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* The Sociolinguistics * • Language does not exist in a vacuum. • Since language is a social phenomenon it is natural to assume that the structure of a society has some impact on the language of the speakers of that society. • The study of this relationship and of other extralinguistic factors is the subfield of sociolinguistics.

* The Factors Enter into Language Variation * • It’s clear that there are many systematic differences between different languages. (English and Japanese, for example). • By “systematic” we mean describable by rules. But what is not as obvious is that languages also contain many levels of internal variation, related to such variables as age, region, socioeconomic status, group identification, and others. • These various dimensions of variation are systematic in the same way as the variation between different languages is.

* Kinds of Variation Are There in Language * Languages exhibit internal variation at almost all levels of structure. • Phonetic: 1. [t,d,n,s,z] are dental in some New York City dialects. 2. Scottish people and some British people have trilled [r]. • Phonological: 1. difference between caught and cot for some Americans, not others. 2. Standard British English and Bostonian English do not allow V-r-C or V-r-# (park the car) • Morphological: 1. some rural British English dialects have no genitive marking for nouns.