Edited by Antje Wilton and Martin Stegu
[AILA Review 24] 2011
► pp. 100–115
That which We Call a Rose by any Other Name Would Sound as Sweet
Folk perceptions, status and language variation
Folk perceptions of language diversity often differ from the criteria laid out by linguists and have particular implications for applied/sociolinguists since the collective identification of language diversity largely determines the ways in which individuals regard the categorisation of their own (and others) linguistic uses as belonging to a specific social and/or regional variety. Folk perceptions can thus help define speech communities as well as explain sociolinguistic other phenomena. This paper provides a critical analysis of the existing folk linguistic research into language variation in a number of different contexts: the UK, the USA, France and Japan. It is hoped that the information gained will help build up a more detailed sociolinguistic picture of the complex and often contradictory nature of lay individuals’ attitudes towards linguistic variation. In the final sections of the paper the authors argue for a greater deal of recognition within modern linguistics of the value of examining folk perceptions of language diversity.
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