ERIC Number: ED158613
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Nature of Sociolinguistic Inquiry.
Sah, P. P.
Dissatisfied with the linguist's concentration on structure, sociolinguistically inclined linguists turned to anthropology to give an empirical orientation to linguistics. Almost at the same time anthropologists were trying to give a more theoretical orientation to their subject of study, and the structural methods was being sought as the remedy. The structural method, an invention of the linguist, was characterized by a shift from the study of conscious linguistic phenomena to a study of their unconscious infrastructure and from the study of the contingent to the study of the necessary. This shift has now been strengthened by transformational grammar with its realistic (as opposed to instrumentalistic) theory of language. In attempting to extend this framework to the study of sociolinguistics, the views of Itkonen and Derwing are examined and Labov's "socially realistic" method is analyzed. It is concluded that for a genuine sociolinguistic theory to be possible, the Chomskian notion of competence must be borrowed and enlarged in the manner of Hymes. Only an approach of this kind will ensure that the principles of structuralism can apply to the study of sociolinguistics, leading to what Hymes calls "the ethnography of symbolic forms." (Author/NCR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the World Congress of Sociology (9th, Uppsala, Sweden, August 14-19, 1978)