Sociolinguistics Understanding Languages

According to Stubbs (2014), sociolinguistics is the branch of linguistics that seeks to understand how society influences language use, as well as how language use impacts society. The major interest includes gaining an understanding of the processes involved in acquiring a language, challenges of learning a new language, and how people modify language in different social circumstances. Through studying sociolinguistics, readers appreciate the traditional values of any language. In essence, sociolinguistics is an integral part of the learning all aspects of a language including grammar, meaning and sounds. In the formation of a society, there must exist a common goal pursued by all. Different language aspects assist the society members to agree to focus on the common goals, for example, to increase the security of their neighbourhood, to conduct development projects like building schools or to gather and discuss how to solve various challenges faced by the community. Markedly, the specific ways in which language is used among the society members impact the cooperation level exhibited by all individuals, hence the ability of a language impacting the society (Hayes et al., 2013). In a similar manner, the society may dictate the use of a language with regards to the different social situations in existence, cultural norms of the people, as well as other guiding principles such as ethics, gender rules and ethnicity. Robins (2013) notes that variation is an important aspect of language learning and understanding. Variations may exist as intraspeaker variations or intergroup language variation. Among users or speakers of a particular language, there are not two people who speak exactly the same way hence language variation of the speakers. Therefore, this claim waters down the argument that languages can be referred to as being homogenous as huge variations exist in the utilization of the languages. Apparently, understanding a language requires a large knowledge base on the utilization of sounds and meanings to achieve proper communication. Despite the existence of variations, language learning and understanding is minimally affected within the society. In groundbreaking research, Coates (2015) found out that language variation could be associated with different social factors to explain the role of sociolinguistics and its impact on understanding a language. Since it was difficult to study specific areas of sociolinguistics such as language, dialect, accent, sociolects, register and jargons separately, the research adopted a collective approach to understanding language and the application of sociolinguistics by focusing on linguistics items. As established, learning or gaining an understanding of a language would be easy if one focused on word usage, sounds of the language and its grammatical constructs. The other important aspect to understanding a language through the study of sociolinguistics was the linguistic distribution across regions, for example, it would be easy to learn American English if one understood and used the British English. However, the research revealed problems related to the definition of the term dialect. According to Lupyan and Dale (2015), the term dialect could be understood as the existing geographical variety of a language where the same language spoken by a people differs from one geographical location to another. On the other hand, Coetzee and Pater (2011) defined dialect as a language variety caused by users not only because of geographical differences but also social class and context. The need for understanding language variations could be ascertained through examining different language dialects to appreciate how the variations impact the understanding of a language.

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