Article published in:Thema's en trends in de sociolinguistiek
[Toegepaste Taalwetenschap in Artikelen 42] 1992
► pp. 115–130
Sociolinguïstiek En Dialectologie
In this confrontative article I take stock of what socioiinguistics and dialec-tology (= dialect geography), in spite of (or thanks to?) their own focus and their own theoretical underpinnings, have contributed to the study of language change. This confrontation consists of two parts: First (4.1.) I deal with those aspects where socioiinguistics has contributed substantially to the exploration of language change and at the same time has had a renewing influence on dialectology: 1) Sociolinguists have started measuring the functional/communicative strength of linguistic varieties that in a certain area may supply competing variants. 2) By all kinds of micro-research into linguistic variation in correlation with social and situational factors socioiinguistics has drawn a much more refined picture of the process of language change. 3) Socioiinguistics has reintroduced attention to the psychological dimension of language change ( _ inquiries into the attitudes towards compet-ing varieties and variants and into the awareness of social differentiation in language). In a second part (4.2.) I deal with those aspects where the contribution of dialectology has been more substantial and where socioiinguistics urgently needs some broadening: 1) In general dialectologists have better recognized that linguistic varia-tion (as a random indication of language change) is also embedded in the systemic dimension of language. This prevents the investigation of (linguistic) variety for variety's sake. 2) Dialectology permanently instructs sociolinguists that linguistic variation (and hence language change) also occurs along a spa-tial/geographical dimension. 3) The dialogist's traditional tool, the dialect map with the so often (unjustly) abused isogloss, provides the socioiinguistics with lots of interesting instructions where as to catch linguistic change in progress. In general both disciplines display such a delicious complementarity that (sterile) discussions about their mutual demarcation should urgently be replaced by a thorough examination of each other's methods and findings.
Published online: 24 March 2014