Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Language as Social Process

Sociolinguistics is the appropriate contemporary term for the issue and problems that face language and a social community.

Although the term has become over associated with dialects and regional variations of language, it should be used in accordance with its original definition, which referred to any correlation between language use and the social occasion that prompted it.

This would include face to face encounters, speech acts, speech episodes, and the like.

A speech community is at the core of sociolinguistics and has attracted much attention, but its sense remains ambiguous. The concept of speech community is fundamental because it establishes the unit of understanding as social rather than linguistics.

One begins with the problem of a social unit (e.g., family, decision making group, couple, and organization) and then considers the entire communication system that constitutes the social unit.

Language problems are defined as problems of communications and social functioning. Some theorists used term to refer to people who use the same speech signals and thereby emphasize large scale groups who share a language.

Some linguists have used the term in this way to describe the ideal speaker in the ideal speech community.

They are concerned with identifying a language and discovering the universal features of that language.

The term is used in this case to outline a group of speakers who share a tongue. A second use of the term speech community draws on a sociological or anthropological perspective in which a “group of people” is defined according to any of the various cultural or social conditions that occasion their organization

But language is more than a social group’s mechanism for making meaning. Language, or symbol using ability, is the defining characteristics of humans.

Much philosophical inquiry has been devoted to a definition of humankind. Language was born to serve communication and is, therefore a social process; some continued understanding of language is necessary.
Language as Social Process

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