Literature Review : Language Attitudes

2398 WordsJun 15, 201510 Pages
Literature Review Draft 1. Introduction to language attitudes Language attitudes, which include people’s perception about the language variety in their own community and language varieties in other communities, has been one of the crucial topics in sociolinguistics since 1960s. When people speak of affective qualities of a language variety, it is not the language that is being evaluated, but an underlying stereotype of the speakers themselves. For this reason, attitudes toward divergent language varieties “are better understood as attitudes towards the members of language communities” rather than the variety itself (Edwards, 1994, p. 89). In this way, then, by judging the speakers of in-group language varieties, respondents are also indirectly evaluating members of these in-groups as well , essentially making qualitative judgments regarding language and their own group identity (Edwards, 1985). Fundamentally, as Edwards (1985) writes, language attitudes “allow some insights into the perception and presentation of identity” (p. 151). Therefore, by looking at attitudes of learners of Mandarin toward regional accented-Mandarin, we can probably understand whether this language variety is more likely to be used, emulated, and accepted throughout learners of Mandarin. The way to figure out what are people’s attitudes towards a language variety is to conduct attitude surveys. Several investigative techniques have been adopted during the long history of language attitude studies,
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