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By Stefania-Farrugia May 12, 2015 455 Words
A person’s regional, social and individual identity can be revealed by the language he or she uses. In an essay of not more than 400 words, discuss with reference to the characteristics and salient features of DIALECT, SOCIOLECT and IDIOLECT.

Linguists commonly use language variety as a cover term for any of the overlapping subcategories of a language, including dialect, idiolect and social dialect. The use of the word variety refer to those different forms that avoid the use of the term language, which many people associate only with the standard language, and the term dialect, which is often associated with non-standard varieties thought of as less prestigious. Dialect is a form of language with distinct features of vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. Any language can be divided into a number of dialects. In the case of English it’s one of the most prestigious being the Standard English. Speakers of the one dialect can understand speakers of more dialect. Dialects are mutually intelligible version of the same language. The term dialect mainly refers to regional dialect that is the different varieties of a language spoken in different geographical regions example: Yorkshire, Cockney. Also differentiate between urban and rural dialect. Dialects usually refer to regional differences in language use. However, it can also be extended to include other types of differences like sociolects and idiolects. Sociolect is a language associated with a particular social group. Social groups that might have their own distinctive styles of language use include those based on socioeconomic status, age, occupation and gender. Socio-economic status has much evidence to show that members of different classes use language differently example: In Britain people from lower class tend to use a regional dialect and people from a higher class have a tendency to use Standard English). Age where the speech between teenagers and older members of society is different. Teenagers have a large ever changing vocabulary of slang words and expressions example: lol or brb. This language serves to strengthen their identity as a social group separates them from the world of adults. Occupation where specialists have their own language. Technical terms are associated with that particular occupation example: architect – concrete, beams; lawyer – quoting the law. Gender refers to the possibility that men and women use language in different ways. The men are more controversial, use slang and swear words more but women tend to use Standard English more. Idiolect is the language use of a single individual. Every individual’s linguistic style is a unique combination of social, regional, educational and other influences. The most obvious difference is in the physical quality of people’s voices but individuals also have words and expressions that they habitually use and grammatical constructions that they especially favour.

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