In what way BBI 3204 Introduction to Sociolinguistics has help me to understand society and its relationship with language
The question that you pose to me was what has this course made me aware of society and its relationship with language. I feel that this question is a more of general, application and personal tone. Therefore I am going to write about my experience and my understanding in relation to this course.
First of all, I understand that sociolinguistic is the study about language in connection to society. How do I define language? I see language as a tool. It serves a range of functions. Language is also like a vehicle or a medium in human interaction. Society means a community of people living in a particular country or region and having shared customs, laws, organizations and etc. Then what is the relationship between society and language? In my opinion, when people use language to communicate, the language itself has become part of society. There are many possibilities about the relationship between language and society. The possibilities are society influences language, or language influences society, or society and language influence each other or no influence at all.
As an example, my name reflects that I am a Chinese. But I do not speak a single word of Chinese nor can I even write a single Chinese character. Instead, I speak fluent Bahasa Melayu and English. How can this be? This is because of my upbringing and my interactions with the community I live in. My parents communicate using non-standard Bahasa or Malay that is Peranakan ( Chinese Straits) to their children. When I ask them why they can t speak Chinese, they say that their parents never taught them although I knew my grandparents do speak in one of the chinese dialect. My parents felt comfortable communicating in Peranakan as the surrounding neighbours too are using the language. As for me, I get to learn the language as my mother tongue...