Diversity Within English Essay

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Diversity Within English


In order to understand how language variation descriptors are used, we
first must understand what language variation is. We can say that the U.S. is
linguistically diverse because of the multitude of languages spoken here, but
we can also find diversity within these languages. All languages have both
dialectical variations and registral variations. These variations, or dialects,
can differ in lexicon, phonology, and/or syntax from the Standard Language that
we often think of as Œcorrect' Language, although they are not necessarily less
proper than, say, Standard English. It depends on where, by whom, and in what
situation the dialect is used as to whether or not it is appropriate.
Most people are
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1. Social indicators - the speaker, and often the listener, is not
aware that these items are socially significant in revealing one's social status,
so the speaker makes no attempt to avoid them when speaking in a more formal
style. This would be someone who wants to take your picture, rather than your
photograph.
2. Social markers - the speaker is sensitive to these items and will
avoid them in a more formal style of speech, although the speaker may not be
fully aware of why. Examples would be avoiding contractions, and phrases like
gonna or didja. Social markers are much more prevalent in American English than
social indicators.
3. Social stereotypes - even speakers who regularly use these types of
dialects are fully aware of the stigma attached to them. Social stereotypes
would include the copula deletion in Black English, and the loosing of sounds a
la Joe Pesci that produce phrases such as doze tree guys.

Closely related to these social class factors are education and
occupation. While occupations often produce their own jargons, a person's
occupation will also determine what style of speech is used. A lawyer and a
laborer would not be likely to use the same dialect on the job. Likewise, a
person with little education is not likely to use the same style of speech as a
college professor. This does not imply that the lawyer and college professor
speak a Œbetter' variety of English, but because of more exposure to,…