Theorists for Standard and Non-standard English

  • Created by: lwilson23
  • Created on: 04-02-19 15:36

William Labov

- studied non-prevocalic /r/ - adopted scientific approach in speech of New Yorkers. Hypothesised that the upper middle classes were more inclined to pronounce /r/ as an indicator of social prestige

- used three stores - Saks Fifth Avenue (UMC), Macy's (LMC) and Klein's (WC). 

- found after conducting his study that /r/ inclusion was highest in Saks and lowest in Klein's - proving his hypothesis that social stratification does occur in language. Marker of social prestige. 

- LMC tend to be socially/linguistically insecure and often overcompensate for their lack of social prestige due to this via /r/ inclusion. 

- Labov could only really conclude that /r/-less pronunciation lost ground in the late 1940s. 

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Peter Trudgill

- used Labov methods to study the pronunciation of the standard RP velar nasal /n/ (elongate n's second half) in Norwich - a geographically entrenched location. 

- walkin' (hard /n/ rather than velar nasal) more a feature of casual speech than formal - non-standard forms used more notably in males than females. 

- men pulled away from the RP norm - COVERT PRESTIGE

- women moved towards the RP norm - OVERT PRESTIGE

- difference may be due to women tending to be more status conscious than men or males tend to be more associated with 'roughness' and 'toughness' and would therefore speak in a much more harsh way. 

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- studied perception of accents in the UK - linked with intelligence

- participants associated Yorkshire accents with sounding the most intelligent whereas Birmingham accents were labelled as the least intelligent - showed stereotyping based on accent. 

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