lundi 19 avril 2010

Sociolinguistics again

I picked up an intro to sociolinguistics ("Sociolinguistics" by Peter Trudgill) a while ago, but I decided it was a bit too fluffy for me. It was basically 200 pages of "Everything affects the way we speak", with some examples.

Something that did surprise me, actually, while reading Trudgill's book was my opposition to one of the points he kept coming back to : all dialects are equally good, valid, and worth preserving. This is clearly the logical extension of my position that I dislike prescriptive grammarians and prefer descriptive grammarians. Perhaps there's just some middle line that I just haven't found yet. Or maybe I've become a language snob without noticing? Maybe I should just accept the fact that for the moment I hold two contradictory world views. Oh well.

Anyway, I headed back to the used bookstore and found another sociolinguistics textbook, this one slightly more rigorous. It was actually the second volume of a two-volume set. The first book was "The Sociolinguistics of Society" and was aimed more at the society end of things, while the second book, "The Sociolinguistics of Language", dealt with more of the linguistics end. I haven't really read much of it yet, but from what I have read it has the more academic approach I'm used to and expect from my books.

3 commentaires:

Allison a dit...

Prescriptive and descriptive approaches to grammar should not really be viewed as two independent approaches with only one being correct.

Allison a dit...

My personal view is that studying and documenting all types of dialects and grammar usage has value, but that does not imply that all dialects and grammar usages are of equal merit in all contexts. Merit being defined in terms of whatever metrics matter to the particular situation (e.g. comprehensibility, precision, poetic elegance, etc). This type of judgement and taste as to what is appropriate in what situation is to some extent individual, but societies tend to form a general consensus.

Allison a dit...

You might find this take on prescriptive vs. descriptive grammarians interesting.