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Sociolinguistic ( 5656 )


TEFL Diploma


Spring - 2014

Submitted By :

Syed Asim Raza

Roll Number


Registration # :


Submitted To :

Sir Shoukat

Q.2 Write short notes on the given topics. The notes must include relevant

Distinguish between standard language and dialect.

Distinguish between dialect and idiolect.
Distinguish between pidgin and Creole
What is an isogloss?

Difference between Language and a Dialect

The term dialect comes from a Greek word dialektos which is used in two different ways.One
usage refers to variety of a language that is characteristics of a particular group of speakers, the
other usage refers to a language socially to a regional or national standard language. Take the
case of Urdu, for example. The Urdu spoken by an ordinary Pakistani person living in Karachi
will be different from that of a person living in Peshawar. There will be variety of language that
is distinguished from other varieties of the same language by features of phonology, grammar,
and vocabulary, and the influence of the regional languages will be apparent. These difference
lead to a variety within a national language, and this is called dialect
One reason variation occurs is because of geographical proximity. For example, a people settled
on two banks of a large river. Prior to their settlement, they spoke the same dialect of the same
language. However, many years later, since they failed to cross over to interact with each other,
their language experienced independent growth on both banks of the river and ultimately formed
two different dialects [of the same language]. When the people finally crossed over to interact for
the first time, they noticed that they understood most of each other's speech.
Another way a dialect can be formed is by external influence. For example, a people (who speak
a singular dialect of the same language) settled in a valley and were bordered by another people
(who speak a totally different language) to their north. Those people who bordered these strange
people began interacting with them, while their counterparts to the south didn't. Over a series of
years, the northern half of the people started speaking differently from the southerners (although
they still spoke the same language). The southern people then realized that they could only
understand bits of the speech of their northern counterparts. This signals the development of a
new dialect within their language.

Standard Lanuage
A standard language is a language diversity used by a group of people in their conversation. A
language is a well developed form of communication that is shared by members of a particular
group, whereas a dialect is a form of variation that occurs within that language based on several
Typical characteristics of a standard language include several of the following:

An authoritative dictionary which records the vocabulary of the language (Cambridge or

Oxford English Dictionary

An authoritative grammar which records the forms, rules and structures of the language

A recognized standard of pronunciation;

Mention of the language in legal documents (for example the constitution of a country);

The use of the language throughout public life (for example in a countrys parliament)
and its formal instruction in schools;

A body of literary texts;

Formal instruction of and research into the language and its literature in institutions of
higher education;

An institution promoting the use of the language and its formal instruction in educational
institutions abroad.
Translations of key religious texts such as the Bible or the Koran.

Idiolect comes from two Greek words, idio, which means personal and lect
which means language. It is essentially your personal language. Imagine you were to write a
dictionary of all the words you use, then that would be your idiolect. The greatest influence on
your language is your immediate family, and the people you spend time with. For scholars who
view language from the perspective of linguistic competence, essentially the knowledge of
language and grammar that exists in the mind of an individual language user, the idiolect is a
way of referring to this specific knowledge. For scholars who regard language as a shared social
practice, idiolect is more like a dialect with a speech community of one individual
Multiple Idiolects
"Almost all speakers make use of several idiolects, depending on the circumstances of
communication. For example, when family members talk to each other, their speech habits
typically differ from those any one of them would use in, say, an interview with a prospective
employer. The concept of idiolect refers to a very specific phenomenon--the speech variety, or
linguistic system, used by a particular individual. All those idiolects that have enough in
common to appear at least superficially alike belong to a dialect. The term dialect, then, is an
Traditionally, a pidgin is a language that arises in a new contact situation involving more than
two linguistic groups; the groups have no shared language that is, no single language is widely
known among the groups in contact and they need to communicate regularly, but for limited
purposes, such as trade. For some combination of social, economic, and political reasons, they do
not learn each other's languages, but instead develop a pidgin, with vocabulary drawn typically
(though not always) from one of the languages in contact. The new pidgin's grammar doesn't
come from any one language; instead, it is a kind of cross-language compromise of the grammars
of the languages in contact, with more or less (usually more) influence from universals of

second-language learning: in particular, ease of learning helps to determine the linguistic

structure of a pidgin. The process by which a pidgin is created is \negotiation"
Pidgin carries several implications. One is that a pidgin is nobody's native language: pidgins are
always spoken as second languages (or third, or fourth, or...) and are typically used for limited
purposes of intergroup communication. A second implication is that, thanks to their limited
social functions, pidgins have less linguistic material than non-pidgin languages fewer words,
limited grammatical and stylistic resources in syntax and discourse. In addition, for reasons that
are probably connected mainly to ease of learning,

A creole has a jargon or a pidgin in its ancestry; it is spoken natively by an entire speech
community, often one whose ancestors were displaced geographically so that their ties with their
original language and socio-cultural identity were partly broken. Such social conditions were
often the result of slavery. For example, from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, Africans
of diverse ethno-linguistic groups were brought by Europeans to colonies in the New World to
work together on sugar plantations. For the first generation of slaves in such a setting, the
conditions were often those that produce a pidgin. Normally the Africans had no language in
common except what they could learn of the Europeans language, and access to this was usually
very restricted because of the social conditions of slavery. The children born in the New World
were usually exposed more to this pidgin and found it more useful than their parents native
Since the pidgin was a foreign language for the parents, they probably spoke it less fluently;
moreover, they had a more limited vocabulary and were more restricted in their syntactic
alternatives. Furthermore, each speakers mother tongue influenced his or her use of the pidgin in
different ways, so there was probably massive linguistic variation while the new speech
community was being established. Although it appears that the children were given highly
variable and possibly chaotic and incomplete linguistic input, they were somehow able to
organize it into the creole that was their native language, an ability which may be an innate
characteristic of our species.
This process of creolization or nativization (in which a pidgin acquires native speakers) is still
not completely understood, but it is thought to be the opposite of pidginization: a process of
expansion rather than reduction (although a pidgin can be expanded without being nativized).
For example, creoles have phono-logical rules (e.g. assimilation) not found in early pidgins.
Creole speakers need a vocabulary to cover all aspects of their life, not just one domain like
trade; where words were missing, they were provided by various means, such as innovative
combinations (e.g. Jamaican Creole han-miglpalm from English hand + middle ). For many
linguists, the most fascinating aspect of this expansion and elaboration was the reorganization of
the grammar, ranging from the creation of a coherent verbal system to complex phrase-level
structures such as embedding.

Isogloss Isoglosses Boundaries between two regions which differ with respect to some
linguistic feature are called isoglosses. The term isogloss literally means same language (iso +
gloss). The term is used in two slightly different ways and is also represented graphically in two
different ways. One way of displaying an isogloss is to draw a single line between two regions
which are found to differ with respect to some linguistic feature. The single line separating the
regions is the isogloss.

The alternative representation links by means of lines the locations of speakers who share the
realisation of feature a with those who share feature b. The two lines form a heterogloss referring
to those speakers who are at the interface between the two isoglosses. While the heterogloss is
more precise at the interface, it is neutral with regard to any claim about those features (a and b).
A single isogloss is in turn less precise about the interface, cutting through it arbitrarily.
However, there are lots of cases in which both, isoglosses and heteroglosses make the same
claim (compare gradual and abrupt transition).
Patterns of isoglosses Certain patterns of isoglosses have recurred time and again in various
surveys that have been carried out. Their recurrence is an interesting fact about dialect, but what
is also striking is the pattern itself. One of those patterns shows up as a welter of isoglosses that
criss-cross one another almost chaotically. A classic example for such a pattern displaying a wild
variety of combinations of dialectal elements is the set of isoglosses which separate Low German
from High German and which runs east and west across Germany and Holland on a line just
slightly north of Berlin.
Bundles of isoglosses It is important to note that each isogloss plots a single linguistic feature.
The significance of a dialect area increases as more and more isoglosses are found which
separate an area from adjacent ones. The coincidence of a set of isoglosses is called a bundle, as
for instance in the case of the isoglosses running throughout Germany. Perhaps the most striking
example of a bundle of isoglosses was obtained by the French survey by Gilliron and Edmont.
Grading of isoglosses It seems clear that some isoglosses are of greater importance than others often depending on what particular feature they mark. With bundles it is almost the same.
Structural categories of isoglosses In attempting to determine the linguistic significance of
isoglosses, categorizing them according to the type of linguistic feature they describe may be the
first step followed by grading them according to their linguistic structure or empirical
observations. The categories can be characterized as follows:
Lexical isoglosses describe contrasts in the words used by different speakers to characterize the
same object or action, like the use of the words Dutch cheese and cottage cheese. Pronunciation
isoglosses include most of the examples discussed so far, referring to contrasting pronunciation.
It seems appropriate to rank lexical differences as more superficial than pronunciation
differences because the former are more likely to be subject to self-conscious control or change
by speakers than the latter.
In phonology, there are also two types of isoglosses. The first one is phonetic, involving
contrasts in the phonetic output of two regions as the result of a more general or an additional
phonological rule. Differences in phonemic inventories, on the other hand, involve phonemic
Q.3 Discuss the importance of the term bilingualism and multilingualism in the
field of Sociolinguistics. Write their definitions, differences, similarities and their
importance with special reference to Pakistani society.
The traditional definition of bilingualism is something like the ability to use two languages
freely and fluently with native speaker like proficiency. If we accept this rather stringent
definition, many of us might be a little uncertain about our claims to bilingualism. There are

speakers, of course, who have this very enviable facility; there are Swiss nationals who can
switch quite effortlessly between French and German, there are American who can do likewise
between English and Spanish and, last but certainly not least, there are many Pakistani and
Indians who are equally talented.
Multilingualism is the use of two or more languages, either by an individual speaker or by a
community of speakers. Multilingual speakers outnumber monolingual speakers in the world's
population. Multilingualism is becoming a social phenomenon governed by the needs of
globalization and cultural openness.

Multilingualism is a common and increasing phenomenon in present day society which can
be studied from different perspectives. It is believed that there are two groups of societies /
extended features are different
varieties of
multilingualism on
topic such
bilingual and trilingual: bilingualism is the ability to speaks or write fluently in two
languages, and in trilingualism the number of languages involved increases to three. People
may become bilingual either by acquiring two languages at the same time in childhood or
by learning a second language sometime after acquiring their first language.
Bilingualism means an equal ability to communicate in two languages or bilingualism
means the ability to communicate in two languages, but with the possibility of greater
skills in one of them. A bilingual or trilingual can experience some periods of mixing the
two or three languages and borrowing vocabulary to express ideas, sometimes within the
same sentence.
There are two kinds of multilingualism, additive bilingualism (which has positive effects) and
occurs when a person acquires a new language learning it in the childhood without losing his
mother tongue. The other one is called subtractive bilingualism (which has negative effects) and
is when a person stops using his mother tongue replacing it by a new language. It occurs when,
for example, a person lives in a cultural environment where his own language is minority.
There is one kind of bilingualism which is called Social Bilingualism and it happens when most
of the population of a community speaks two languages. Appel and Muysken divided it into
three kinds: Monolinguals groups of different languages; Practically all the people speak two
languages and when there are a monolingual group and other one which is bilingual and it is
Receptive Bilingualism
Receptive bilinguals are those who can understand a second language but they cant speak
it. Receptive bilingualism may not be confused with the mutual intelligibility, which is the
case of a Spanish native who can understand Portuguese, or vice versa, due to the lexical
and grammatical similarities between both languages.
Cognitive processing

The cognitive processing is a collection of elements which made possible the fact of
memorization, thinking, remembering or learning; especially in the three stages of the memory
(sensory, short-term and long-term) at the time of linking concepts and keep information. The
cognitive processing is approached to those aspects of learning which can facilitate or make
difficult the learning and the memory. It is characterised by using strategies which attract
attention to the learner in order to improve his interest in studying.
How to approach Multilingualism?
Sociopolitical and socio-cultural identity features might influence native language literacy. We
will devote this part to an emphasis on the approach to bilingualism, that is to say, the models
that learners can follow in order to reach bilingualism. These models are differenciated in terms
on how, when and where to learn a foreign language. Our approach will be focused on the three
following models:
Sequential Bilingualism: In this model, learners receive literacy instruction in their native
language until they acquire a certain literacy proficiency. Some researchers agree in the age of 3
as the one in which a child has basic communicative competence in his or her native language.
Bilingualism is carried out after this. In other words, sequential bilingualism occurs when the
child has exposure to the first language (L1) and later to a second language (L2).
Simultaneous Bilingualism: Simultaneous bilingualism refers to the action of receiving language
input from two different languages at the same time since a very early age or even since birth.
The main difference between simultaneous and sequential bilingualism is that in the first case,
the individual learns two language in the same environments so that he or she acquires one
notion with two verbal expressions, while in the second case, the individual acquires the two
language in different contexts (e.g. home and school), so the words of the two language belong
to separate and independent systems.
Coordinated Bilingualism: In this model, the aim is to spend equal time in separate instruction of
the native language and of the community language. On the one hand, the native language
instruction focuses on basic literacy. On the other hand, the community language instruction
focuses on listening and speaking skills. Therefore, in coordinate model there is a language that
dominates: the native language (L1).
To sum up, multilingualism is the ability of speaking different languages; but it is not as simple
as it seems. As we have seen before there are different kinds of multilingualism like bilingualism
and trilingualism. Inside bilingualism we can find three approaches which are coordinate,
simultaneous and sequential multilingualism, moreover we have seen the differences between
additive and sequential bilingualism. There is a kind of bilingualism which is not very known
which is social bilingualism.
On the other hand, we have explained that there are different countries which use English as
mother tongue and also the indigenous languages of those countries. And finally we have shown
a map of Europe which its respective languages.

Language does indeed involve sounds and meanings but it is also the study of the situation.
Discuss the statement.

Language is central to social interaction in every society, regardless of location and time period.
Language and social interaction have a reciprocal relationship: language shapes social
interactions and social interactions shape language.
Sociolinguistics is the study of the connection between language and society and the way people
use language in different social situations. It asks the question, "How does language affect the
social nature of human beings, and how does social interaction shape language?" It ranges
greatly in depth and detail, from the study of dialects across a given region to the analysis of the
way men and women speak to each other in certain situations.
The basic premise of sociolinguistics is that language is variable and ever-changing. As a result,
language is not uniform or constant. Rather, it is varied and inconsistent for both the individual
user and within and among groups of speakers who use the same language.
People adjust the way they talk to their social situation. An individual, for instance, will speak
differently to a child than he or she will to their college professor. This socio-situational variation
is sometimes called register and depends no only on the occasion and relationship between the
participants, but also on the participants region, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, and
One way that sociolinguists study language is through dated written records. They examine both
hand-written and printed documents to identify how language and society have interacted in the
past. This is often referred to as historical sociolinguistics: the study of the relationship between
changes in society and changes in language over time. For example, historical sociolinguists
have studied the use and frequency of the pronoun thou in dated documents and found that its
replacement with the word you is correlated with changes in class structure in 16th and 17th
century England.
What do you understand by language variation? Is there any variation present in English
language? If yes, then please mention the variation with examples.

Variation in language use among speakers or groups of speakers is a notable criterion or change
that may occur in pronunciation (accent), word choice (lexicon), or even preferences for
particular grammatical patterns. Variation is a principal concern in sociolinguistics.
Studies of language variation and its correlation with sociological categories, such as William
Labov's 1963 paper "The social motivation of a sound change," led to the foundation of
sociolinguistics as a subfield of linguistics. Although contemporary sociolinguistics includes
other topics, language variation and change remains an important issue at the heart of the field.
In sociolinguistics, a general term for any distinctive form of a language or linguistic expression.
Linguists commonly use language variety (or simply variety) as a cover term for any of the
overlapping subcategories of a language, including dialect, idiolect, register, and social dialect.
(See Examples and Observations, below.)

In The Oxford Companion to the English Language (1992), Tom McArthur identifies two broad
types of variety: "
(1) user-related varieties, associated with particular people and often places, . . .
(2) use-related varieties, associated with function, such as legal English (the language of courts,
contracts, etc.) and literary English (the typical usage of literary texts, conversations, etc.).

Examples and Observations:

"A 'variety' can be regarded as a 'dialect' for some purposes and a 'language' for others,
and casual ambivalence about such matters is common worldwide. . . .
"Language scholars have in recent decades used the term variety to label a subdivision
within a language. Varieties may relate to a place or community (as with Indian English
and two of its subvarieties, Anglo-Indian English and Gujarati English), to uses (as with
legal English and advertising English), and to combinations of the two (as with British
"In recent years, variety has proved to be a fairly safe term, allowing language scholars to
avoid being too specific about kinds of speech and usage on occasions when being
specific is not necessary and/or when there is a risk of being charged with discrimination
against a group by calling its usage 'a dialect.' The negative baggage that attaches to this
term in English is greater than any occasional positive connotations it may have. . . .
"Most importantly, however, the term dialect fails when discussing English as a world
language. Although it has done sterling service in detailing, for example, regional
variations in Old, Middle, and Modern English in Britain, and for regional varieties of
English in the United States (notably Northern, Midland, and Southern), it is entirely
inadequate in other situations, as for example two of the most vigorous US 'Englishes':
African-American English (which has never neatly fitted the traditional dialect criterion
of regionality) and the entity not quite covered by the term 'Spanglish': a hybrid of
Spanish and English used by Spanish-speaking immigrants from Latin America in many
parts of the country."

Language Judgments

"From a linguistic point of view, there is no basis for preferring the structure of one language
variety over another. Judgments of 'illogical' and 'impure' are imported from outside the realm of
language and represent attitudes to particular varieties or to forms of expression within particular
varieties. Often they represent judgments of speaker groups rather than of speech itself."
Language Varieties in the Classroom
"The topic of language variety needs to be explored in classrooms with the same intensity and

focus as issues of class, race, culture and gender. In the same way as critically aware teachers
tend to disdain school and classroom practices based on narrow class, racial, cultural, or
gendered norms, the same teachers need to question policies and practices that privilege one
language variety and its users ahead of other varieties and their users. At the same time, schools
in local contexts still have to get on with the the job of teaching a language-based curriculum that
uses some language variety as its main pedagogical vehicle."

Q.6 What are the social functions of language? In which ways code-switching between Urdu and
English is fulfilling the social functions of language in Pakistan? Give examples (see
Supplementary Reader, Chapter 5 for help).

No one can deny the important roles played by language in our daily lives. For this reason,
we are going to mention some social function of language: language is not simply of
communicating information about the weather and other subjects , but it is also a very
important means of establishing and maintaining relationships with other people . Another
important social function of language in conveying information about the person you are
with for instance what sort of job they do and what social status they have . Without this
information you will not be sure how to behave towards him. Of course, you can make
intelligent guesses about the second from their clothes and other visual clues , but can
hardly ask direct questions about their social background. What you can do is to engage
them in conversation and the thing you are going to learn will be learnt not so much from
what the other says as from how it is said . Thus , we can notice that there is a close
relationship between language and society.
Some of the other functions are :

Social functions: Interacting with other people

o Functions used when socializing
o Functions used in establishing and maintaining relationships
o Functions involving barriers
o Functions involving influencing people
o Functions involving feedback
o Functions involved in arguing
o Functions involving avoiding trouble
Self-expressive functions
o Functions involving expressing opinions
o Functions involving expressing emotions
Cognitive functions
o Functions for managing conversations
Code Switching
The practice of moving back and forth between two languages or between two dialects or
registers of the same language. Also called code-mixing.
"Code-switching performs several functions (Zentella, 1985).
1. First, people may use code-switching to hide fluency or memory problems in the second
language (but this accounts for about only 10 percent of code switches).
2. Second, code-switching is used to mark switching from informal situations (using native
languages) to formal situations (using second language).
3. Third, code-switching is used to exert control, especially between parents and children.
4. Fourth, code-switching is used to align speakers with others in specific situations (e.g.,
defining oneself as a member of an ethnic group).

5. Code-switching also 'functions to announce specific identities, create certain meanings,

and facilitate particular interpersonal relationships' (Johnson, 2000, p. 184)." (William B.
Gudykunst, Bridging Differences: Effective Intergroup Communication, 4th ed. Sage,
We must realize that code switching is closely related to such factors as topic, situation, function
and role. We will be looking into the social element of the code switching between Urdu and
English. Following are the examples where it has been used.
o cooking koe nai seekhi...driving seekhne ka plan tha but me b intaha ki dheet hun tm
unao??hwz ur api n any gud newz??tmhe msgz nai miltay mob pe meray??? n nahi me
bht bht bht bht zyada mind kr rahy hun tmhare msgz na krne.
o yar is post pay comment karo.. ap nay jis post pay comment kiy hai vo display ni ho rahi
Yar again .. vo post jis pay ap nay comment kiy thay vo notification aya hau but show ni
ho rahi.
The source of the above quoted examples is a social networking site. On the other hand we use
code switching on daily basis when interact with others, and on various situations. Some of the
examples are as under:

Please Yar maira aik kaam kardo.

Ham nay picnic pay jana tha lakin ab mood nahee hai.
Tum logoun kee exams kee preparation kaisee ja rahee hai.
Yar ajkal bohat bore ho raha hun, there is nothing to do, kia karoun.
Sorry, Mai app ka kaam nahee kar saka.
He said it was not his fault and who bilkul theek hai.
Jo Africa say aye they were very worried

The above examples clearly indicate the code switching or mixing between Urdu and English.
This is called stable and consistent borrowing.











Sociolinguistic is essentially a study of language used in society. Certainly, language is a very

significant and unique feature of the culture of any society since it gives clear indication as to
how people behave. The relationship between a language and its users is both complicated and
informative. Society shapes and colours language. A society is represented by its language.
Language in various forms and uses is the prime concern of the sociolinguistics. They study
society to get better view and understanding of the language- to be better informed about the
diverse linguistic choices that speakers have to make.

Sociolinguists argue that language exists in context, dependent on the speaker who is using it
and dependent on where it is being used and why. Speakers mark their personal history
and identity in their speech as well as their sociocultural, economic and geographical
coordinates in time and space. So taking a broad approach to the subject of
sociolinguistics would mean to include in it everything: from considering 'who speaks', what
language, to whom, and when and to what end, i.e. the social distribution of linguistic

items, to considering how a linguistic variable might relate to the formulation of a specific
grammatical rule in a particular language or dialect and, finally, to the processes through which
languages change. (Wardhaugh 1992) It is important to recognize that much of the interest in
sociolinguistics has come from people who have a practical concern for language, rather than a
desire simply to understand better how languages work. In particular it became possible in
the US in the 1960s & 1970s to fund relatively large scale research projects connected with
the speech of underprivileged groups, on the ground that the findings would make possible a
more satisfactory educational policy.

Relationship between language and society

There is a variety of possible relationships between language and society.

Social structure may either influence and determine linguistic structure such as children
speak differently from other children and, in turn, children speak differently from mature adults.
Variety of language may also reflect regional, social or ethnic origin and possibly even gender
of people.
A second possible relationship is directly opposed to the first: linguistic structure
and/or behaviour may either influence or determine social structure. (The Whorfian
hypothesis - e.g. Bernstein claims that languages rather than speakers of these languages can be
There is another view which states that there is no relationship at all between linguistic
structure and social structure and that each is independent of the other. And it is thought that
linguistics differs from sociolinguistics in taking account only of the structure of language to the
exclusion of the social contexts in which it is learnt and used.

The fourth one is that the influence is bi-directional: language and society may influence
each other. This influence is considered to be dialectical in nature, i.e. that speech behaviour and
social behaviour are in a state of constant interaction' and that 'material living conditions'
are an important factor in the relationship (Dittmar 1976).

In fact, there are different ways that society can impinge on language which makes the field
of sociolinguistic reference extremely broad. Studies of the various ways in which social
structure and linguistic structure come together include personal, stylistic, social,
sociocultural and sociological aspects. But sociolinguistics should not be viewed as a
mechanical amalgamation of standard linguistics and standard sociology. Del Hymes has
pointed out that specific points of connection between language and society must be
discovered , and these must be related within theories that throw light on how linguistic
and social structures interact. Or, as Gumperz (1971) has observed, sociolinguistics is an attempt
to find correlations between social structure and linguistic structure and to observe any changes
that occur. Social structure itself may be measured by reference to such factors as social class
and educational background; we can then attempt to relate verbal behaviour and performance to
these factors.
The scope of sociolinguistic research is extremely broad. To sum up, we can say that linguistics,
sociology and sociolinguistics are complementary. The teacher of any foreign language needs to
have both a knowledge if the formal systems of that language (its grammar, vocabulary and
pronunciation) and an understanding of the social norms that govern appropriate choices of such
Q.1 What is correct and what is not correct is ultimately a matter of what is accepted by
the society and language is a matter of conventions within the society. Discuss in
Philosophy of language is concerned with four central problems: the nature of meaning, language
use, language cognition, and the relationship between language and reality. For continental
philosophers, however, the philosophy of language tends to be dealt with, not as a separate topic,
but as a part of logic (see the section "Language and continental philosophy" below).

First and foremost, philosophers of language prioritize their inquiry on the nature of meaning.
They seek to explain what it means to "mean" something. Topics in that vein include the nature
of synonymy, the origins of meaning itself, and how any meaning can ever really be known.
Another project under this heading of special interest to analytic philosophers of language is the
investigation into the manner in which sentences are composed into a meaningful whole out of
the meaning of its parts.
Secondly, they seek to better understand what speakers and listeners do with language in
communication, and how it is used socially. Specific interests may include the topics of language
learning, language creation, and speech acts.
Thirdly, they would like to know how language relates to the minds of both the speaker and the
interpreter. Of specific interest is the grounds for successful translation of words into other

Finally, philosophers of language investigate how language and meaning relate to truth and the
world. They tend to be less concerned with which sentences are actually true, and more with
what kinds of meanings can be true or false. A truth-oriented philosopher of language might
wonder whether or not a meaningless sentence can be true or false, or whether or not sentences
can express propositions about things that do not exist, rather than the way sentences are used.
The subject matter of linguistics comprises all manifestations of human speech, whether that of
savages or civilized nations, or of archaic, classical or decadent periods. In each period the
linguist must consider not only correct speech and flowery language, but all other forms of
expression as well. And that is not all: since he is often unable to observe speech directly, he
must consider written texts, for only through them can he reach idioms that are remote
in time or space. The scope of linguistics should be: a) to describe and trace the history of all
observable languages, which amounts to tracing the history of families of languages and
reconstructing as far as possible the mother language of each family; b) to determine the forces
that are permanently and universally at work in all languages, and to deduce the general laws to
which all specific historical phenomena can be reduced; and c) to delimit and define itself.