- An analysis of linguistic variation between Standard Engli...
An analysis of linguistic variation between Standard English and the regional dialect of Tyneside Illustrate your essay with specific examples.
Sociolinguistics, particularly William Labov's quantitative
analyses of linguistic variation and change, attempts to explain
how social factors such as socio-economic grouping, age, race and
gender affect language use (see Labov 1966a, 1970, 1972a). The idea
is that these social variables can then be used to study linguistic
behaviour in a range of communities. The concept of Standard
English (SE) is a useful contrastive tool for describing regional
variation in terms of grammar (encompassing morphology and syntax)
and lexis, where Received Pronunciation (RP) - traditionally
associated with Southern accents and the middle and upper classes -
is useful for observing phonological variation in regional
This analysis of the grammatical, lexical and phonological
distinctions between the regional dialect of Tyneside and
standardised usages of English has illuminated a number of features
that dialectologists and sociolinguists have associated with the
traditional dialect of the area, and processes of language
variation and change. The paralinguistic attributes of the
informant (young, urban, middle class female) in opposition to
Chambers & Trudgill's model of the NORM, were designed to
reveal a survival of traditional dialect features in the face of
issues such as dialect levelling. The data revealed that certain
vowel sounds, lexical items and grammatical features traditionally
associated with the Tyneside dialect are still in use, although of
course a wider study with a range of informants, representing
different age ranges, socio-economic groupings and of both genders,
would produce a more accurate portrayal of present-day urban usage.
The structure of the questionnaire comprising a set of direct
questions, also may limit the quantity of grammatical constructions
elicited; a more indirect approach may encourage greater discussion
of dialect variants, something that a denser study would enable.
Despite this, a clear resistance to SE and RP is evident from the
collected data, which I believe will continue to prevail even as
dialect contact increases, as regional dialect is such an integral
part of an individual's identity.