Sociolinguists: Focus on Elements of LanguageIntroductionLanguage is that medium of expression which puts perspectives into motion through the use of words and sentences. The knowledge of a language is akin to the art of knowing about an entire culture, nation and people. This paper seeks to discuss the fact that sociolinguists focus on the spoken rather than written form to study the variations in languages. This will be done by pitting the perspective of the generativists against that of the sociolinguist to analyse and understand the reason behind attaching importance to the spoken rather than the written word.
(Meyerhoff, 2006) SociolinguisticsBefore moving on, it is imperative to delve deeper into the definition of sociolinguistic. In this regard, the primary assumption is that the knowledge of a language structures one’s overall life experiences. (Girvin, 2000) A sociolinguist attaches great importance to this premise when studying the various kinds of expressions, in a bid to understand the basic realities surrounding the individual in terms of environment and cultural identity. Here, it is imperative to point out that the study of social relations through the study of languages is basically a matter of studying a person’s experiences and learning process. As regards, the social relations aspect of a sociolinguist’s basic agenda, language may be defined as a form of expression that reveals a person’s identity and gives him or her a sense of belonging.
Thus, it is true that language shapes a peson’s experiences. The sociolinguistic defines this as a phenomenon that is an age old tradition in the field of sociology. Social relations and the study of the same are a vital part of exploring one’s basic feel for the identity that an environment, culture or society offers him.
How does a person do so? (Meyerhoff, 2006) To begin with, the role of language in one’s life is one that fulfils the need to belong. This sense of belonging springs from one’s immediate environment where there is focus on the language one speaks along with complementary elements like accent, nuances and other such features that form the general social and cultural terrain of the particular place. Language offers people first hand knowledge of a variety of symbols that one comes to associate with a place.
This in turn generates a more enriching quality to one’s experiences. (Mercer, 1996)The sociolinguist defines this as a building process. The practice of gaining a sense of affiliation as far as one’s cultural and social identity is concerned, is a part of building a body of knowledge where language thrives with several sub elements. These sub elements include diction, use of the negative, pronunciation, punctuation of gaps in speech as well as dialects. A sociolinguist bases his study on the nuances that form a part of each of these sub elements.
In doing so, he gains vital information that shows how languages can structure experiences and help a person inherit a certain social standing by way of his or her means of expression. This means of expression is a part of using language and how a person does so. (Meyerhoff, 2006)