[lg policy] Re: dialect vs vernacular

mostari hind hmostari at YAHOO.COM
Fri Mar 7 23:05:45 UTC 2014


Dear  Lewis ,

Billion of thanks for your great enlightenments for vernacular vs dialect distinction , so, to wrap up this discussion , we can say a dialect is a variety differing geographically and/or socially from the standard language whereas a vernacular is a national language .
Do you agree with a Pr in linguistics who keeps saying that a vernacular is a socially and economically dominated variety by another language. It sounds like he is refering to your definition of vernacular as a national l does not it ?

Best
Mostari 



On Friday, March 7, 2014 8:58 PM, mpl <ethguy1 at gmail.com> wrote:
 

I'm joining this conversation a bit late so apologies to those who may have already made any of the following points. T

The usage of these terms has been a longstanding source of confusion with both terms defined variously.

Both terms have technical definitions but are subject to popular usage as well which adds to the general confusion.  Popularly, both are somewhat pejorative - a dialect (a non-standard variety) being understood as inferior to a language (a standardized variety) and vernacular language being seen as less refined, uneducated or even profane.

Generally, within technical usage, dialect is understood to be equivalent to the generic term "variety".  Dialects/varieties can be socially, geographically, and even chronologically determined (e.g. an upper middle class dialect, a Southern dialect, the dialect of the 18th century).  And Trudgill, I think, distinguished between dialect and accent with the latter referring primarily to phonological differences and the former including lexicon and grammatical differences. No matter how determined, a dialect is generally a bundle of linguistic features which may be associated with a particular identity and thereby can be named.  

Vernacular, on the other hand is subject to a good bit more variation in the way it has been used as a technical term.

For many a vernacular is a local language (including all of its component dialects) - usually less-commonly-known and with relatively small numbers of speakers. Vernacular languages have also been referred to as minority languages or minoritized languages.  English wouldn't be considered a vernacular by this definition but Hopi would. 

In some cases a vernacular is also identified as one's first language or, more often, the language of the home and hearth, often associated with the Low variety in a diglossic situation. By this definition, a local variety of English might be considered a vernacular in contrast to standard English as learned in school.

Somewhat similarly, Labov used the term vernacular to refer to any variety of any language which represents unmonitored speech - the way a person talks when not consciously attempting to speak correctly or to meet any particular standard.  He developed a number of research techniques designed to collect samples of vernacular speech by distracting the speaker's attention from their speech (e.g. his famous "fourth floor" technique to collect examples of r-lessness in New York vernacular English).  Following Labov there is a large body of literature which uses vernacular in that sense.

I'm sure there are other nuances to the usage of these terms.  Generally, however, a technical writer will define the terms when they are introduced.

All the best,

M. Paul Lewis






On Fri, Mar 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM, <lgpolicy-list-request at groups.sas.upenn.edu> wrote:

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>   1. Re: Vernacular vs Dialect Debate  (mostari hind)
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>----------------------------------------------------------------------
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>Message: 1
>Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2014 10:48:06 -0800 (PST)
>From: mostari hind <hmostari at yahoo.com>
>Subject: Re: [lg policy] Vernacular vs Dialect Debate
>To: Jeremy Graves <jayrkirk42 at yahoo.com>,       Language Policy List
>        <lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu>
>Message-ID:
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>Dear Graves ,
>Thanks for your comment but it does not give a thorough distinction between the concepts . Waiting for your comments dear members 
>
>Dr Mostaro 
>
>
>
>On Thursday, March 6, 2014 3:02 PM, Jeremy Graves <jayrkirk42 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>My understanding is that you're touching on a never-ending debate within Linguistics. I usually hear it framed in terms of dialect vs. language, not necessarily vernacular. However, I suspect the same principles apply. From an objective scientific point-of-view, what qualifies as the same language may be considered separate languages by different groups of speakers for political or cultural reasons. In my language and society class, we've repeatedly touched on the idea that language attitude trumps Linguistics - that is to say, what speakers themselves perceive as separate dialects (or vernacular varieties) is more important than the objective Linguistic reality.
>
>
>
>On Wednesday, March 5, 2014 8:42 PM, mostari hind <hmostari at yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>Dear List Member , 
>
>For verrnacular vs dialect distinction; I noticed that some authors prefer using the term dialect, while others use as a synonym the term vernacular . Nevertheless, I got a Pr in linguistics who confirms that vernacular is a variety which is socially and economically dominated by another group .
>Stewart ( 1963) suggests that the only difference is that vernacular is a standardized variety whereas dialect is not !
>I am a bit confused , is there any comments on this?
>
>Best
>Dr Mostari 
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