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Q: A young woman from a small town in the Ozarks (where she spoke the regional dialect of the area) goes to college and becomes a manager of a major bank in Boston. Years later, she returns to her home
town for a visit, using exclusively Standard American English. Her old friends reject her and find her snobbish. Using what you know about language deviation, why do you think this occurred? Answer in complete sentences.
A: A speech community is a group of people who speak a common dialect. Linguists working on language variation often characterize speech communities in terms of extra-linguistic factors, i.e. along ethnic or geographical lines. [ While this can be useful and can shed light on the hows and whys of dialect variation, it is important to note that the linguists who do this KNOW that there is really
no such thing as a pure dialect spoken only by a particular ethnic group or by people from just one perfectly definable region. In large part, people are in contact with one another and with many varieties of a language. What is considered standard is associated with prestige, a non-linguistic factor. If what makes a language standard or non-standard is not a linguistic issue, what is the difference? Of course, the reality of the situation is that the situation is VERY complex. There are many factors that come into play. But, it is important to note that dialects are intimately related to the notion of prestige within a society. Basically, the standard dialect is the dialect that is associated with prestige in the society at large. Does this mean that all prestigious people MUST speak the standard? No. But an overwhelming number do. That's why we have no trouble associating the standard with prestige. (Just what constitutes prestige is bundled up in a number of issues that are beyond the scope of this review sheet!) This raises an apparently simple question. If the standard confers prestige on its speakers, why doesn't everyone just learn the standard? Well, what looks simple isn't always so simple. One thing is this. The question assumes that everyone is WELCOME to speak the standard. As the case of NY "r" dropping might suggest, when lots of people in NY starting dropping their r's, the prestige group put their "r's" back in. And, if we know anything about dialects at this point, we should know that people's attitudes towards dialects tells us more about their attitudes towards the speakers of those dialects. ]
sls23|Points 1202|
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Asked 4/30/2013 6:40:52 AM
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