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Language varieties A variety of language as a set of linguistic items with similar distribution (Hudson) Any body of human speech patterns which is sufficiently homogeneous to be analyzed by available techniques of synchronic description and which has a sufficiently large repertory of elements and their arrangements or process with broad enough semantic scope to function in all formal contexts of communication (ferguson)
(Hudson & Ferguson) They agree in defining variety in terms of a specific set of ‘linguistic item’ or ‘ human speech pattern’ (presumably, sounds, words, grammatical features, etc) which we can uniquely associate with some external factor ( presumably, a geographical area or social group)
dialects A variety of language which differs grammatically, phonologically and lexically from other varieties, and which is associated with a particular social class or status group.
accent Varieties which differ from one another only in pronunciation are known as accent
styles. Varieties which are associated only with particular social situations are known as styles. Language variation which reflect changes in situational factors such as addressee, setting, task or topic
Dialect contact Contact between linguistic varieties which results from communication between speakers of different but mutually intelligible dialects, often involving accommodation.
Such communication is of course very common indeed, but, from the point of view of sociolinguistics, such contacts are particularly interesting where they occur on large scale, such as at dialect boundaries (isogloss) or as result of urbanization or colonization. In these cases, phenomena such as dialect mixture.
Dialect mixture A consequence of large scale, long term dialect contact in which face-to-face interaction between speakers of different dialects, stemming from developments such as emigration or urbanisation, leads to accommodation between these speakers and thus the mixing of different dialect form
The end result of the mixture may ultimately be the formation of a new dialect, such as Australian English, with speakers selecting a combination of forms from different dialects which are present in the mixture for retention, and discarding others. The new dialect will typically have the linguistic characteristics of a koine
Register A technical term from sociolinguistics and particularly associated with the work of Michael Halliday which is used to describe a language variety that is associated with a particular topic, subject or activity. More narrowly to describe the specific vocabulary associated with different occupational groups.
DISCUSSION1. WHICH LANGUAGE(S) DO YOU SPEAK?2. DO YOU SPEAK A DIALECT OF X?3. WHERE IS THE BEST X SPOKEN?4. WHAT IS YOUR NATIVE LANGUAGE (OR MOTHER TONGUE) ?5. DO YOU SPEAK x WITH AN ACCENT? IF SO, WHAT ACCENT?