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ERIC Number: ED045965
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1969
Pages: 7
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Sociolinguistics and the Individual.
Holmes, Janet
Te Reo: Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of New Zealand, v12 p41-47 1969
This article reviews certain generatively-based ideas on transactional behavior current in anthropology and discusses their relevance for sociolinguistics. The author finds that whereas sociolinguists tend to ignore such factors as social change and social mobility, anthropologists such as F. Barth ("Models of Social Behavior," 1966) express the concept of an ongoing process of change in social structure, stressing that social structure is subject to modification and that individual human values affect social institutions and are in turn affected by them. The author feels that this model of social structure, although not applied to language by Barth himself, is relevant to sociolinguistics because: (1) language expresses social values and hence any changes in the one must be reflected in the other; (2) language itself provides an interesting parallel to social structure in its own development and modification. The author feels that the linguist should be able to pin-point the development of a language as a result of individual choices, and that the sociolinguist should try to relate changes in social structure to changes in individual cultural values as espressed through speech in social interaction. Individual behavior is thus seen as the proper starting point for sociolinguistic investigation. Suggested applications of the model are presented. (FWB)
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