Speech Communities

1429 Words Feb 14th, 2008 6 Pages
In the New Merriam-Webster Dictionary a speech community is defined as a socially distinct group that develops a dialect; a variety of language that diverges from the national language in vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. Gumperz, Dorian, Fishman, Labov, Hymes, and Corder helped define a speech community. This essay will touch on the basis of multiple aspects of a speech community depending on their similarities and differences as well as how the concepts of these speech communities relate to such articles written by Heller and Jackson.

Speech communities are formed by language and social behaviors. Linguistics defines a speech community through many ways. All speech communities have a set of grammatical rules, phonology, syntax,
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The French and English speaking communities studied by Heller is an example of this.

Monica Heller's article, "Negotiation of language choice in Montreal" took place in Montreal, Canada. She worked with a bilingual speech community of French and English. During her studies and observations, she has come to the realization that Montreal's interaction and socialization of individuals living in Montreal has become a political act. She says that even buying a pair of socks has become a problem. She quotes, "In the place of unconscious, or semi-conscious, use of language in everyday life is an extreme awareness of language, a new way of holding conversations that involves the negotiation of language choice in every interaction. That awareness of language comes from the symbolic role it has in political life, and from the social value it has acquired as an obvious characteristic of the social groups involved in sifting relationships." Not only do people have to know the different types of "implicit" and "explicit" strategies to be able to hold a conversation, but they also have to know the individuals ethnic background.

Montreal has gone through many changes due to his
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