Linguistic variation and social function

Linguistic variation is correlated with an expansive range of sociological characteristics of speakers and this has been proven by many studies conducted within the last 15 years based on the study of William Labov. It is well-known that the frequency with which speakers use non-standard linguistic features is associated with their socioeconomic group and these groups are now the understudies of the paper discussed to further understand aspects of sociolinguistic variation. Jenny Cheshire's paper shows that the regularity with which adolescent speakers use many non-standard morphological and syntactic features of the variety of English spoken in the town of reading in Berkshire, is linked with the degree to which they adhere to the norms of the vernacular culture. Her results have also stated that the frequency of use of non-standard phonological features in Belfast England is correlated with the type of social network in which these speakers are involved with.

2. The 9 non-standard features of Reading English

¢ The present tense suffix with non 3rd person singular objects

¢ Has with non 3rd person singular subjects

E.g. we has little fire, keeps us warm

¢ Was with plural subjects (and singular you)

¢ negative past tense never, used for standard English didn't

¢ what used for standard English, who, whom, which, and that

E.g. there's a knob what you turn

are you the boy what's just come?

¢ auxiliary do with 3rd person singular subjects

¢ Aint' used for negative present tense forms of be and have, with all subjects

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