By Moazzam Ali To download more lectures Visit www.uogenglish.wordpress.com
DIGLOSSIA AS DEFINED BY FERGUSON
“Diglossia is a relatively stable situation in which, in addition to the primary dialects of the language (which may include a standard or regional standards), there is a divergent, highly codified (often grammatically more complex) superposed variety,…which is learned largely by formal education and is used for most written and formal spoken purposes but is not used by any sector of the community for ordinary conversation.” Ferguson (1959, p.336)
Diglossic situation exists in a society when it has two distinct codes/languages which show clear functional separation; that is, one is employed in one set of circumstances and the other is entirely different set. “high” variety = prestige language (public language) in a diglossic situation. “low” variety = non-prestige (“home language”) language in a diglossic context
HIGH VS. LOW LANGUAGE
Public Prestige School, government Literary tradition Signals high status
Private Non-prestige Home, playground Often unwritten Signals intimacy
EXAMPLES OF DIGLOSSIA
Languages High Varieties (H) Low Varieties (L)
Colloquial Varieties of Arabic Swiss German
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Function Prestige Literary heritage Acquisition Standardization Stability Lexicon
A key defining characteristic of diglossia is that two varieties are kept quite apart functionally. One is used in one set of circumstances and the other in an entirely different set. For example, „H‟ varieties are used for sermons and formal lectures whereas „L‟ varieties are used for the conversation with friends and family members.
Functions of Language use Instruction to servants
Speech in parliament University lecture
Conversation with friends
Newspaper editorial X
The „H‟ variety is the prestige variety; the „L‟ variety lacks prestige. In fact, there can be so little prestige attached to the „L‟ variety people may even deny that they know it although they may be observed to use it far more frequently than the „H‟ variety. It is also believed by these speakers that „H‟ variety is more beautiful, logical and expressive than the „L‟ variety
In a diglossic community, considerable body of literature will be found to exist in „H‟ variety and almost none in „L‟ variety. Speakers will gain prestige from being able to allude to classic recourses whereas the folk literature associated with the „L‟ variety will have none of the same prestige.
In a diglossic community, all children learn the „L‟ variety at home. Some children may concurrently learn „H‟ variety but many do not learn it at all. The „H‟ variety is learnt in a formal setting like classroom.
„H‟ variety enjoys the availability of grammars, dictionaries, standardized texts. On the other hand, „L‟ variety usually has no comparable grammars, dictionaries and standardized texts.
Diglossic situation in a community typically persists at least several centuries, and evidence in some cases seems to show that it can last well over a thousand years.
CHARACTERISTICS OF DIGLOSSIA LEXICON
includes in its total lexicon technical terms and learned expressions which have no regular „L‟ equivalents, since the subjects involved are rarely if ever...