ERIC Number: ED185619
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1980-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Situational Variables in Language Use. Technical Report No. 167.
Straker, Dolores Y.
A study was undertaken to examine how the variables that comprise the construct social situation (interlocutor, setting, and topic) influenced which language variety--standard English (SE) or black English (BE)--was chosen as a means of communication within a black English-speaking community and how that language variety was used to elaborate topics of conversation. Twenty-eight students at the City University of New York were assigned to one of the eight social situations derived from J. Fishman's construct of social situation, whicb provided the social context in which linguistic variation was examined. Language use within the context of conversation was examined with respect to J. Dore's analysis of how topics are changed, extended, or resumed. The findings suggested the following: that language is used across a series of hierarchically arranged concentric contexts--those emphasizing a community's use of language and those emphasizing the individual's use of language; that the variables of each context can produce differing effects on language use depending on what level of the hierarchy language use is belng studied and how these variables interact with one another; and that variables that are associated with one context more than with another can in no way be excluded from influencing language in those contexts where they are not a dominating influence. (Author/FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Center for the Study of Reading.; Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, MA.