local vs mass (vernacular vs standard)
Linguistic change starts local and diffuses to the mass. ie, white people say ‘yo’ now. Or whatever Martha’s Vineyard shit these honky linguists is talking about. Which is on the exam. Damn.
Labov studied language at Saks, Macy’s, and Klein (Walmarty) to study social class. Published The Social Stratification of Language which ripped Linguistics up. Chomsky was the big swinging dick of Linguistics up to that. Chomsky thought that language was an abstract program stored mainly as syntax in the brain. So he sparked all these omigod-boring studies of Syntax. Let me tell you something about syntax – Fuck Syntax. Labov came out and said no, there’s a huge social influence on language.
His study showed that social factors were an independent variable that could predict the use of language. (ie, why I say fuck around my friends but not in class). SocioLinguistics is also especially interesting cause it studies how class-difference are correlated with the use of certain Linguistic forms.
He went to 3 department stores in New York, which were correlated with income.
Saks – rich
Macy’s – middling
Klein – po’ (sort of, more like Walmart)
He measured whether they said ‘fourth floor’ or ‘foath floah’ in the vernacular New York way. And he found a statistically significant correllation between Social Class and this Linguistic Variable.
He did this when he was a punk-ass graduate student, this correlation has been repeated over and over since then, in more controlled experimental situations. It’s what the whole field of SocioLinguistics is.
Anyways, back to my incomprehensible notes, which I may need someday.
People working in stores are hyper-corrective (low class people who mimic upper class speech). He was studying ‘r’ use.
Fourth Floor – Upper class
Fouth Floah – Lower (vernacular NY)
Can study schools as well, which are often divided by class.