By R. Mesthrie
Presents uniquely complete and authoritative details on all features of sociolinguistics.
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Additional resources for Concise encyclopedia of sociolinguistics
The study of language within particular contexts has always been recognized as a crucial means to understand linguistic structures. However, for those linguists working within the Chomskyan perspective, the social parameters of language use have not been considered important to theorizing meaning production. This situation has resulted in the further development of the field of Anthropological Linguistics as a center for research into theories of meaning production that include social context. The study of language has always been important to anthropologists, particularly those anthropologists whose tradition follows from the work of the German-born Franz Boas on Native American languages (see Boas, Franz).
3. Emphases in Sociolinguistics Chomsky's insistence in the 1950s and 1960s on abstracting language away from everyday contexts 1 Introduction ironically led to the distillation of a core area of sociolinguistics, opposed to his conception of language. In a now infamous passage Chomsky (1965: 3) argued that linguistic theory should be concerned primarily with an ideal speaker-listener, in a completely homogeneous speech community, who knows its language perfectly and who is unaffected when applying his knowledge of the language in actual performance.
The congruence may be greatest if the verbally expressed attitude and overt behavior are at the same level of generality; a person may usually favor one political party, but may occasionally vote for a particular attractive candidate from another party. Behavior may be influenced by multiple attitudes about different aspects of it; a voter may oppose some policies of a candidate and favor others, so the pollster will have to ask about several different attitudes, and find some method of weighting them in the proper combination before a perfect prediction of voting behavior can be expected.