Basic Concepts and the Areas of Sociolinguistics ( Further discussion)
- It was already stated in the previous discussion that as animal-symbolicum, human beings have capacity to symbolize all realities, including abstract ones, through language. Though having limitation, it is the language that makes culture and progress of human life possible. Furthermore, it is the language that makes human beings humanized.
- All human beings speak, as long as they are normal. Their speech represents or symbolizes the set of common understanding that is culture. Speech is a reflection of culture, because it is the means by which human beings symbolize all culture for the purpose of communication.
- It cannot be denied that language is the most fundamental institution of society, as well as the first institution encountered by the individual biographically. It is fundamental, because all other institutions, be they economy, politics, education, religions, etc, build upon the underlying regularity pattern of language. All these depend on the world of meanings that is constructed by means of language and can only survive by language.
- Therefore, language functions not only to communicate ideas and information to other people, but also to establish and maintain social relationships with them. The degree of the relationship, to a certain extent, very often depends on the language used. It is, therefore, very important to understand human social status to establish and mainian relationship.
- Realizing the complexity of the descipline, experts try to construct the scopes of sociolinguistics as follows:
- the nature of language as social phenomenon
- relationship between language and social stratification
- relationship between language and ethnic group
- relationship between language and sex and gender
- relationship between language and its social context
- relationship between language and nationality, and
- relationship between language and geography
- There are at least three theorists known as socio-linguists. They are Whorf (1956), Bernstein (1971), and Labov (1972). According to Whorf (1956: 232), the beginning of scientific linguistics can be dated from the rediscovery of Panini’s grammar in the eighteen century. For millenia after the original creation of grammar, no new regularities in language and speech was either discovered or sought. It is particularly within our own time that the next great surge of progress in the study of languange has come. The result is that linguistics is the most scientifically advanced branch of cultural anthropology: indeed, linguistics provides the model on which cultural analysis is proceeding. Cultural anthropology, which treats of culture in relation to people and society much as linguistics treats of the phenomenona of language in realization to the intricacies of meaning, has found a mode of progess.