Towards a Critical Sociolinguistics (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory)
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This collection of twelve essays, some of which have been written specifically for this volume by well-known European and North-American sociolinguists, reflects an increasing recognition within the field that sociological and theoretical innocence can no longer be underwritten by it, and offers a multi-pronged and multi-methodological way to move towards a critical, reflexive, and theoretically responsible socio-linguistics. It explores, with courage and sensitivity, some very important areas in the enormous space between Bloomfieldian 'idiolect' and Chomskyan 'UG' in order to situate the human linguistic enterprise, and offers valuable insights into human linguisticality and sociality. These explorations expose the limits of correlationism, determinism, and positivistic reificationism, and offer new ways of doing sociolinguistics. Intended for both practicing and future sociolinguists, it is an ideal text-book for the times, particularly for graduate and advanced undergraduate students.
either (*Anyone doesn’t go → Noone goes). (Incidentally, examples such as (1) contradict Labov’s assertion that negative attraction is a ‘general and compelling rule of English which is equally binding on all dialects’ (1973: 47).) The failure of this rule in some types of he is in all likelihood due to Irish interference. The form of indeterminate subjects in Irish (e.g. aon duine or duine ar bith ‘anyone’) remains constant across both aﬃrmative and negative contexts. The negative verbal
areas where Irish is no longer spoken as a ﬁrst language. I shall justify this emphasis by seeking to show that many of the general remarks which can be made about syntactic variation in such varieties are widely applicable to ‘mainstream’, non-contact vernaculars as well. The majority of writers insist that the most saliently nonstandard features which are to be found in the speech of he monolinguals continue to manifest the eﬀects of an earlier Irish substratum. In some cases the evidence in
divergence stems from the selective distribution of a radical restructuring, variation in conditions of subsequent convergence is likely to be more complex. Here variation will involve standard and non-standard forms which are embedded in underlying nonidentical grammars. Under such circumstances we are likely to encounter the sort of situation I have outlined with respect to the he and StE verb-phrases, where formal diﬀerentiation overtly signals functional diﬀerentiation. The history of the
syntactic theories of the last thirty years conﬂicted with that of variation analysts and with the variable rule. The leading theories have set about specifying what constructions are possible in a given lanTable 1. Results for ten hypothetical speakers with opposite categorical deletion in vowel and nonvowel following environments. Speaker Before v Not before v 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 0/5 0/5 0/5 0/5 0/5 0/5 0/5 0/5 0/5 0/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 35/50 70 percent 15/50 30
in spite Table 3. Fragment of a variety grammar: five np rules describing varieties of six second language learners Variety Rule v1 v2 v3 v4 v5 v6 1. np → n 2. np → det n 3. np → det adj n 4. np → det n adj 5. np → det n adv 0,9 0,1 0 0 0 0,6 0,3 0 0,1 0 0,3 0,3 0 0,3 0,1 0,2 0,3 0 0,4 0,1 0,2 0,3 0,4 0 0,1 0,2 0,3 0,4 0 0,1 descriptive and explanatory power of rules 137 of its practical descriptive handling of varying linguistic structures, it cannot cope with the ﬁve critical