Download e-book for iPad: An introduction to English sociolinguistics by Graeme Trousdale

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By Graeme Trousdale

ISBN-10: 0748630007

ISBN-13: 9780748630004

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Extra resources for An introduction to English sociolinguistics

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In other words, motivations for language planning may stem from perceived problems in the society, which may be addressed by changes to the form and/or function of a particular language, or set of languages. Not all of these problems are necessarily resolved by governmental intervention: some kinds of language planning may take place at a local and even individual level; furthermore, the planning may not fulfil the political aims. Choosing to avoid what is perceived as politically incorrect language (for example, using the term chairperson rather than chairman, to avoid inherently sexist language) may be a personal choice, though it may also be promoted by other groups.

4 Communities of practice Communities of practice are defined by three particular characteristics: mutual engagement, a jointly negotiated enterprise, and a shared repertoire (Wenger 1998; see also Eckert and McConnell-Ginet 1992a). An example of a community of practice is a school rock band. Here, a number of individuals come together in face-to-face contact (mutual engagement) for a particular purpose, that is, to play music (jointly negotiated enterprise), often conversing using jargon common in discourse on popular music, such as riff, bridge, amp, bass guitar and so on (shared repertoire).

A national language is one which functions very much as an identity marker. It works to strengthen the bond between a community of speakers and a set of linguistic forms (however fuzzy the distinction between different communities and different languages may be, as we saw in the previous chapters). Indeed, to declare a particular variety to be a national language may increase the subjective associations between language and the notion of a ‘nation state’. By contrast, an official language has a much less affective function: it is simply a language that is used for governmental, bureaucratic business.

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An introduction to English sociolinguistics by Graeme Trousdale


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