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Wolof Speech Styles and Social Status. Working Papers in Sociolinguistics Number 23 [microform] / Judith T. Irvine
Bib ID 5447954
Format BookBook, MicroformMicroform, OnlineOnline
Author
Irvine, Judith T
 
Online Versions
Description [Washington, D.C.] : Distributed by ERIC Clearinghouse, 1975 
13 p. 
Summary

African Wolof society is divided into a number of ranked status groups or castes, the largest of which is the high-ranking noble caste. Wolof conceive of two styles of speaking, the restrained or noble-like and the elaborated or "griot"-like, and the two styles are connected by the presence or absence of "kerse," honor and self-control. The linguistic phenomena relevant to social rank are found in all aspects of speech performance: paralinguistic phenomena (such as intonation), phonology, syntax, and lexicon. Intonational features provide the most striking differences in style. Phonological differences seem to be related to differences in speech tempo. The griot style uses syntactic devices that lengthen the total utterance but add little or nothing to its meaning, while the noble style uses shorter, blander forms and intentional errors as a sign of high rank. The variants can also signal high and low rank within a caste. The use of intentional error can create confusion between a high-ranking individual and a linguistically incompetent foreigner. The linguistic system as a whole may have shifted in the direction of the high-status variant, and the reduction in surface elaboration is consistent with high-rank restraint and nonfluency, possibly arising from the general population's desire to appear more high-ranking. Thus the cultural valuation of speech can influence both the form and the direction of language change. (MSE)

Notes

Sponsoring Agency: Social Science Research Council, New York, NY. Committee on Sociolinguistics.

Sponsoring Agency: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.

May also be available online. Address as at 14/8/18: https://eric.ed.gov/

Reproduction Microfiche. [Washington D.C.]: ERIC Clearinghouse microfiches : positive. 
Subjects Code Switching (Language)  |  Diachronic Linguistics.  |  Intonation.  |  Language Styles.  |  Language Variation.  |  Morphology (Languages)  |  Phonology.  |  Social Class.  |  Social Status.  |  Sociolinguistics.  |  Syntax.  |  Wolof.
Form/genre Reports, Research.
Other authors/contributors Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX
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