The Influence of Social Class on Language Variation. (the Case of Pygmalion)

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  • Topic: Politeness maxims, Politeness, Politeness theory
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*The Influence of Social Class on Language Variation.
(The Case of Pygmalion)
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*Introduction:

-The aim of this paper is to introduce the ways in which language can vary, including change over time and variation within linguistic communities, the effects of contact between speakers of different languages and dialects, the development of language as it is being acquired and learned, the sporadic errors which can occur in normal language production, and the nature of speech and languages disorders (According to the study of the play called "Pygmalion" which we are going to talk about further on). Understanding these phenomena of language variation requires familiarity with, in particular, Sociolinguistics and Leech's Politeness Theory, so this paper also serves as an introduction to those areas. -The focus of much recent research has been the study of social variation in language, that is, differences between speakers of different ages, genders, social classes or identities.

-The results of this variation are considered in the paper, and also models of how such variation arises or is leveled out under different social conditions and how the situations of extensive contact between speakers of different languages or dialects lead to other interesting linguistic effects. -Moreover, In order to approach the core of the subject in our hands, we have to know and understand several definitions and theories at first.

*Sociolinguistics:
-Is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used, and the effects of language use on society. Sociolinguistics differs from sociology of language in that the focus of sociolinguistics is the effect of the society on the language, while the latter's focus is on the language's effect on the society. Sociolinguistics overlaps to a considerable degree with pragmatics.

-It is historically closely related to linguistic anthropology and the distinction between the two fields has even been questioned recently.

*Geoffrey Leech’s Theory In Politeness:
-According to Geoffrey Leech, there is a politeness principle with conversational maxims similar to those formulated by Paul Grice. He lists six maxims: tact, generosity, approbation, modesty, agreement, and sympathy. The first and second form a pair, as do the third and the fourth. These maxims vary from culture to culture: what may be considered polite in one culture may be strange or downright rude in another.

The Tact maxim

-The tact maxim states: 'Minimize the expression of beliefs which imply cost to other; maximize the expression of beliefs which imply benefit to other.' The first part of this maxim fits in with Brown and Levinson's negative politeness strategy of minimizing the imposition, and the second part reflects the positive politeness strategy of attending to the hearer's interests, wants, and needs:

Could I interrupt you for a second?
If I could just clarify this then.

The Generosity maxim

-Leech's Generosity maxim states: 'Minimize the expression of beliefs that express or imply benefit to self; maximize the expression of beliefs that express or imply cost to self.' Unlike the tact maxim, the maxim of generosity focuses on the speaker, and says that others should be put first instead of the self. You relax and let me do the dishes.

You must come and have dinner with us.

The Approbation maxim

-The Approbation maxim states: 'Minimize the expression of beliefs which express dispraise of other; maximize the expression of beliefs which express approval of other.' It is preferred to praise others and if this is impossible, to sidestep the issue, to give some sort of minimal response (possibly through the use of euphemisms), or to remain silent. The first part of the maxim avoids disagreement; the second part intends to make other people feel good by showing solidarity. I...
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