Questions tagged [sociolinguistics]

The study of societal effects on language use and of language use on society.

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13 votes
2 answers

How does ghetto talk work in tonal languages?

Among historically low income/education groups in the US and in my native Mexico City, "ghetto talk" is heavy on the use of pitch to convey meaning. I've always attributed this to people compensating ...
suckrates's user avatar
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21 votes
1 answer

How powerful is literacy to slow down language change?

The degree of literacy of a certain community of speakers is generally proposed as one of the factors that affect the pace of language change. More specifically, literacy would slow down change, since ...
Otavio Macedo's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer

What are the differences between theoretical perspectives of the uses of the term "register"?

I'd be interested in asking people about their understanding of the term register and what this signifies for them. This would be a discussion about a specialised term and I'm sure there are multiple ...
Daniel O'Sullivan's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers

Comparing writing systems by ease of encoding/decoding information

Considering the variety of systems of writing, the ease with which someone can receive written information in one system of writing is not precisely identical to that of any other, and I am curious to ...
ProductionValues's user avatar
22 votes
9 answers

Do any languages mark social distinctions other than gender and status?

Many languages have pronouns that reflect gender, and some have pronouns that reflect relative social hierarchy or formality. (To pick an example I actually know, in Dutch the second person singular ...
Jim Davis's user avatar
  • 321
15 votes
5 answers

At what point does a language become its descendant?

With the possible exceptions of constructed languages, languages seem to evolve. As a real-world example, we note that Latin has evolved into Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, etc. What ...
Jeff Zeitlin's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers

What exactly is diglossia?

Any language has a formal variety, primarily (although not exclusively) used in writing, and one or more informal varieties, used in everyday speech. Yet, for some languages, like Norwegian and Arabic,...
Otavio Macedo's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers

Is there any evidence that modern telecommunication slows dialect differentiation?

Consider the area that includes Western Washington and Western Oregon. As many of us know, most English-speakers who were raised in this area speak more or less the same variety of English. ...
James Grossmann's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer

Correlation between politeness of a culture and its languages

In the question Is there any reason why English doesn’t add respectful words in every sentence? that was asking why there's more respectful language in Korean and Japanese compared to English, the ...
Andrew Grimm's user avatar
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10 votes
4 answers

Is this natural: gender concord of direct objects with the past participle in French?

Phrases in French like la photo que j'ai prise (instead of que j'ai pris) have always struck me as unnatural. I've heard a lot of French people who fail to follow this rule when speaking spontaneously,...
user6849's user avatar
  • 212
9 votes
4 answers

In what ways do the fields of linguistics and sociology overlap?

I'm a linguistics major and I'm considering a minor in sociology (among others). In what ways do these fields overlap? More specifically, what types of sociology classes are good for a linguistics ...
Nick Anderegg's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers

Is honorific "uncle" common across the languages of the world?

In Russian and English (and as far as I know Chinese) it's customary for kids to use honorific "uncle" when addressing elders by name (as a kid, you'd rather call an adult "uncle John" than "John", ...
Quassnoi's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer

Charles Hockett - 'F' article?

In the Guardian, there is an article on cultural determinants of phonological feature choice. A recent article in Science supposedly supports the hypothesis that the existence of labiodental ...
Mitch's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer

Which languages marks grammatically for social relationships?

Which languages apart from Japanese, Korean and Javanese encode systematically the relationships between speaker, hearer and referent by means of grammar markers and special sets of vocabulary?
meireikei's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer

How do concepts folk linguistics and language ideology relate to each other?

I'm looking to understand the relationships between two areas of study, folk linguistics (as in Niedzielski & Preston, 2003) and language ideology (as in e.g. Woolard & Schieffelin, 1994 or ...
puslet88's user avatar
  • 247
1 vote
1 answer

Slang, colloquial use, informal speech, etc [closed]

Background The question is motivated by this post in the Russian forum, where the answers repeatedly refer to verb пересечёмся as "young people's slang" or "teenage slang". (пересечёмся = "we'll cross ...
Roger V.'s user avatar
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