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Linguistic Diversity, Essay Example

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Linguistic performance and the relationship between social and linguistic variation are the focus of studies done by sociolinguists. This field of study is possible because people do not speak the same. Even within a single language, there are variances in the way people speak that go beyond the basic rules of the language. These variances in the way people speak are referred to as linguistic diversity. There are many factors that increase linguistic diversity among speakers of the same language.

Gender differences create diversity in phonology, grammar, and vocabulary, as well as in body language. For example, in Japan women will use an artificially high voice in public and in North America, women’s speech is closer to the standard dialect than men’s speech is. This is an example of a style shift, or using different speech style for different contexts. Another example is diglossia, which applies to “high” and “low” variants of speech. People who practice diglossia will use the “high” variant in contexts such as formal social gatherings, universities, and the workplace, and use the “low” variant at home with their families or in close circles with friends. Diglossia often exists in countries with a colonized history. Many different dialects may also develop within a language, resulting from geographical and socioeconomic reasons. Within the United States, there are distinct southern, northern, western, and eastern dialects. Within each of these four geographical areas, even more specific dialects have developed. The N’Orleans dialect is one example.

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