distinguished from other varieties of the same language by features of phonology, grammar, and vocabulary and by its use by a group of speakers who are set off from others geographically or socially. A dialect associated with a particular social class can be termed a „sociolect’. Often, the standard language is close to the sociolect of the elite class. Anthropological linguists define dialect as the specific form of a language used by a speech community. In other words, the difference between language and dialect is the difference between the abstract or general and the concrete and particular. From this perspective, no one speaks a "language," everyone speaks a dialect of a language. Those who identify a particular dialect as the "standard" or "proper" version of a language are in fact using these terms to express a social distinction. Modern-day linguists know that the status of language is not solely determined by linguistic criteria, but it is also the result of a historical and political development. 1
While making a distinction in terms of pronunciation, the term accent is appropriate, not dialect (although in common usage, "dialect" and "accent" are usually synonymous). British linguists distinguish dialect from accent, which refers only to pronunciation. Thus, any educated English speaker can use the vocabulary and grammar of Standard English, but different speakers use their own regional accent, or „Received Pronunciation‟, which within the U.K. is considered an accent distinguished by class rather than by region. American linguists, however, include pronunciation differences as part of the definition of regional or social dialects (better called varieties). Standard and non-standard dialects Standard language also termed as standard dialect, standardized dialect, or standardized dialect, is a particular variety of a language that has been given either legal or quasi-legal status. Choice of standard language is often connected to issues of prestige, is usually associated to economically and culturally important regions, and is linked with economically important groups (higher classes). It is said to be the most “correct” dialect of language. A standard language is a dialect that is supported by institutions. Such institutional support may include government recognition or designation; presentation as being the "correct" form of a language in schools; published grammars, dictionaries, and textbooks that set forth a "correct" spoken and written form; and an extensive formal literature that employs that dialect (prose, poetry, non-fiction, etc.). There may be multiple standard dialects associated with...