Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

work, studying, science, nature
User avatar
Uncle Ants
Posts: 2389
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 13:04

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by Uncle Ants » Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:28

tonieee wrote:I took it as being absolute North, especially from this:
80sfan wrote:yeah, i've read about this before. you can put someone from these groups in a pitch black room and spin them around. once they've stopped, they'll be able to tell you which direction (north, south southwest) they're facing.
The experiment with the vibrating device shows that you can be trained to tell. I know that some animals have the ability - it must be based on having some kind of magnetic sense somewhere in the body.
Ah. I didn't see that bit. Interesting - birds can do it, so it's not an impossibility. I wonder why it's a sense we don't have instinctively?

Edit ... or maybe some groups of people like the kuuk thaayore DO have it instinctively and that is why their language developed the way it has rather than the language causing them to develop the ability ... if you see what I mean.

Edit my edit ... I read the whole article and yes it's absolute, and yes the kuuk thaayore have the ability to know how they are oriented in relation to the points of the compass ... But I'm not convinced her theory is sound. She maintains that it is the language which gives them this sort of spatial awareness, but thinking about it having this sort of spatial awareness is an absolute necessity for the language to work. Isn't it more likely that the kuuk thaayore have the ability instinctively and their use of language is a direct result of the ability, not the other way round?
Last edited by Uncle Ants on Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:56, edited 3 times in total.
In Recordeo Speramus

User avatar
andyroo
Posts: 1831
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 12:15
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: Irlanda

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by andyroo » Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:35

humblebee wrote:
crystalball wrote:Kuuk Thaayorre
That's what they say when they give you a soft drink in Dewsbury.
I just wanted to give this due credit. Brilliant!
There ain't no-one gonna turn me round

User avatar
tonieee
Posts: 4497
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 08:40
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/tonieee
Location: Sheffield Sex City
Contact:

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by tonieee » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:03

Uncle Ants wrote:Ah. I didn't see that bit. Interesting - birds can do it, so it's not an impossibility. I wonder why it's a sense we don't have instinctively?

Edit ... or maybe some groups of people like the kuuk thaayore DO have it instinctively and that is why their language developed the way it has rather than the language causing them to develop the ability ... if you see what I mean.
We may have it instinctively but not developed very well as we don't really need it anymore. We can train ourselves to have it as shown by the kuuk thaayore and the vibrating electronic belt but maybe we have to use it all the time to keep it active which the kuuk thaayore do via their language.

User avatar
Uncle Ants
Posts: 2389
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 13:04

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by Uncle Ants » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:07

tonieee wrote:
Uncle Ants wrote: Edit ... or maybe some groups of people like the kuuk thaayore DO have it instinctively and that is why their language developed the way it has rather than the language causing them to develop the ability ... if you see what I mean.
We may have it instinctively but not developed very well as we don't really need it anymore. We can train ourselves to have it as shown by the kuuk thaayore and the vibrating electronic belt but maybe we have to use it all the time to keep it active which the kuuk thaayore do via their language.
Or the lady who wrote the article has it the wrong way round (in this example). They may have the ability instinctively and (this aspect of) their language developed as a consequence.
Last edited by Uncle Ants on Thu Sep 24, 2009 14:12, edited 2 times in total.
In Recordeo Speramus

Your Funny Uncle
Posts: 437
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2007 14:20

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by Your Funny Uncle » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:09

What an interesting thread. Talking of language switching, my sister-in-law does it all the time. She'll switch fluidly from Spanish to English mid-sentence without batting an eyelid, as will her sister. It's so odd to see them talk to each other. They're from Argentina of Italin and Swiss parents and are linguists who have both ended up living in England. My sister-in-law says that she just switches to the language which expresses what she wants to say more clearly... As we all speak both languages (My wife is Mexican and her brother met his wife while they were both studying at UEA.) there isn't really a problem, but it is quite an interesting phenomenon to witness.

I don't know if it's from thinking in Irish, but I've noticed that Irish people will say "you're welcome to my home" instead of "welcome to my home" which always sounds odd to my English ears, as though they are giving their place of residence to you because the don't want it anymore.

User avatar
nanski
Posts: 1072
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:53
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: she lives by the castle

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by nanski » Thu Sep 24, 2009 15:25

Uncle Ants wrote:
andyroo wrote: Is it because a language needs to have a significant grammatical difference, not just vocabulary? Or is it based on a critical mass of speakers, or regions in which it's spoken? Or is it political?
It certainly can be political if you want it to be. Serbo Croat ... Serbian ... Croatian ... Bosnian etc. is an example where the political is a significant factor, or at least as significant as questions of grammar, syntax and vocabulary. Language is part of identity and if you and the group you identify with speaks what is broadly the same language as another group you don't, or don't want to identify with, it (sort of) makes sense to try and argue that the language you speak is a different language or not depending on the politics. So, many (most) Serbian and Bosnian linguists claim that Serbians, Croats and Bosnians speak the same language ... many (most) Croatian linguists claim they don't. Officially they don't ... before the breakup of Yugoslavia, officially they did. A lot of linguists from all three areas claim that they speak the same language, but that the others somehow appropriated "their" language. And they will all use linguistic arguments to back up whatever their position is.
how does writing in cyrillic vs. writing in our alphabet fit into that?
big hole! big hole! big hole! big man! big man!

User avatar
Uncle Ants
Posts: 2389
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 13:04

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by Uncle Ants » Thu Sep 24, 2009 15:30

nanski wrote:how does writing in cyrillic vs. writing in our alphabet fit into that?
It fits into it somewhere :)
In Recordeo Speramus

Carys
Posts: 1386
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 20:27
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by Carys » Thu Sep 24, 2009 17:34

Hooray linguistics! I'm going to start an MA in it in the hopefully not too distant future - it's always been my favourite thing to study, having done it at degree level.

Only today was I ranting about Standard English only being normative because it was the language spoken by the 'best' people when the printing press evolved. Like, when people say double-negatives 'aren't grammatical' - of course they are! It's just not standard grammar.

Bi-dialectism is very common - I would imagine primarily between people who can choose between their regional dialect and Standard English (which is, of course, a dialect in itself). I was thinking earlier how having Standard English as your home dialect must come as something of an advantage in school exams and such, but also how Standard English speakers are probably less likely to have a second dialect, which I think considerably enriches your language.

I worry about losing my accent. I was never very Northern anyway, save for certain vowel sounds - my parents always insisted I talk 'proper' and I regret not having a stronger regional accent and dialect. That said, I have never mistaken "would have" for "would of", which is something to be grateful for.

Your Funny Uncle
Posts: 437
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2007 14:20

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by Your Funny Uncle » Thu Sep 24, 2009 17:57

And of course UK standard English is not the same as US standard English which in turn differs from Australian standard English, and then you get into things like Singlish in Singapore. It's all very fascinating. I also like the way that "mistakes" in dialects often serve to simplify the language and/or make it more logical.

User avatar
stolenwine
Posts: 2071
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2007 19:27
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/stolenwine/
Location: giddy london
Contact:

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by stolenwine » Thu Sep 24, 2009 19:51

i do the switching from one language to another thing too, but like islandhopper said, it's not even something you think about if you've been doing it since you were a kid. weirdly, when i'm speaking punjabi and i throw in an english word, it totally comes out in an indian accent. i wasn't really conscious of it until one of my workmates pointed it out when i was about 20 or something.
tell me how good it is / to wake from a bad dream / and have someone there and I will tell you / how butterfly wings stay dry in the rain
--
stolen wine social

User avatar
80sfan
Posts: 338
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:04
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/80sfan
Location: York

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by 80sfan » Fri Sep 25, 2009 13:08

if anyone's interested in the phonetics side of things, in particular forensic applications of it, then here's a podcast with my lecturer (i've just finished the MSc in forensic speech science mentioned in the interview) about it.

i think it's all fantastically interesting, but then i would.

the second half is about lip reading, which is also fascinating.
i just wanted to lick your face

User avatar
Final Loan
Posts: 656
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 16:00
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: Sheffields

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by Final Loan » Fri Sep 25, 2009 14:21

stolenwine wrote:when i'm speaking punjabi and i throw in an english word
Going to uni in Wales, I heard that kind of thing happen all the time among the locals (though in Welsh, with the odd English word thrown in, obviously) and it used to sound really weird. Complete gobbledegook (I don't mean that really - it can be quite a lovely sounding language) peppered with the occasional English swear or television programme or whatever. Would always catch my attention...
I may be ugly and hate-filled but... wait, what was the third thing you said?

Pockets Filled With Matches are no more, but we still have copies of our e.p. 'If Time Heals You' for sale, if you'd like one

moopind
Posts: 1354
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 09:59
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/Finkublubou
Location: Sheffield

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by moopind » Sat Sep 26, 2009 12:03

Uncle Ants wrote:
Edit my edit ... I read the whole article and yes it's absolute, and yes the kuuk thaayore have the ability to know how they are oriented in relation to the points of the compass ... But I'm not convinced her theory is sound. She maintains that it is the language which gives them this sort of spatial awareness, but thinking about it having this sort of spatial awareness is an absolute necessity for the language to work. Isn't it more likely that the kuuk thaayore have the ability instinctively and their use of language is a direct result of the ability, not the other way round?
Aren't we getting into Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis-type stuff here? Has anyone read about that? Or Lakoff in more recent times? I am dredging up stuff that I can't really remember. However, it makes me sound more intelligent.

Does language influence thought or vice versa? You know: at least idiomatic phrases in different countries reflect a different perspective. If we say 'knife crime is on the up' (or even 'going up') is that a reflection that we (or the journalists/politicians whose writing/speeches we see) have begun to think of crime in terms of statistics - a graph even? Or a Western concept of time gives us things like 'spending time' 'costing valuable time and money' (time as a finite commodity) even 'back then we used to...' shows we see time as a linear continuum, which is probably just a cultural concept. At this point I'd come up with some clever Buddhist idiom about time showing that they see it as more circular, less linear. But I haven't cos I'm rambling.
Daniel & Norbert now on Twitter - @Dentressangular

Bandcamp also? Click me.

User avatar
tonieee
Posts: 4497
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 08:40
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/tonieee
Location: Sheffield Sex City
Contact:

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by tonieee » Sat Sep 26, 2009 12:13

Uncle Ants wrote:Edit my edit ... I read the whole article and yes it's absolute, and yes the kuuk thaayore have the ability to know how they are oriented in relation to the points of the compass ... But I'm not convinced her theory is sound. She maintains that it is the language which gives them this sort of spatial awareness, but thinking about it having this sort of spatial awareness is an absolute necessity for the language to work. Isn't it more likely that the kuuk thaayore have the ability instinctively and their use of language is a direct result of the ability, not the other way round?
Maybe we all ability but it is only developed in the kuuk thaayore due to their language. I think it's unlikely for one group of humans to be so genetically different that they've developed a different sense from others.

User avatar
Uncle Ants
Posts: 2389
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 13:04

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by Uncle Ants » Sat Sep 26, 2009 12:27

I have no idea, but to have an aspect of a language which refers to the location of things relative to absolute north, south, east or west, then those speaking the language would need to be able to sense their position relative to absolute north. I think that's a given. It's possible that speakers of this language develop this sense as a result of the language, but it seems to me it's also possible that if a group of people had this sense inately, then this aspect of their language might develop as a result. I doubt enough is known to be sure one way or the other. It's a bit chicken and egg, but I think she may be making an assumption that hasn't been tested.

That isn't to say language doesn't shape the way we view the world and the way we think, clearly it does,just that this may not be the best example to use. Fascinating though.
In Recordeo Speramus

User avatar
Uncle Ants
Posts: 2389
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 13:04

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by Uncle Ants » Sat Sep 26, 2009 12:32

Tonieee, you buzzing belt thing suggests they don't needto be genetically different. Maybe inately is the wrong word, but there could be factors other than language (environment, lifestyle?), which cause it to be properly developed. Like I say, I don't know ... I just wouldn't assume.
In Recordeo Speramus

Carys
Posts: 1386
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 20:27
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by Carys » Sat Sep 26, 2009 14:53

If I remember rightly, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis says that language determines thought. But I also vaguely remember some bizarre and, at times, stupid examples of it. I remember them saying that Eskimos having however many words for snow meant that they perceive snow differently - in actuality, that's what adjectives in English are for - to differentiate between different types of snow. Similarly, I remember something along the lines of a tribe in Africa having the same word for the noun 'fly' and the noun 'aeroplane', and there being the implication that they couldn't tell the difference.

Clearly I've never really done research into this, but my gut feeling has always been that language exacerbates thought. The one I regularly discuss is that there are many more words for a promiscuous woman than for a promiscuous man (slut, whore etc. verus stud etc.) - my feeling is that misogyny isn't created by these words but created those words itself, and their use perpetuates misogynist thinking without creating it.

But I'm basing most of this on an essay I wrote when I was 17, so what do I know?

User avatar
nanski
Posts: 1072
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:53
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: she lives by the castle

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by nanski » Sun Sep 27, 2009 01:18

Cherry Darling wrote: Like, when people say double-negatives 'aren't grammatical' - of course they are! It's just not standard grammar.
hmm. i think it depends on how you use it. if you use a double negative to mean the negative, it's confusing. if you use it to mean the positive, it can be subtly different from just saying the positive. i was once praised for using the expression "not unreasonable" to mean that something was just a shade off being reasonable. (this was in science writing, i'm not sure the subtlety would come across the same way in other writing...)
big hole! big hole! big hole! big man! big man!

Carys
Posts: 1386
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 20:27
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by Carys » Sun Sep 27, 2009 09:58

I think the double negative that's most criticised is the one I hear the most working in a school - "I ain't done nothing". Grammar purists say that that means "you haven't done nothing so you must have done something", which is silly because the meaning of the utterance is obvious. That form has existed for years - the only reason it became 'ungrammatical' is because someone decided to apply mathematical rules to the English language (where 2 negatives make a positive) when they clearly don't apply.

Similarly with split infinitives - the most famous of which is 'To boldly go' - the rule 'you can't split an infinitive' derives from the Latin, where you can't split an infinitive because it's only one word. In English, the infinitive is already split, so what's the problem in sticking an adverb in the middle? There isn't one - someone with a printing press writing a grammar book just decided that there was.

User avatar
tonieee
Posts: 4497
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 08:40
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/tonieee
Location: Sheffield Sex City
Contact:

Re: Linguistics, sociolinguistics, accents, dialects, all that

Post by tonieee » Sun Sep 27, 2009 10:24

Cherry Darling wrote: But I also vaguely remember some bizarre and, at times, stupid examples of it. I remember them saying that Eskimos having however many words for snow meant that they perceive snow differently - in actuality, that's what adjectives in English are for - to differentiate between different types of snow.
I thought that was an urban myth and that Eskimos only have a few more words for snow than English (we've got at least two snow and sleet). It came about because of the way the Eskimo language works in that their words consist of both an adjective and noun combined so they might have a word for 'wet snow' and 'dry snow' but also words for 'we grass' and 'dry grass'. I can't remember were I heard that so it might be wrong.

About the language determining perception thing I once heard that there was a language (I can't remember which one but I think it was quite a major one like German or something) which didn't have separate words for blue and green and so the people who spoke it perceived them both as being different shades of blue.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest