ERIC Number: ED042171
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1970-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Sociolinguistics and Communication in Small Groups.
Gumperz, John J.
This paper reviews some recent research on the relationship of group processes and cultural milieux to choice of linguistic form and Its implications for problem solving in small (minority) groups. Basic to the discussion is the concept that language usage conveys important social information and is therefore not a matter of choice but must be rule-governed. The initial section differentiates linguistic competence (ability to produce grammatically correct sentences) from communicative competence (ability to select appropriate forms from the totality of grammatically correct expressions available). Techniques for eliciting communicative competence are then discussed and compared; all methods are seen to depend on the investigator's knowledge of the cultural make up of the group concerned. With regard to the analysis of elicited conversational material, Labov's notion of sociolinguistic variables and the concept of "background expectation" are discussed, among others. Research dealing with social origin and communicative ability is also reviewed. The author concludes that the basic understandings achieved in the studies considered can aid the study of problem solving in small group studies by giving the researcher insights into basic communication processes, thus improving the validity of his own field work both cross culturally and within his own society. (FWB)
Descriptors: Black Dialects, Communication (Thought Transfer), Communicative Competence (Languages), Cultural Background, Field Interviews, Language Styles, Language Usage, Linguistic Competence, Minority Groups, Nonstandard Dialects, Phonology, Social Background, Social Differences, Sociolinguistics, Syntax, Verbal Ability
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: California Univ., Berkeley. Inst. of International Studies.; National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Berkeley. Language and Behavior Research Lab.