Literature Review on Language Variation

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Literature Review on Language Variation

Category: Communication

Subcategory: Culture

Level: University

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Literature Review on Language Variation
Between any two speakers of a given language, there exists a type of variation in how the language is used between them. For instance, the variation may be demonstrated by the difference in linguistics by the sound, phonetically, or by the structure, grammatically. Holmes & Wilson (2017), in their book An introduction to sociolinguistics, say that in some cases, there might be slight variations, like in grammatical structure or in slight changes in pronunciations; which do not hinder intergroup interactions. The act of studying the relationship between society and language is, thus, referred to as sociolinguistics. The study of sociolinguistics is of great significance to sociolinguistics students and a good reference point for applied linguistics, linguistics, just as much as in the study of the English language.
In discussing language variation, through which the author looks into the social aspects which impact on the choice of language within a society, Chambers & Schilling (2013) first acknowledges that language variations occur from one place to another, a specific social group to another, or one given the situation to another. Some of the authors, for instance Wardhaugh (2011), when explaining the criticalness of explaining geographical considerations in language variations, he says “Those who seek to investigate the possible relationships between language and society must have a twofold concern: they must ask good questions, and they must find the right kinds of data that bear on those questions” (pg. 17).
In their discussions of language variations, the authors mention ‘diglossia,’ as another possibility for language variation in a society. ‘Diglossia,’ as used in the texts, is used for a society using two different selections, mostly different for the lay individuals who see the languages as distinct from one another, in which one of the languages is only used in the everyday and normal circumstances; whereas the other language is used in public and formal occasions. As in such situations, the two varieties of language are seen as ‘standard’ and ‘low’ or simply ‘high’ and ‘low.’ Furthermore, the members of the community at such instances may also have their language variations impacted by their levels of education, aspiration, age, and life experiences. In an attempt to understand diglossia in the Arabic language variation, Al-Sobh, Abu-Melhim & Bani-Hani (2015) carry a theoretical and qualitative study in nature, and in which they survey what linguistics and scholars claim about Arabic diglossia. Al-Sobh et al. (2015) found that there existed different language version for distinct purposes; in which the ‘high’ language variety is used for media, education, religious, and governmental purposes, whereas the ‘low’ language variety is used when shopping, and such like activities.
Rather than the normal consideration of language and society, sociolinguistics’ sphere of activity may also be related to language and culture. When looking at sociolinguistics at the basis of language and culture, the most typical issues considered include kinship terms, politeness, linguistic relativity, color terms, honorifics, address systems, or varied styles of communication across a culture. As discussed by Hickey (2012), all the aspects of culture induce the supposed differences in language variations, and from them ‘ethnography of communication,’ is mentioned and concerns itself with speech plans in cultures, which vary substantially.
Language variation by gender is also brought into consideration in some of the work, and from which the standard of a language is associated with prestige. Based on the articles written by Hickey, (2005) and Wardhaugh (2011), women are revealed to be lovers of the more standard language as compared to men; an aspect brought about by their position in the western societies. The findings are also backed with (Coates, 2015) who cites that the feminism and feminist theories majorly influenced the growth of gender and language research; an aspect which points out how women are usually on the vanguard of linguistic novelties.

Al-Sobh, M. A., Abu-Melhim, A. R. H., & Bani-Hani, N. A. (2015). Diglossia as a result of language variation in Arabic: Possible solutions in light of language planning. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 6(2), 274-279.
Chambers, J. K., & Schilling, N. (Eds.). (2013). The handbook of language variation and change (Vol. 129). John Wiley & Sons.
Coates, J. (2015). Women, men and language: A sociolinguistic account of gender differences in language. Routledge.
Hickey, R. (Ed.). (2005). Legacies of colonial English: Studies in transported dialects. Cambridge University Press.
Hickey, R. (Ed.). (2012). The handbook of language contact. John Wiley & Sons.
Holmes, J., & Wilson, N. (2017). An introduction to sociolinguistics. Routledge.
Wardhaugh, R. (2011). An introduction to sociolinguistics (Vol. 28). John Wiley & Sons.

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