1. Relationship between language and social
Answers.com > Wiki Answers > Categories > Uncategorized
Spanish Language SchoolGroup & Private Spanish Classes Learn & Discover Costa
Rica as wellwww.cpi-edu.com/
View Slide Show
Social classes will use language differently. For instance a person who is poor and uneducated he
or she will not speak his or her language as well as a person who is well off and well educated. It
can also affect accents, slang uses and grammar. Here is an example: Uneducated, poor black
people have their own wording to say things rather than use the accepted norm of the English
language. Even in the Spanish language there is a difference in the language expression between
the Mexicans who descended from the Mexican native Indian classes and the Mexicans who
descended from the Spaniards who took over Mexico. The Spaniard class speaks high Castillion
Spanish and the Indian descendants speak a lower form of Spanish mixed with their own idioms.
Another example is: Someone in California may speak with a "California Surfer lingo" and
another Californian may speak with a Stanford or Harvard educated form of speaking.
Bernstein: Language and Social Class
Central to Bernstein's writings is the distinction between the restricted code and the
elaborated code. Some of the differences between the two codes are:
(i) syntax is more formally correct in the elaborated code, but looser in the restricted
code. There are, for example, more subordinate clauses in the elaborated code, and
fewer unfinished sentences.
(ii) There are more logical connectives like if and unless in the elaborated code,
whereas the restricted code uses more words of simple coordination like and and but.
(iii) There is more originality in the elaborated code; there are more clichés in the
2. (iv) Reference is more explicit in the elaborated code, more implicit in the restricted
code: so the restricted code uses a greater number of pronouns than the elaborated
code (see the example quoted at length below).
(v) The elaborated code is used to convey facts and abstract ideas, the restricted code
attitude and feeling.
While (i) to (iv) relate at least in part to the forms of language, (v) relates primarily to the
meanings being conveyed.
Examples which show clearly all the differences between the two codes operating
together are difficult to find in Bernstein's articles. One example which particularly
illustrates (iv) above is quoted in Bernstein, 1971:194. Two five-year-old children, one
working-class and one middle-class, were shown a series of three pictures, which
involved boys playing football and breaking a window. They described the events
involved as follows:
(1) Three boys are playing football and one boy kicks the ball and it goes through the
window and the bail breaks the window and the boys are looking at it and a man comes
out and shouts at them because they've broken the window so they run away and then
that lady looks out of her window and she tells the boys off.
(2) They're playing football and he kicks it and it goes through there it breaks the
window and they're looking at it and he comes out and shouts at them because they've
broken it so they run away and then she looks out and she tells them off.
The elaborated code is the one which, in the adult language, would be generally
associated with formal situations, the restricted code that associated with informal
In the earlier articles it was implied that middle-class children generally use the
elaborated code (although they might sometimes use the restricted code), whereas
working-class children have only the restricted code. But Bernstein later modified this
viewpoint to say that even working-class children might sometimes use the elaborated
code; the difference between the classes is said to lie rather in the occasions on which
they can use the codes (e.g. working-class children certainly have difficulty in using the
elaborated code in school). Moreover, all children can understand both codes when
spoken to them.
Following from (ii) above, it has also been assumed that part of any 'cognitive deficit'
would consist in an inability to think logically. Labov (1969), however, has argued that
young blacks in the United States, although using language which certainly seems an
example of the restricted code, nevertheless display a clear ability to argue logically.
One example quoted by Labov is a boy talking about what happens after death:
You know, like some people say if you're good an' shit, your spirit goin' t'heaven...'n' if
you bad, your spirit goin' to hell. Well, bullshit! Your spirit goin' to hell anyway, good or
bad. (Why?) Why! I'll tell you why. 'Cause, you see, doesn't nobody really know that it's
a God, y'know, 'cause I mean I have seen black gods, pink gods, white gods, all color
gods, and don't nobody know it's really a God. An' when they be sayin' if you good, you
goin' t'heaven, tha's bullshit, 'cause you ain't goin' to no heaven, 'cause it ain't no
heaven for you to go to.
The speaker is here setting out 'a complex set of interdependent propositions'; 'he can
sum up a complex argument in a few words, and the full force of his opinions comes
through without qualification or reservation'.
In addition Labov notes the common faults of so-called middle-class speech: 'Our work
in the speech community makes it painfully obvious that in many ways working-class
3. speakers are more effective narrators, reasoners, and debaters than many middle-class
speakers who temporize, qualify, and lose their argument in a mass of irrelevant detail.'
There is no clear relationship between language and logical thought
(Cruttenden, A., Language in Infancy and Childhood, Manchester University Press,
The Effects of Language on Social Class
By Stephany Elsworth, eHow Contributor
Print this article
The Effects of Language on
A person's social class is reflected in his speech. People who have lower educational levels or
who are new to English-speaking countries often speak different forms or dialects of English
than their middle- or upper-class counterparts. The inability to speak standard business English
can interfere with a person's ability to find a high-paying job, obtain an education or become
upwardly mobile in society. The lack of language skills are often passed from parents to their
Other People Are Reading
Language Differences Among Social Classes
Classes Needed for Social Work
1. Language Structure
o Children who come from lower-class homes often use restricted code, which is a
form of speech that is commonly used in informal situations. Middle- and upper-
class children are more familiar with elaborated code, a form of language that is
associated with formal situations. Elaborated code uses a large vocabulary,
standard syntax and a high percentage of complete sentences. Restricted code,
however, uses fewer words, abbreviated sentences and limited vocabulary. As a
4. result, lower-class children who use restricted code often score lower on IQ tests
and have difficulty with abstract concepts. Their lack of language skills interferes
with their learning and contributes to the cycle of poverty.
o USA Today indicates that children who come from lower-income homes, whose
mothers have low vocabulary skills, are at a permanent disadvantage in the
classroom. Since they learn to speak at home, they are affected by their mother's
lack of vocabulary. They do not read as quickly as their peers, and they often use
non-standard English. This can lead to lifelong academic difficulties. These
academic learning problems often result in low-paying, minimal-skill jobs when
the child reaches adulthood.
o Sponsored Links
Download Free Software: Converter Free Download!
Second Language Acquisition
o Immigrants who are lacking in English language skills are at a serious
disadvantage when it comes to social class and economic advancement.
According to the Julian Samora Research Institute, an Urban Institute survey
found that insufficient language skills are more directly correlated with food
insecurity and economic poverty than how long a person has been in the United
States or whether or not he is a legal resident. Although immigrants are well-
represented within the labor force, they hold a large percentage of underpaid and
o Regional dialects are often associated with low socio-economic status.
Businesses, government agencies, the mass media and educational facilities
conduct operations in Standard American English, or SAE. Although all
languages and dialects are used to communicate with other members of society
and many reflect the speaker's ethnic heritage, people who speak African-
American, Appalachian, Southern or other regional dialects are at a societal
disadvantage if they are not also fluent in standard English.
Read more: The Effects of Language on Social Class | eHow.com