MATS THELANDER 1. From a methodological point of view, the analysis of linguistic variation has to be adapted to the nature of this variation in each particular case.1 In a community where one is dealing with two or more substantially different languages in alternation it is possible, as a rule, to work on a MACROLINGUISTIC level. In such cases it makes sense to ask members of the community which language.they would use ia certain specified situations and, with a reasonable knowledge of the different languages, an observer has little difficulty in deciding in which speech variety a certain speaker is expressing himself at any given instant. According to this model, the speech repertoire falls into discrete (which does not exclude some portion of common features) and locally recognized varieties, codes, or systems. In communities that are traditionally monolingual, linguistic variation is also prevalent and a number of investigations over the last few years have demonstrated how this variation is socially structured and, from a functional point of view, analogous to a shift between markedly different languages. For settings of this later type, however, it has usually been felt more proper to apply a MICROLINGUISTIC approach. It is true
International Journal of the Sociology of Language – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 1976
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