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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 accents.


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.

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