Linguistique anglaise

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  • Publié le : 4 décembre 2010
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The language is a communication medium which let everyone express a thought, a need, feelings, and ideas. It universality leads a whole society. Sociolinguistic studies language mechanism in terms of language choice according to the individuals, social role in a society and the variations according to social, geographical constraints. So it involves different language varieties depending onwhether people are at home, in family, or at school or work. So the issue is: What factors are involved in their decisions about which variety to use? First of all; we will tackle on the notion of code switching and prestige with the idea of the language as a social difference mirror, secondly we will deal with the language choice in term of synonyms and semantic change. Finally we will deal with thenotion of discourse variation depending on the purpose of a speech and its addressee.
The code switching is a combination of two or more linguistic codes as different languages, dialects or language style. It can occur in a discourse, a dialog or even in the middle of a sentence. The reasons are diversified: the speech topic, the humor of the speaker, the relationship between the speakers(leading a bond for example) and common values of a cultural origin. The focus will now shift to a Spanish/English codes witching in USA Latinos communities which is often called “Spanglish”. A linguist found that despite its low prestige, codes switching is important for signaling social identity. Let’s take the example of an immigrant Mexican family in the USA with a teenage girl , as she’s bilingualbecause she learnt English at school she would prefer speak English to her siblings, she would switch to Spanish for her grand-parents to show her respect toward them. But she can refuse to switch to Spanish for her parents as she shows a rebellion which is emphasized by a non mutual dialog, the American movie Real Women have curves directed by Patricia Cardoso is about Ana Garcia aMexican-American teenager living in Los Angeles with her family. She tries to balance with the traditional ideas of her parents and her contemporary point of view about her view of women in the society. To move on the idea of prestige, we can speak about the notion of diglossia. According to the linguist Charles Ferguson, diglossia is two varieties of a single language used side by side in a single speechcommunity for different functions. There is a dichotomy of “H” (high) used for formal, ceremonial, professional and written functions and a “L”(low) variety used for informal, friendly and spoken function. The most relevant example in Britain is the Cockney (low) and Standard English (H), what-is-more the Cockney is spoken mainly in the lowest social classes. We can notice it in the play Thecaretaker(1959) by Harold Pinter which introduce a character Davies who is a homeless with a strong Cockney accent. There is an other relevant example in a Commonwealth country as Jamaica where English is high because it’s used in administration, laws, medias, so in a public sphere whereas the low dichotomy Jamaican Creole is used in an informal situation, in family for example. Finally to move on the ideaof prestige, we can speak about differences in the pronunciation depending on social classes by studying the case of the social stratification in English of New-York city. In 1966 a study of William Labov of the variable pronunciation of “r” between three socioeconomics groups proved that the highest class pronounce the “r” in “fourth floor” whereas the most employees of the lowest group don’tpronounce the “r”. So to conclude this part, code switching, prestige and diglossia are closely related in the language.
This second part studies the different features of the language choice. First let’s speak about the synonyms. We often use synonyms to avoid repetition, but some words we thinks synonyms have not the same sense in reality. For example “freedom” and “liberty” seems synonyms, but...