Language variation implies that there are language varieties.
One language may vary from another in aspects such as phonology, grammar, semantic and syntax.
Even within a language there are variations.
Two variations are:
Variation according to users (Dialect).
Variation according to use (Register).
Dialect refers to variation of language according to users. This may be due to one’s region of origin, their social class or their unique way of using language.
- Therefore dialect is language variation according to certain characteristics of its users.
FACTORS FOR DIALECTISATION (VARIATION)
Among the factors for variation of language are:
When people living in one area get split to live in distant areas they will develop different features that may differentiate them. E.g. pronunciation of words
Within the same society people would differ on their use of the same language caused by their social classes like educational level and so forth.
So an educated person will differ from uneducated one on the way they use language.
Each person has his/her unique use of language. Things like voice quality, pause, rhythm etc differentiate a person from other users of the same language.
IFLUENCE FROM OTHER LANGUAGES
This could be connected to regional differences in that one of the dispersed groups could come into contact with other language(s) that will influence its pronunciation, vocabulary etc
People of different age have different language habits. For instance the youth tend to use slang which is less preferred by elders
People who do different jobs have different language styles. For instance lawyers use complex sentences and difficult vocabulary which may not be used by teachers.
TYPES OF DIALECTS
Regional dialects are the ones that identify themselves by the places in which they are found. For example West African English is different from Australian English.
The systematic study of regional dialects is known as Dialectology.
The demarcating lines separating areas speaking different dialects are called Isoglesses.
Social Dialect (sociolect)
This is the dialect that results from the social classes existing in the society. E.g. between the educated and non-educated, the rich and the poor etc.
Also there are differences caused by jargons that differentiate people according to their occupations etc.
Is an individual way of using language that differentiates one from other speakers of the same language; e.g. the voice quality, pitch and rhythm. Such qualities may help one to recognise the speaker even without seeing him/her.
- British English and Standard American English are examples of English language dialects. Here are some of linguistic differences between British and American English.
BRITISH ENGLISH AMERICAN ENGLISH
- Spelling Differences (orthography)
Hereunder are some of words pronounced differently
Schedule / ∫edᵹu:l / / skedᵹu:l /
News / nju:z / / nu:z /
Produce / prɒdᵹu:z / / prɒdu:z /
- Vocabulary (lexicon)
Sitting room living room lift elevator
Dustbin garbage can
Side walk path
- Repetition of the subject ‘one’ no repetition of subject ‘one ‘ E.g. one cannot succeed unless one works hard
Eg. One cannot succeed unless he/she works hard
- The use of ‘from’ after different in BrE The use of ‘than’ after different in AmE E.g. Your book is different from mine (BrE) Your book is different than mine (AmE)
- The use of only one form for the past tense and past participle of some words like “forget” in BrE while in AmE there are two forms. (forget forgot forgot BrE) (forget, forgot forgotten AmE).