The Effect of Social Mobility on Linguistic Behavior

The Effect of Social Mobility on Linguistic Behavior Previous investigations of sociolinguistic structure in New York City included quantitative study of five variables of the sound system.1 These variables displayed a regular structure of social and stylistic stratification, in which linguistic behavior was closely correlated with productive indicators of socioeconomic status. Patterns of sociolinguistic stratification will be analyzed further in the present paper by considering the added dimension of social mobility. Each sociolinguistic stratum will be differentiated into subgroups according to the speakers’ histories of social mobility. I t will then be possible to determine which of the subgroups represents the modal tendency of sociolinguistic behavior within each class and to ask whether a second form of stratification exists within each class which is based on social mobility. Finally, sociolinguistic stratification will be reexamined in terms of the added information on social mobility, so that further light may be shed on the question of how such stratification is maintained. SOCIAL MOBILITY I N THE MECHANISM OF A RURAL SOUND CHANGE Before considering the New York City situation, it is worth noting that social mobility was found to play an important part in the mechanism of linguistic change in an earlier study of the island of Martha’s http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sociological Inquiry Wiley

The Effect of Social Mobility on Linguistic Behavior

Sociological Inquiry, Volume 36 (2) – Apr 1, 1966

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1966 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0038-0245
eISSN
1475-682X
DOI
10.1111/j.1475-682X.1966.tb00624.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Previous investigations of sociolinguistic structure in New York City included quantitative study of five variables of the sound system.1 These variables displayed a regular structure of social and stylistic stratification, in which linguistic behavior was closely correlated with productive indicators of socioeconomic status. Patterns of sociolinguistic stratification will be analyzed further in the present paper by considering the added dimension of social mobility. Each sociolinguistic stratum will be differentiated into subgroups according to the speakers’ histories of social mobility. I t will then be possible to determine which of the subgroups represents the modal tendency of sociolinguistic behavior within each class and to ask whether a second form of stratification exists within each class which is based on social mobility. Finally, sociolinguistic stratification will be reexamined in terms of the added information on social mobility, so that further light may be shed on the question of how such stratification is maintained. SOCIAL MOBILITY I N THE MECHANISM OF A RURAL SOUND CHANGE Before considering the New York City situation, it is worth noting that social mobility was found to play an important part in the mechanism of linguistic change in an earlier study of the island of Martha’s

Journal

Sociological InquiryWiley

Published: Apr 1, 1966

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