my speech community essay

Free Speech Community Essays and Papers

my speech community essay

Speech Community

Speech Community Contribution There is an infinite amount of chat rooms available on the internet and each one can be defined as its own speech community. I have chosen to analyze a chat room that is devoted to the hit Fox reality show, American Idol. The transcript used was from a chat session that occurred at 10:00 PM on March 27, 2005. This online chat room seemed to be the source of a continuous flow of opinionated statements regarding the television show. Due to the anonymity of the internet

The Home School Movement as a Speech Community

different communication practices within social groups is the concept of the speech community. According to Julia Wood (1997) speech communities are distinct social groups whose members use language in specific ways to achieve shared goals. Distinct groups which have their own language, unique cultural practices, and geographical boundaries such as Koreans, Norwegians, Mexicans, etc. are examples of speech communities. Speech communities that do not use a distinctive language or live in a specific geographic

Speech Community Research Paper

what a speech community is precisely, I’m not sure exactly how many specific speech communities I belong to. There may be speech communities within my speech communities that I’m not even aware of, or speech communities that overlap. In this essay, I will discuss one particular speech community and one of its sub-communities. The general definition of a speech community is pretty hard to define, but I think Gumperz does a good job in covering the overall sense of it. He says the speech community is

Importance Of Belonging Essay

It was away from the concept of speech community and more about the emotional attachment. If we read the essay without having studied speech communities, as our class has, we probably wouldn’t have made any connection to speech communities. At first, none can recognized the implications of the differing speech communities that Bharati and Mira decided to join upon their arrival in America rather an exposure to different sense

Sapir-Worf Hypothesis: Linguistic Determinism and Linguistic Relativity

largely by the linguistic systems in our minds. We cut nature up, organize it into concepts, and ascribe significances as we do, largely because we are parties to an agreement to organize it in this way-an agreement that holds throughout our speech community and is codified in the patterns of our language. The agreement is, of course, an implicit and unstated one, but its terms are absolutely obligatory; we cannot talk at all ... ... middle of paper ... ...version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

Gender Speech Community

Stage Beauty is a movie that covers the time when women were not allowed on stage, therefore female roles were portrayed by male actors. The movie delivers a lucid look into what is described as male and female communication style. The characters provided great examples of how feminine and masculine is conveyed through some of the different aspects of nonverbal communication – kinesics, haptics, artifacts, proxemics, and paralanguage. Kinesics refers to body movements, positions, and facial expressions

The Franklin Road Church Youth Groups Are More Than Just a Religion

explaining how the Senior Youth Group is a discourse community. Franklin Road’s SYG consists of the ages 11-18. Within the group we do various things such as going to youth retreats, youth conferences, and many more; just to name a few. The group has been around for many years, all the way back to when my parents were kids. I have been a member of SYG ever since I was a baby; therefore I have enough knowledge about how this group in fact is a discourse community according to John Swales six criteria. Before

Persuasive Speech On Transgender Community

the public utilities and services. The transgender community should have the right to use the restroom of the gender they identify with or have an alternate choice. Transgender people deserve the right to have access to a comfortable, safe place to go to the restroom just as any other human being. Yes, it could potentially be a dangerous liability, but remember the feelings of the people who live in the wrong body. A safe way for the trans community to use the restroom would be to give the option of

A Teaching Subject Joseph Harris Analysis

telling stories to other people. This ‘language’ is a way ‘we’ understand, organize, and relate to, making the chaos of our communities and lives coherent. In a writing environment that is loose and for the most part free we can slow down this articulation process in order to become increasingly and critically conscious of the meanings we assign to our experiences and communities in which we belong. It makes people think more about what they want to say and how they are saying it. When one engages

Service Paper

cannot afford to buy their own. Their mission is to, through tangible grace, affirm the self-worth of every person by creating opportunities for all people to live in community with one another. The goal of the Free Store is to gather people who need and people who need to give together, and create a unique opportunity for the community. The Free Store primarily serves the poor and homeless, but everyone is welcome. Every time they’re open, many people and families from all around Austin come to meet

Informative Messages In The Movie 'Hey Arnold'

Section A. Positive Messages 1. Preserving historical neighborhoods and small businesses 2. Be Brave 3. Look on the bright side of life even if things aren’t going your way B. Informative Messages 1. Religious people pray 2. A neighborhood is a community of people within a town or city 3. Belts come in different colors C. Misinformative Messages 1. All old things are great 2. Life is just a bowl of cherries 3. You could paint the house with vanishing cream, then it would be invisible. D. Negative

Comparing Ethics of Responsibility in The Visit and The Oresteia

wrote the play The Visit, he was doing so in response to what he saw as appalling neutrality on the part of the Swiss during World War II, neutrality that we now know was something more insidious.  This powerful play expresses what happens in a community where responsibility is abdicated and scapegoating is employed, what happens when mercy falls to vengeance in the name of justice.  It is a play designed to shock society into recognizing its own flaws and choosing a different course of action

Current Free Speech Doctrine: Will It Work On The Internet?

Freedom of speech ascertained by the constitution is not an absolute right. Depending on the medium through which information is delivered various degrees of the freedom to express one's self is protected. Internet communication may be analogous to either a specific existing communication medium or even several. Current free speech protection begins to dissipate as it is applied to the uncertain confines of the newly developed Cyberspace. The traditionalist approach to free speech protection is

Graduation Speech: Springsfield Community School

We’ve had progressive new learning styles. We’ve had the innovation of EdCamps, and we’ve even had a poetry slam. But our time at Northfield Community School goes deeper. For most of us, we can look back farther into the past, and realize how this school has shaped us. We’ve walked to Birch Grove Park. We dissected owl pellets and grew our own plants. We made butterfly wings, walked around the

Rhetorical Analysis

this strengthens its textual integrity. Speakers such as Paul Keating “The Redfern Speech,” William Deane “It is still winter at home,” Doris Lessing “On Not Winning the Nobel Prize” and Anwar Sadat “Speech to the Israeli Knesset” all utilizes the combination of rhetoric, language and features to convey an image and a clear message towards the audience. Over the analysis of structural commonalities

How do We Define a Citizen ?

Citizens Must Fulfill Obligations and Duties to the Community In our ever-changing world how do we define "a citizen?" Peter J. Gomes in his speech, "Civic Virtue and the Character of Followship" defines a citizen as " who belongs and one who has obligations" (206). He adds a citizen has "... the notion of belonging, having an identity of which one is proud and by which one is defined and having an obligation to share and serve in behalf of that greater good" (206). The Webster's New

The word community has many different meanings for many different people. Berns (2013) defines it as a group sharing the same area and using the same resources. When a lot of people are pulling from the same resources, those that don’t have access fall behind (Berns, 2013). Community resources are intended to help families that would fall behind avoid the trip up, or get over it after it comes. Since there are different reasons that people fall behind, there are different kinds of community services

Speech Reflection

difficult to give a speech about something that I didn’t care about and had no in-depth knowledge to captivate my audience and make them thing differently after listening to my speech. To support my claims, I used personal experiences, common knowledge, and statistics, among other things that validated my argument and didn’t make it a rant

Does Free Speech Go Too Far?

Does Free Speech Go Too Far? Freedom of speech is perhaps the most important right that we have in the United States of America. The first amendment of the Constitution gives everyone in the country the right to express their opinions as they see fit. Without this right, African-Americans might not have been afforded the opportunity to gain racial equality. While this is one of the ideas that this country is founded on, at times it seems to go to far. When a group spreading hatred and prejudice

Communities and Urbanization

COMMUNITIES & URBANIZATION Introduction George Murdock once said that a community is one of the two truly universal units of society organization, the other one being family (Schaefer, 461). We are all part of a community, and in many cases, we are a part of multiple ones. In chapter 20 of our textbook, we are looking at communities and urbanization. It discusses urbanization and how communities originate. It also looks at the different types of communities. Communities

Popular Topics


Speech Communities

The only language widely used.

Language plays a significant role in defining who we are. It is a method of communication in a structured and conventional way. “Language reinforces feelings of social superiority or inferiority; it creates insiders and outsiders” (p. 242) states Robert MacNeil (2012) in his article “English Belongs to Everybody”.

Australian English Language Analysis

This has lead to English taking the role of the global language, or as Crystal (2013) refers to, ‘Englishes’. He argues that it is necessary to use the term ‘Englishes’, to truly reflect the nature and variance of English as it has spread across the world. In this way, Standard Australian English is just one of many varieties of English. Among the list are varieties such as New Zealand English, American English, Spanglish and Singlish. Of note is the variety of Aboriginal English which contrary to popular belief is not English spoken badly but indeed its own classified dialect of English (Malcom & Ziljstra, 2011). Crystal (2013) explains how these varieties of English have developed as communities take ownership of English and use it to express their own local and cultural notions and ideas. Because language is culturally informed, it is also inextricably connected to one’s identity (Malcom & Ziljstra, 2011). The evolution of language in the context of changing time and place demonstrate the dynamic nature of language. This social phenomenon results in language being both diverse and unique amongst

Genre Analysis and Special Way of Using Language Essay

Genre analysis is an attempt to explain why members of specific discourse communities employ different and special ways of using language. Sociocultural aspects of language and existing differences among the contexts in which a language is used may, to some extent, answer this question. In addition, cognitive strategies applied by the speakers or writers may also play a role since the members of each language community use different strategies to achieve their desired goals (Bhatia, 1996). According to a definition given by Martin (1985), "genres are how things get done, when language is used to accomplish them". As implicitly found in this definition, any genre analysis must be a detailed description of linguistic elementsof a specific

Analyzing Paul Robert's Speech Communities

Do you ever think about the way you speak and why? Well, Paul Robert does an excellent job explaining why people use the dialect they use in Speech Communities. He discusses that people change their use of language throughout their lives to conform to either society or to what kind of person they want to be, or to just conform to who they need to be at a particular moment, in which I agree. People’s choice of language, including myself, are affected by many of their surroundings, such as where they live and grow up at, their peers, and a person’s work place.

Ethnolect In Australian Language

Language is a very important and significant part of individuals’ life. It is considered as one of the best device of social behavior. Language is a means with the help of which people communicate and send a social message to one another. But language does have very special characteristics according to which it changes and very depending on many factors. According to the researchers there are no two people who speak identically. Their languages vary as per their geographic location, age, gender, ethnicity, social background etc. many a time, it is observed that even the members from same family speak differently due to differences in their location ( Biber & Conrad, 2014). For example, in my neighborhood, there is a difference in the ways of

Our Language Prejudicess DonT Make No Sense By Raffaella Zanuttini Summary

On October 22, 2014, Raffaella Zanuttini’s essay, “Our Language Prejudices Don’t Make No Sense,” was published in Pacific Standard magazine. This work was written to draw attention to the false assumptions made about different varieties of the English language. Zanuttini starts her essay by considering, “There are some things you just don’t say in a polite society” (173). With this statement, she is referring to the ridicule made on different varieties of language. Zanuttini offers a few examples of judgements people often make, negative concord demonstrating one of them. Negative concord is a part of the Russian language and many others, but in today’s English, those who speak with negative concord occupy a low position on the socioeconomic scale. Zanuttini then introduces an argument in which people believe the language they speak is inferior. The English language has many recipes and according to Zanuttini, these different variations can be associated with age, ethnic or social identity, and geographical location. Although, there is a prestige language that should be used for business matters. As a final remark, she describes how different varieties of the same language should be viewed. Zanuttini indicates different dialects are like bread. No bread is better than any other, but for certain purposes, different breads should be used. Just like bread, no variation of language should be judged.

Why Good English Is Good For You Summary

Each of the authors would disagree on how social change will impact the language within the United States, and whether or not people should encourage the change or try and stop it altogether. Each article however, does agree on the fact that language will always be an ever-changing part in

Literature Review : Language Attitudes

Language attitudes, which include people’s perception about the language variety in their own community and language varieties in other communities, has been one of the crucial topics in sociolinguistics since 1960s.

Comparing Dance Boys, Fly Eights And Cash Money Brothers

Following Eckert (1989, 2000), I define linguistic style as a combination of a particular set of linguistic features distinguishing social groups. In explaining how styles are created, I draw on Kallmeyer and Keim (2003:30) who suggest “the construction of a communicative social style is connected with the formation of specific linguistic and communicative patterns and rules on different linguistic levels. Elements from all expressive levels are combined to form a unique expression

Subzero: Speech Community

Have you ever thought about how you talk to people? How the way you communicate with people changes depending on who you are talking to and where you are? A speech community is a group of people who share a similar vocabulary and similar rules of language. These communities are often found in schools, places of work, homes, churches, and even on the internet. A speech community occurs wherever there are people. A very interesting speech community in my life happens at the place I work. It's a restaurant called Subzero.

Analysis Of My Tongue By Amy Tan

Before the group discussion, I believed that the statement “And I use them all—all the Englishes I grew up with” (Tan, 1), was significant because it shows the reader how important the dialect of Amy Tan’s mother is to her. Additionally, this statement brings to light her diverse background in a variety of English dialects; making her opinion seem more valid. It also shows the reader how the dialects we listen to everyday change the way we think and speak in the future. This belief is proven by Tan when she says, “But I do think that the language spoken in the family, especially in immigrant families which are more insular, plays a role in shaping the language of the child (P4). On top of that, my personal experiences prove Tan’s point; in

Native American International Language Analysis

Language creates spaces where linguistic features are associated with ideas that are attributed to its speakers. The previous is best recognized as language ideologies. In “Western language ideologies and small-language prospects,” on page three, Nancy C. Dorian refers to language ideologies as a vehicle through which certain languages are made unappealing by its mere association to communities of low-prestige. For example, in my hometown, Castroville, Spanish is associated to low-income farmworkers. And as a result, most of the Youth in Castroville stick to English. Despite the fact that most of their parents are Spanish speaking farmworkers, the mindset of Castroville teenagers seems to be formulated around embarrassment. Just like English is adopted in place of low-prestige languages, the opposite also occurs.

Problems In Intercultural Communication Essay

Among the most important concepts to emerge are those relating to dialects and language standards. Sociolinguists have documented the presence of dialects in every language. These dialects, all of which are legitimate, are associated with educational, economic, social and historical conditions. Hence, even if an individual scrupulously studies all the possible dictionaries of a random language, he would still be somewhat of a stranger to that language since he is unaware of all the dialectal changes.

Standard English Essay

Other forms of the English language are developed from speech communities with an intention, for efficiency and to show inclusion, and to exclude others. It also helps to convey a specific identity of the speaker, with the use of syntactic and phonological differences from Standard English. These modifications form non-standard dialects, transferring the speaker’s cultural background and language to provide a better perception and reflection of identity. The falling intonation accompanied with interrogatives in the Asian ethnolect, such as ‘Gravy?’, is the opposite of the rising intonation used for the same purpose by Australians, and can quickly cause conflict between the two communities due to the missing benchmark in language. Pronoun deletion in ‘No like’ (‘I don’t like it’) is a feature of many ethnolects (Greek, Aboriginal English), and is differing from the Standard, yet still helps to get the message across. Ethnolects develop from Standard English, and helps to express a user’s identity through their language use and in-group solidarity within the speech community.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Standardization Of Language

Talking about “dialects”, a term often mentioned along is “standard language”. When being brought into comparison with “dialect”, “standard language” usually serves as a legitimate variant with the highest level of excellence (Bex & Watts, 1999). Though positive in nature, standardization - the procedure of standardizing a language – often raises heated controversy because of its consequences on not only linguistics field but also the society. In the second part of the essay, I will focus on the disadvantages of language standardization.

Related Topics

Sample answer : A speech community is made up of people who speak the same language, who interact by talking to one another, and who agree on the proper and improper use of their language. In my speech community (English-speaking college student) I know when it’s OK to identify myself by first name only or by first and last name. When a classmate asks, “What’s up?” I know what kind of answer is expected. But I also belong to a speech network. These are people with whom I regularly interact and speak. We know the language, its rules, and how to interpret what we hear, just like a speech community. But because members of my speech network frequently talk, we’ve built and we share a specific common language, and because of that, we’ve built and we share a greater understanding of one another. My co-workers and I have our own “language.” My teammates on the intramural basketball team and I have our own expressions for success and failure. My friends and I have our own language consisting of nicknames, made-up words, specific slang expressions, and idiosyncratic greetings and farewells.

Sample answer : The theory of metaphor says that cultural reality is expressed in a language’s metaphors. These unstated comparisons between things or events that share some feature suggest deeper cultural realities that may not be apparent in the words’ denotative meanings. One out of every 25 words we hear is a metaphor, and those metaphors structure what we perceive, how we get around in the world, and how we relate to other people. Metaphors play a central role in defining our everyday realities. But metaphors hide differences in the compared concepts at the same time they highlight their similarities. For example the “Argument as War” metaphor implies that disagreement is a battle, but it hides the fact that the person with whom we are disagreeing is not an enemy, just someone who disagrees with us.


24/7 writing help on your phone

To install StudyMoose App tap and then “Add to Home Screen”

English Language Within Speech Communities

Save to my list

Remove from my list

Language is both an individual possession and a social possession. We would expect, therefore, that certain individuals would behave linguistically like other individuals: they might be said to speak the same language or the same dialect or the same variety, i. e. , to employ the same code, and in that respect to be members of the same speech community, a term probably derived from the German Sprachgemeinschaft. Indeed, much work in sociolinguistics is based on the assumption that it is possible to use the concept of ‘speech community’ without much diffculty.

Hudson (1996, p. 9) rejects that view: ‘our sociolinguistic world is not organized in terms of objective “speech communities,” even though we like to think subjectively in terms of communities or social types such as “Londoner” and “American. ” This means that the search for a “true” de? nition of the speech community, or for the “true” boundaries around some speech community, is just a wild goose chase. ’ We will indeed discover that just as it is dif? cult to de? ne such terms as language, dialect, and variety, it is also dif? cult to de? ne speech community, and for many of the same reasons.

Marrie pro writer

Proficient in: Community

“ She followed all my directions. It was really easy to contact her and respond very fast as well. ”

That diffculty, however, will not prevent us from using the term: the concept has proved to be invaluable in sociolinguistic work in spite of a certain ‘fuzziness’ as to its precise characteristics. It remains so even if we decide that a speech community is no more than some kind of social group whose speech characteristics are of interest and can be described in a coherent manner.

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy . We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

You won’t be charged yet!

De? nitions Sociolinguistics is the study of language use within or among groups of speakers. What are groups? ‘Group’ is a dif? cult concept to de? ne but one we must try to grasp.

For our purposes, a group must have at least two members but there is really no upper limit to group membership. People can group together for one or more reasons: social, religious, political, cultural, familial, vocational, avocational, etc. The group may be temporary or quasi-permanent and the purposes of its members may change, i. e. , its raison d’etre. A group is also more than its members for they may come and go. They may also belong to other groups and may or may not meet face-to-face.

The organization of the group may be tight or loose and the importance of group embership is likely to vary among individuals within the group, being extemely important to some and of little consequence to others. An individual’s feelings of identity are closely related to that person’s feelings about groups in which he or she is a member, feels strong (or weak) commitment (or rejection), and ? nds some kind of success (or failure). We must also be aware that the groups we refer to in various research studies are groups we have created for the purposes of our research using this or that set of factors.

They are useful and necessary constructs but we would be unwise to forget that each such group comprises a set of unique individuals each with a complex identity (or, better still, identities). Consequently, we must be careful in drawing conclusions about individuals on the basis of observations we make about groups. To say of a member of such a group that he or she will always exhibit a certain characteristic behavior is to offer a stereotype. Individuals can surprise us in many ways.

The kind of group that sociolinguists have generally attempted to study is called the speech community. (See Patrick, 2002, for a general survey. ) For purely theoretical purposes, some linguists have hypothesized the existence of an ‘ideal’ speech community. This is actually what Chomsky (1965, pp. 3–4) proposes, his ‘completely homogeneous speech community’ (see p. 3). However, such a speech community cannot be our concern: it is a theoretical construct employed for a narrow purpose. Our speech communities, whatever they are, exist in a ‘real’ world. Consequently, we must try to ? d some alternative view of speech community, one helpful to investigations of language in society rather than necessitated by abstract linguistic theorizing. Lyons (1970, p. 326) offers a de? nition of what he calls a ‘real’ speech community: ‘all the people who use a given language (or dialect). ’ However, that really shifts the issue to making the de? nition of a language (or of a dialect) also the de? nition of a speech community. If, as we saw in chapter 2, it proves virtually impossible to de? ne language and dialect clearly and unambiguously, then we have achieved nothing.

It is really quite easy to demonstrate that a speech community is not coterminous with a language: while the English language is spoken in many places throughout the world, we must certainly recognize that it is also spoken in a wide variety of ways, in speech communities that are almost entirely isolated from one another, e. g. , in South Africa, in New Zealand, and among expatriates in China. Alternatively, a recognizably single speech community can employ more than one language: Switzerland, Canada, Papua New Guinea, many African states, and New York City.

Furthermore, if speech communities are de? ned solely by their linguistic characteristics, we must acknowledge the inherent circularity of any such de? nition in that language itself is a communal possession. We must also acknowledge that using linguistic characteristics alone to determine what is or is not a speech community has proved so far to be quite impossible because people do not necessarily feel any such direct relationship between linguistic characteristics A, B, C, and so on, and speech community X.

What we can be sure of is that speakers do use linguistic characteristics to achieve group identity with, and group differentiation from, other speakers, but they use other characteristics as well: social, cultural, political and ethnic, to name a few. Referring to what they call speech markers, Giles, Scherer, and Taylor (1979, p. 351) say: through speech markers functionally important social categorizations are discriminated, and . . . these have important implications for social organization.

For humans, speech markers have clear parallels . . . it is evident that social categories of age, sex, ethnicity, social class, and situation can be clearly marked on the basis of speech, and that such categorization is fundamental to social organization even though many of the categories are also easily discriminated on other bases. Our search must be for criteria other than, or at least in addition to, linguistic criteria if we are to gain a useful understanding of ‘speech community. ’ For very speci? sociolinguistic purposes we might want to try to draw quite narrow and extremely precise bounds around what we consider to be a speech community.

We might require that only a single language be spoken (and employ a very restrictive de? nition of language in doing so), and that the speakers in the community share some kind of common feeling about linguistic behavior in the community, that is, observe certain linguistic norms. This appeal to norms forms an essential part of Labov’s de? nition of speech community (1972b, pp. 20–1): The speech community is not de? ned by any marked agreement in the use of language elements, so much as by participation in a set of shared norms; these norms may be observed in overt types of evaluative behavior, and by the uniformity of abstract patterns of variation which are invariant in respect to particular levels of usage.

This de? nition shifts the emphasis away from an exclusive use of linguistic criteria to a search for the various characteristics which make individuals feel that they are members of the same community. Milroy (1987a, p. 3) has indicated some consequences of such a view: Thus, all New York speakers from the highest to lowest status are said to constitute a single speech community because, for example, they agree in viewing presence of post vocalic [r] as prestigious. They also agree on the social value of a large number of other linguistic elements. Southern British English speakers cannot be said to belong to the same speech community as New Yorkers, since they do not attach the same social meanings to, for example, (r): on the contrary, the highest prestige accent in Southern England (RP) is non-rhotic.

Yet, the Southern British speech community may be said to be united by a common evaluation of the variable (h); h-dropping is stigmatized in Southern England . . . but is irrelevant in New York City or, for that matter, in Glasgow or Belfast. In this sense, ‘speech community’ is a very abstract concept, one likely to create not a few problems, because the particular norms that a community uses may or may not be exclusively linguistic in nature, and even the linguistic norms themselves may vary considerably among small sub-groups.

For example, speakers of Hindi will separate themselves entirely from speakers of Urdu; most Ukrainians will separate themselves from most Russians (but possibly not vice versa); and most Chinese will see themselves as members of the same community as all other Chinese, even though speakers of Cantonese or Hokkien might not be able to express that sense of community to a speaker of Mandarin or to each other except through their shared writing system. The single-language, or single-variety, criterion is also a very dubious one. Gumperz (1971, p. 101) points out that ‘there are no a priori grounds which force us to de? e speech communities so that all members speak the same language. ’

As I observed in the previous chapter, many societies have existed and still exist in which bilingualism and multilingualism are normal. For example, early in the year 2000 London was judged to be the most ‘international’ of all cities in the world based on the number of different languages spoken there – over 300. It is such considerations as these which lead Gumperz (p. 101) to use the term linguistic community rather than speech community. He proceeds to de? ne that term as follows: a social group which may be either onolingual or multilingual, held together by frequency of social interaction patterns and set off from the surrounding areas by weaknesses in the lines of communication. Linguistic communities may consist of small groups bound together by face-to-face contact or may cover large regions, depending on the level of abstraction we wish to achieve. In this de? nition, then, communities are de? ned partially through their relationships with other communities.

Internally, a community must have a certain social cohesiveness; externally, its members must ? d themselves cut off from other communities in certain ways. The factors that bring about cohesion and differentiation will vary considerably from occasion to occasion. Individuals will therefore shift their sense of community as different factors come into play. Such a de? nition is an extension of the one that Bloom? eld (1933, p. 42) uses to open his chapter on speech communities: ‘a speech community is a group of people who interact by means of speech. ’ The extension is provided by the insistence that a group or community is de? ned not only by what it is but by what it is not: the ‘cut-off’ criterion.

Gumperz (1971, p. 114) offers another de? nition of the speech community: any human aggregate characterized by regular and frequent interaction by means of a shared body of verbal signs and set off from similar aggregates by signi? cant differences in language usage. Most groups of any permanence, be they small bands bounded by face-to-face contact, modern nations divisible into smaller subregions, or even occupational associations or neighborhood gangs, may be treated as speech communities, provided they show linguistic peculiarities that warrant special study.

Not only must members of the speech community share a set of grammatical rules, but there must also be regular relationships between language use and social structure; i. e. , there must be norms which may vary by sub-group and social setting. Gumperz adds (p. 115): Wherever the relationships between language choice and rules of social appropriateness can be formalized, they allow us to group relevant linguistic forms into distinct dialects, styles, and occupational or other special parlances.

The sociolinguistic study of speech communities deals with the linguistic similarities and differences among these speech varieties. Furthermore, ‘the speech varieties employed within a speech community form a system because they are related to a shared set of social norms’ (p. 116). Such norms, however, may overlap what we must regard as clear language boundaries. For example, in Eastern Europe many speakers of Czech, Austrian German, and Hungarian share rules about the proper forms of greetings, suitable topics for conversation, and how to pursue these, but no common language.

They are united in a Sprachbund, ‘speech area,’ not quite a ‘speech community,’ but still a community de? ned in some way by speech. As we can see, then, trying to de? ne the concept of ‘speech community’ requires us to come to grips with de? nitions of other concepts, principally ‘group,’ ‘language’ (or ‘variety’), and ‘norm. ’ Hymes (1974, p. 47) disagrees with both Chomsky’s and Bloom? eld’s de? nitions of a speech community. He claims that these simply reduce the notion of speech community to that of a language and, in effect, throw out ‘speech community’ as a worthwhile concept.

He points out that it is impossible to equate language and speech community when we lack a clear understanding of the nature of language. He insists that speech communities cannot be de? ned solely through the use of linguistic criteria (p. 123). The way in which people view the language they speak is also important, that is, how they evaluate accents; how they establish the fact that they speak one language rather than another; and how they maintain language boundaries. Moreover, rules for using a language may be just as important as feelings about the language itself.

He cites the example of the Ngoni of Africa. Most Ngoni no longer speak their ancestral language but use the language of the people they conquered in Malawi. However, they use that language in ways they have carried over from Ngoni, ways they maintain because they consider them to be essential to their continued identity as a separate people. Hymes adds that analogous situations may be observed among some native groups in North America: they use English in special ways to maintain their separate identities within the dominant Englishspeaking community.

As we saw too in the previous chapter code-switching can be used to achieve a shared identity and delimit a group of speakers from all others. For Hymes, the concept of ‘speech community’ is a dif? cult one to grasp in its entirety, for it depends on how one de? nes ‘groups’ in society. He also distinguishes (pp. 50–1) between participating in a speech community and being a fully ? edged member of that community: To participate in a speech community is not quite the same as to be a member of it.

Here we encounter the limitation of any conception of speech community in terms of knowledge alone, even knowledge of patterns of speaking as well as of grammar, and of course, of any de? nition in terms of interaction alone. Just the matter of accent may erect a barrier between participation and membership in one case, although be ignored in another. Obviously membership in a community depends upon criteria which in the given case may not even saliently involve language and speaking, as when birthright is considered indelible.

However, he reaf? rms (p. 51) an earlier (1962, pp. 30–2) de? nition of speech community: ‘a local unit, characterized for its members by common locality and primary interaction. ’ He is prepared to ‘admit exceptions cautiously. ’ Brown and Levinson (1979, pp. 298–9) point out that: Social scientists use the word ‘group’ in so many ways, as for example in the phrases small group, reference group, corporate group, ethnic group, interest group, that we are unlikely to ? nd any common core that means more than ‘set’.

Social scientists who adopt the weak concept of structure . . . are likely to think of groups in relatively concrete terms, as independently isolable units of social structure. . . . On the other hand, social theorists who adopt the stronger concept of structure are more likely to think of groups as relative concepts, each group being a unit that is relevant only in relation to units of like size that for immediate purposes are contrasted with it. Thus for a man who lives in Cambridge, his territorial identi? ation will be with Cambridge when contrasted with Newmarket, with Cambridgeshire when contrasted with Lancashire, with England when contrasted with Scotland, with the United Kingdom when contrasted with Germany, and so on. ‘Group’ is therefore a relative concept and ‘speech community’ must also be relative. You are a member of one speech community by virtue of the fact that on a particular occasion you identify with X rather than Y when apparently X and Y contrast in a single dimension.

This approach would suggest that there is an English speech community (because there are French and German ones), a Texas speech community (because there are London and Bostonian ones), a Harvard speech community (because there are Oxford and Berkeley ones), a Chicano speech community (because there are Spanish and English ones), and so on. An individual therefore belongs to various speech communities at the same time, but on any particular occasion will identify with only one of them, the particular identi? cation depending on what is especially important or contrastive in the circumstances.

For any speci? c speech community, the concept ‘re? ects what people do and know when they interact with one another. It assumes that when people come together through discursive practices, they behave as though they operate within a shared set of norms, local knowledge, beliefs, and values. It means that they are aware of these things and capable of knowing when they are being adhered to and when the values of the community are being ignored . . . it is fundamental in understanding identity and representation of ideology’ (Morgan, 2001, p. 31).

English Language Within Speech Communities. (2016, Nov 02). Retrieved from

"English Language Within Speech Communities." StudyMoose , 2 Nov 2016,

StudyMoose. (2016). English Language Within Speech Communities . [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 4 Mar. 2023]

"English Language Within Speech Communities." StudyMoose, Nov 02, 2016. Accessed March 4, 2023.

"English Language Within Speech Communities," StudyMoose , 02-Nov-2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 4-Mar-2023]

StudyMoose. (2016). English Language Within Speech Communities . [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 4-Mar-2023]

English Language Within Speech Communities

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

my speech community essay

Speech Community Essay

Uploaded by, document information, original title, available formats, share this document, share or embed document, sharing options.

Did you find this document useful?

Is this content inappropriate, original title:, reward your curiosity.

my speech community essay


my speech community essay

Communication: Speech Community Theory

Discourse community examples.

What is a discourse community? According to “The Concept of Discourse Community,” it’s a “discourse operates within conversations defined by communities, be they academic disciplines or social groups.” In other words, it is a group that has goals or a purpose and use communication to achieve that goal. In the movie Mean Girls there are many examples of discourse communities but I’m going to focus specifically on The Plastics. The movie Mean Girls is about a sixteen year old girl, Cady Heron, who has recently moved from Africa to the United States, and is attending public school for the first time. Her first day of school was not the best, but on her second day of school she meets Janis Ian and Damian Leigh who start to guide Cady into high school by telling her about different groups (cliques/discourse communities) in the school, including the Plastics, which is made up of Karen Smith, Gretchen Wieners, and Regina George. The Plastics soon take interest in Cady ask her to sit with them at lunch. Thanks to that we learn all about the discourse community of The Plastics. According to John Swales, there are six characteristics of a discourse community which I will discuss and use The Plastics as an example.

Mike Rose In A Discourse Community

Recently, there has been a lot of interest in discourse communities. According to James Porter, "a discourse community is a group of people bound by a common interest who communicate through channels and discourse is regulated (Couzelis, Isip, Adkins 12 and Porter 38-39).  John Swales, however, states that a community can only be a true discourse community if they meet six requirements: they have to share clearly stated goals; they have to use a mechanism of communication; they offer feedback and information; utilize one or more genres of text, the group uses specific lexis; and they have old members with new ones (Couzelis, Isip, Adkins 12 and Swales 471-473). Under these guidelines, Mike Rose 's mother Rosie is in a discourse community because

Discourse Community Research Paper

Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher and author, once stated, “The well-being of a community of people working together will be the greater, the less the individual claims for himself the proceeds of his work, the more of these proceeds he makes over to his fellow-workers, the more his own needs are satisfied, not out of his own work but out of the work done by others” (“Recording of Society”). This quote represents the true meaning of a discourse community. A discourse community is a group of social individuals that work together to reach a common goal, understand the same basic values and assumptions, and use a unique kind of communication to reach their set goal or purpose. A good example of a discourse community is the organization

My Discourse Community Essay

We communicate in many ways, either by email, telephone, text, face to face, social media or letters and the language we use allows us to get things done, nonetheless the language and communication method in which we chose to use can vary depending on the discourse community. Much like John Swales suggests a discourse community involves a group of people who share the same common public goals, such as shared interests, rules, structure, and vocabulary. When thinking about the several discourse communities I am evolved in, which include family, coaching football, college student, and a few friends. These discourse communities have influenced me, given me insight of where I come from and tell who I am as a person. I also believe much like Swales,

Paul Roberts Speech Communities Summary

In his essay "Speech Communities," Paul Roberts mentions the importance and impact speech communities have on an individual's form of speech. According to Paul Roberts language is always changing due to three distinct features: age, social class, and geography. All which are the basis for forming speech communities and causing then to eventually adapt and evolve.

Examples Of Discourse Communities

A few examples of discourse communities who would use diffrent various types of languages within their area of expertise include teachers, doctors, and scientists .How ever those are not the only professional occupations that are identified as a discourse community , the languages that are used towards friends, teachers, and family while doing hobbies or our general daily day lives are different depending on who we

Qualitative Study Of Friendship

In order to evaluate the contribution of qualitative research on friendship, it is crucial to define and have some background of friendship, define and understand qualitative approach and then evaluate its contribution to friendship research. Friendship is considered to be one of the pillars of day to day life starting from childhood to very old age. Friendship is a complex endeavour and can be difficult to define as it may have different meanings to different people at different times. Friendship has different stages and occurs inversely in different stages of life i,e childhood, adolescence, and adulthood friend, long-term friend, best friend, good friend, school friend, college friend and etc. Friendship is a mutual trust and support between

The Importance Of Discourse Communities

One point Swales brought up was that communication is necessary to fall under the category of a discourse community and that each discourse community must have a unique way of communicating (221). That is a way of saying that each discourse community must have their own language. If a group of people are really part of the discourse community, then they will be able to communicate fluently (Swales 221). Communication and language is a very hot topic in Gee’s article and we see that when he says, “Someone can speak English, but not fluently. However, someone cannot engage in a discourse in a less than fluent matter. You are either in it or you’re not.” (Gee 487). Swales and Gee obviously agree on the idea of communication but surprisingly, Porter does too. Porter writes that, “A “discourse community” is a group of individuals bound by a common interest who communicate through approved channels…” (porter 400) All three of these journalist agree that communication is vital to a discourse

Deborah Tannen How Male And Female Students Use Language Differently

An essay written by Deborah Tannen called “How male and females students use language differently”, is describing how they talk and interact with others. The writer presents different studies on how language changes based on a certain person. The essay states that men are more aggressive and talkative, while women are calm and modest about talking about the views they share. The main points that will be looked at are the different genders, backgrounds, and groups. These are used to help to better understand why language is used differently.

The Importance Of Discourse Community

Discourse communities consist of a group of people who link up in order to pursue the same objectives and goals. There are many different examples of these discourse

John Swales Discourse Community

To begin with, a discourse community is a group people having the same issues and needs address with. Author John Swales also have idea. He says. “A discourse community has a broadly agreed set of common public goals. These public goals may be formally inscribed in documents (as is often the case with associations and clubs), or they may be more tacit.” (Swales) Just like what John Swales have mention, the Asian immigrant students discourse community are also fulfilled with issues waiting to addressed, and solving the problem is the first step in order to achieve the ultimate goal in the final. In addition, as an Asian immigrant arrived in the States not long ago, I was having the same American Dream just like most of immigrants come to the

Reflective Essay On Communication

Everytime we communicate with another person or group of people, we have to take into account some factors other than what we are actually saying that can affect how the message is going to be received: body language, tone, intonation, facial expressions, and others; this is what we understand for non-verbal communication. As we saw in class “55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and 7% is the actual words spoken.”, this showcases the great importance of understanding this topic in order to have a clear communication process, since these can distort the meaning of the message. Although non-verbal expressions are present in every culture, their individual meanings and relevance are going to change from one to another, this is why it is important to not only recognize the overall value of this topic, but to study the different patterns of nonverbal communication from different cultures as well.

The Importance Of Cultural Differences In Communication

Languages and interactions are two principal concepts in present days. Being master in using and perceiving the modern methods of communications at works furnishes us with intellectual tools which we cannot afford to reject. With the expanding of organizations in the world and working internationally the needs of understanding other cultures and new ways of dealing with others become a key aspect of competitive advantages for any organization. Any organization regarding to meet its objectives and goals; assigns some written or not written norms, values, culture and behavioural patterns which should be understood and pursued by all the co-workers. This will create an employer image in labour market locally as well as in the international business market. Moreover, once a person starts working in any organization he or she will acquire a belonging feeling to that specific professional community. This professional community follows set of practices, specific knowledge and common values, hence creates discourse community that plays an essential role. However, spoken and written communication methods at work either among colleagues or between a professional member and lay people possesses unique

Essay On Language Culture And Society

Society as a periphery covers and reflects the inner cultural vein through it symbolic implicature. It becomes authentic through a time –tested fixed symbol and gets surfaced through the mode of repression by the community in concern a society consists of planned interaction among people. These interactions involve communication. The structure of communication system determines more than anything else the boundaries of social body. The flow of communication reflects the pace and direction of social development and the context of the communication represent the values of the society. The speech pattern has its definite form and therefore its functional features are strictly correlated with the nature social codes. Thus sociolinguistics, as an interdisciplinary study of language use, attempts to show the relationship between language and

Language In Society: The Relationship Between Language And Society

Language is an important part of our life. Language and communication cannot separate. People use the language as a means of communication to express their ideas and feelings. They communicate either with each other using language in every social interaction; communicate with others directly or indirectly in the spoken and written form. Therefore, language is an important thing of communication in social life. In the social life, language and society are two things that support each other. It is impossible if there is society without language and there is language without society, because language is a device to communicate one to another (Adam J.H, 1982; 3). There is the study to organize between language and the society that is called sociolinguistics.

More about Communication: Speech Community Theory

Related topics.

Hamburger menu


My Family Speech Community Analysis

my speech community essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

Octavia butler's speech sounds.

Since we were toddlers, we have been told to “use our words.” Even at a young age we are taught that speech is highly valuable when attempting to achieve a positive reaction. Throughout history, this has appeared to be true in some way or another, but what happens when this system breaks down? In Octavia Butler’s “Speech Sounds,” she depicts a society suffering from the loss of ability to speak, write, or both which causes the people to revert to animalistic means of expression, thus breaking down the atmosphere of community. Although Rye and Obsidian are able to form a connection without verbal or written communication, their rare and brief relationship reveals the instability of their society at large. This instability further proves that…

Spoken Language

In everyday life I adapt our spoken language to meet the expectations of other people. I familiarize my speech to suit friends, older family members and younger brothers, sisters or cousins. The way I speak may vary depending on the age of my listener, his or her authority, or how formal the conversation is.…

com worksheet

Explains some of the reasons for changes to speech as individuals attempt to emphasize or minimize the social differences between themselves and their interlocutors…

Explore Some Aspects of the Ways Your Speech Changes According to the Context You Are in.

My speech is also influenced by my sociolect around my friendship group, I tend to use a low register with my closer friends because I feel more combatable and at ease when have conversations with them. Whereas are my grandparent for instants I find that I use a very high register; this is probably due to the fact that…

Unit 4222-301 Questions And Answers

* Family backgrounds make a difference and everyone has their own way of communicating together. For example a family member may say a word that will make the rest of the family laugh but a visitor will remain puzzled, or someone may use a ‘slang’ word that the rest of the family understands but not visitors.…

Judging People: Does Language Divide Us?

Accent, the way a person speaks, causes separation between two people because it creates a barrier…

Explain How People From Different Backgrounds May Use and/or Interpret Communication Methods in Different Ways

Working in early years in a multi cultural society, it is important to understand that people who do come from different backgrounds may have different ways of communicating and they may even interpret the way others communicate unexpectedly.…

Controlled Assessment Draft

I was born in Leicester. People in Leicester have a very distinct accent and dialect and during my short period there, I collected many of these features as my own. Ends of sentences would be punctuated with “luv” or “duck” and “good food!” became “bostin’ fittle!” Due to unfortunate circumstances, I was adopted at the age of three and I moved into a completely different society. I was with Southerners. Whereas people from the midlands would talk about “lampin’” the guy that looked at them oddly, down here they would use fancy words like “injunction” and “lawsuit”. I was completely out of my comfort zone. The South has always been associated with wealth and the middle class and me, with my Midlands tendencies, could not adjust for quite a while.…

John Swales Concept Of A Discourse Community

“The Concept of Discourse Community,” an excerpt from the book Genre Analysis, by John Swales attempts to indicate the actual definition of a discourse community. Swales main argument is that there is a difference between a speech community and a discourse community. Also, that there are six characteristics a group must meet in order to be a discourse community. Swales then provides examples and discusses issues concerning the idea of a discourse community.…

Discussing Discourse Community In John Swales '

In John Swales’ article he aims to distinguish between a discourse community and a speech community setting several criteria in his article. He views a speech community…

Discourse Communities

In today’s world, there are many different discourse communities that consist of how someone speaks at home versus how someone speaks at school. In Amy Tam’s essay, “Mother Tongue,” she explains her discourse communities and how they affect her life. I think it is safe to say that she is not the only one who deals with this. I myself find myself talking differently when I am with my family versus when I am at school and I know there are so many others who feel the same way. I believe that there are differences between these discourse communities. For example, how someone acts or speaks when he or she is with a particular community. Based on this, I think that students should be required to use academic discourse in a college writing environment for multiple reasons which include: writing properly, sounding more intelligent, getting the respect one deserves, being more educated with today’s modern English style, and increasing one’s vocabulary.…

Discourse Community In American Speech-Hearing-Language By John Swales

Some people can’t communicate properly. Some never will. The only people that understand them are the people that struggle with the same things they do. People with communication disorders must become part of a discourse community to be able to achieve their ultimate goal of being able to communicate with everyone. In order for these people to achieve their goal, they need others that are interested in helping them that understand their disorder. For someone interested in communication disorders, it is not only to important to recognize the four main discourse communities as speech, language, hearing, and processing, but also the differences between them and the smaller discourse communities within.…

The Great Society Speech Analysis

Johnson uses several key elements of a great speech to target his audience. One of the key elements he uses are powerful metaphors and paints vivid imagery. In the speech at the University of Michigan, Johnson says several metaphors and vivid imagery. One of the first is “I have come today from the turmoil of your capital to the tranquility of you campus to speak about the future of your country.” He is making a comparison to the nation's capital to the university campus and connecting to the audience. He goes on to say, The Great Society rests on abundance and liberty for all. This gives the Great Society a physical feature that can be felt, seen, and weighed. He is describing a solid foundation, which most believe is important for all things…

National Honor Society Speech Analysis

As quite the introvert, I never would have imagined myself as the secretary of such a renowned organization: the National Honor Society. However, I had decided to take on the challenge of running for board, requiring me to give a speech to our 500+ NHS members. My strengths did not lie in public speaking or persuasion like the other candidates. Instead, my speech involved me singing Mulan’s “Be a Man,” using ingenuity and humor to win over opinions. I believe that pushing yourself into an unfamiliar situation is the best way to learn and grow, as this approach demands problem solving and innovative thinking. NHS has pushed me to be more outgoing and active in the community by giving me the privilege of leadership, and I would definitely serve…

Genographic Project Informative Speech

A. (attention grabber): Everyone here probably knows what ethnicity you are, where your immediate family came from, or maybe can even trace your great-great grandparents. But what if I told you that you can find out where your ancestors came from tens of thousands of years ago from using this! (hold up a cotton swab)…

Related Topics

Sociolinguistic Concepts: Speech Community

The existing different categories used by sociologists to study society include; economic characteristics, class, regional characteristics, and ethnicity. Sociology defines a community as a dimension of shared possessions, knowledge, and behaviors. Linguists however use another dimension of social organization by using speech community to refer to the community. Sociolinguists, therefore, combine the two (Mesthrie, 2000). Lyons cited in Wardhaugh (2006) has a different view of a speech community and refers to them as ‘real’. The real speech community in this case is “all the people who use a given language (or dialect)” (Wardhaugh, 2006 p. 120; Hudson, 1996 p. 24). This concept perceives speech communities as those that can overlap in cases where bilingual individuals exist and therefore eliminate the need for cultural or social unity. It is noted that c and post-modern cultures and languages. The characteristics of societies, therefore, change with time, and studying such communities requires a definition that includes all aspects.

There are so many categories used by sociologists to study society. These categories include; economic characteristics, class, regional characteristics, and ethnicity. Sociology defines a community as a dimension of shared possessions, knowledge, and behaviors. Linguists however use another dimension of social organization by using speech community to refer to the community. Sociolinguists, therefore, combine the two (Mesthrie, 2000).

Sociolinguistics studies consider the community as a speech community. They examine the relationship between language and the social world considering how language creates structures in society (Nunan & Carter, 2001). Wardhaugh notes that sociolinguistics is the study of the use of language among or within groups of speakers (2006). The community of sociolinguists however has had so many definitions. So many authors have defined speech community using different concepts.

All these concepts have led to a finer definition that can be used by sociolinguists for studies and even teaching different communities. Below is a brief literature review about the definitions, concepts, and theorists of a speech community. Its use in the current sociolinguistic research is also outlined.

Wardhaugh (2006) and other authors have explained so many definitions of speech community according to different theorists who believe differently about what a speech community is. The following definitions are according to different authors who had different opinions about the speech community.

A speech community is a social group with members having similar/coherent speech characteristics (Wardhaugh, 2006). Lyons cited in Wardhaugh (2006) has a different view of a speech community and refers to them as ‘real’. The real speech community in this case is “all the people who use a given language (or dialect)” (Wardhaugh, 2006 p. 120; Hudson, 1996 p. 24). This concept perceives speech communities as those that can overlap in cases where bilingual individuals exist and therefore eliminate the need for cultural or social unity. Hudson (1996) however notes that it is only possible to consider speech community as people who use a given language or dialect only if it is possible to consider the languages without referring to the community speakers.

Wardhaugh further recognizes that a speech community is not coterminous with a language (2006). According to Wardhaugh, so many people in many places across the world speak English. The language is also spoken differently among different communities that are completely separated from one another. Examples of such communities are in South Africa, among expatriates in China and New Zealand. Wardhaugh also notes that one speech community can speak more than one language for example in African states, Canada, Papua New Guinea, Switzerland, and New York (2006).

If speech community is to be defined by linguistic characteristics, then language has to be recognized as a communal possession. Using linguistic characteristics to define speech community however has not been possible due to the difference in these characteristics. People do not feel directly related to different linguistic characteristics when in one speech community as it is referred to.

If there is a speech community ‘T’ with linguistic characteristics X, Y, and Z for example, people in the ‘T’ speech community with X linguistic characteristics will not feel directly related to community ‘T’. The same applies to people of linguistic characteristics Y and Z (Wardhaugh, 2006).

The only sure thing in society is that people who speak a certain language use characteristics of the language to obtain group identity with each other and to achieve group differentiation from other speakers. Speakers however use other characteristics such as culture, political, social, and ethnic to also identify each other and to differentiate themselves from other speakers.

Wardhaugh argues that speech community has to be defined using an appropriate criterion and that which does not only consider linguistic characteristics giving the complete definition of a speech community (2006). This author notes that the definition of a speech community is dependent on the sociolinguistic purpose and can be narrowed down to be defined by linguistic characteristics. In this case, a single language can be chosen to define the speech community and the language is also defined for sociolinguistic purposes. Speakers that show certain linguistic norms or share a common feeling about a linguistic behavior belong to the same speech community.

This according to Wardhaugh, describes Labov’s definition of what a speech community is which states that “the speech community is not defined by any marked agreement in the use of language elements, so much as by participation in a set of shared norms” (Wardhaugh, 2006 p.121).

According to this definition, individuals feel they belong to a community because of various characteristics other than linguistics. This makes the speech community very abstract since specific norms used in those communities may not be related to language and even if they were they vary among small groups. Hindus for example may belong to the same speech community as Urdu considering the above definition, but they entirely separate themselves from this group of speakers (Wardhaugh, 2006). The same applies to Chinese who consider themselves one community but different speakers do not consider themselves belonging to that community. Hokkien for example might not express the sense of belonging to a community of Mandarin speakers.

The concept considers shared knowledge, attitudes, and shared language. Michael Halliday and Dell Hymes also had similar definitions that referred to abstract patterns of variation and shared norms and not shared speech behavior. This kind of definition emphasizes speech community as a group of people who feel they belong together as a community and those who are not identified by external characteristics as seen by linguists and outsiders (Hudson, 1996).

Bloomfield also defined speech community as cited in Hudson and Wardhaugh’s as, “a group of people who interact using speech” (1996 p. 25; 2006, p.122). This concept gives the idea that people can communicate using different languages but still belong to the same community of speech (Hudson, 1996). Bloomfield’s definition recognizes the idea that speech communities are not only identified by what they do but by what they do not do as well (Wardhaugh, 2006).

Charles Hockett also had a different concept of what speech community is. This author defined speech community as characterized by each language. It is quoted in Hudson that, “each language defines a speech community: the whole set of people who communicate with each other either directly or via the common language” (1996 p. 24). According to this concept, communication within the community is used as a criterion to define speech community. This means that if two communities speak the same language, yet they have no contact with each other, they would belong to different speech communities (Hudson, 1996).

Gumperz’s concept of speech community according to Wardhaugh and Hudson, (2006:1996) gives two definitions of what a speech community is. The first prefers referring to speech community as a linguistic community which defines a community by its relationship with other communities. It considers that community members differ in certain ways from other communities externally and have a social cohesiveness internally; a concept that recognizes Bloomfield’s definition. It defines the linguistic community as, “a social group which may be either monolingual or multilingual”. The community is considered one due to communication lines’ weaknesses from surrounding areas and the frequency of social interaction patterns (Hudson, 1996).

The second definition includes another characteristic of speech communities which indicates that speech communities should have specific linguistic differences that separate them among themselves and from the external communities. This disqualifies an earlier definition that stated that speech communities are defined by the languages so that one speech community is defined by one language. The two definitions also put much emphasis on interaction and communication contrasting the idea that speech communities overlap due to bilingualism as earlier stated (Hudson, 1996).

Another approach of what speech community is was advocated by Robert Le Page. In this definition, speech community is referred to as societal groups with distinctive social and speech characteristics. These groups according to Hudson cannot be identified by objective methods used by sociologists, but are those just perceived by the speakers to existing (1996). This definition also indicates that a group may represent certain social types and does not necessarily need to consider the whole population.

The groups in this case overlap but due to multilingualism and not bilingualism as previous definitions stated. The individuals group themselves in various multi-dimensions defined by groups found in the society. Each group has linguistic items that make up their language so that other groups can contribute to the linguistic items in their language. These personal groupings are considered speech communities by Bolinger Dwight. Based on the overlap existing between different groups and how the groups’ items are classified to form items of another group’s language, complexity is created in Bolinger’s speech community (Hudson, 1996).

Speech community definition has emerged from simple definitions such as, “all the people who use a given language (or dialect)” and “a group of people who interact utilizing speech”, to speech community definition that does not even consider the term ‘speech community’ but only refers to groups as with similar speech and social characteristics. The definition of these groups has led to a more complex definition that considers personal groups in society as speech communities. The groups have specific ways of classifying items of other groups into the linguistic system forming their language.

Use of Speech Community in Current Sociolinguistic Research

The speech community forms the locus of most sociolinguistic research especially those accountable to a group of naturally occurring speech. It defines the boundaries most sociolinguistic research look for when identifying and analyzing language variation, ways of speaking, change, and choice patterns within linguistic repertoire elements (Mendes, p. 1; Maros, 2007). The definition of speech community currently constitutes the concept of so many groups that overlap as indicated earlier and with a lot of interactions between these groups. This definition is used to study and to find out variations in speech communities (Quist, p.1; Trousdale, 2005).

Sociolinguistic research as noted above is the study of the use of language within and among groups of speakers. It gives how language structures society. Speech community definition plays a very important role in such research as it specifies what a community is for the researchers (Maros, 2007). The definition of the community also expands on findings giving sociolinguists more information about the relationship between the historical, economic, sociological, and cultural factors and community languages.

As described by what definition speech community refers to by Bolinger, the concept gives knowledge on how the extralinguistic factors contribute to a specific community and their languages (Diller, 2008). An example is the case of Trio Amerindians. Carlin notes that Trio Amerindians’ community formation is brought about by extralinguistic factors that contribute to the community’s present status and the factors that influence what the community chooses to speak, to whom they speak and when they speak (Carlin, p.1).

The world of today is characterized by globalization which is characterized by post-modern cultures and languages. The characteristics of societies, therefore, change with time, and studying such communities requires a definition that includes all aspects. Language characteristics also form part of speech community definition.

TESOL teachers need to know the language characteristics of a community for effective delivery of teaching services. Knowledge on how the languages arise in a speech community (Nunan & Carter, 2001) as defined by Bolinger is therefore very important. This definition allows the TESOL teacher to identify the linguistic changes in English as well as other languages which is important information in teaching. There are three areas of research that are very important to the TESOL teacher. These are language variation, languages in contact, and linguistic relativity all of which are studied in sociolinguistic research (Nunan & Carter, 2001).

The above paper has described the definition of speech community according to several theorists giving concepts under each definition. These definitions assist sociolinguistics in studying language characteristics about social characteristics of different communities.

Reference List

Cite this paper

StudyCorgi. (2021, November 21). Sociolinguistic Concepts: Speech Community. Retrieved from

StudyCorgi. (2021, November 21). Sociolinguistic Concepts: Speech Community.

"Sociolinguistic Concepts: Speech Community." StudyCorgi , 21 Nov. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi . "Sociolinguistic Concepts: Speech Community." November 21, 2021.


StudyCorgi . "Sociolinguistic Concepts: Speech Community." November 21, 2021.

StudyCorgi . 2021. "Sociolinguistic Concepts: Speech Community." November 21, 2021.

StudyCorgi . (2021) 'Sociolinguistic Concepts: Speech Community'. 21 November.

This paper was written and submitted to our database by a student to assist your with your own studies. You are free to use it to write your own assignment, however you must reference it properly.

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on StudyCorgi, request the removal .

Essays & Writing Guides for Students

Worried about plagiarism? Read this.

Help Login | Sign Up

Speech Communities

Essay by EssaySwap Contributor ,  University, Bachelor's ,  February 2008

download word file , 6 pages download word file , 6 pages 0.0 0 votes

In the New Merriam-Webster Dictionary a speech community is defined as a socially distinct group that develops a dialect; a variety of language that diverges from the national language in vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. Gumperz, Dorian, Fishman, Labov, Hymes, and Corder helped define a speech community. This essay will touch on the basis of multiple aspects of a speech community depending on their similarities and differences as well as how the concepts of these speech communities relate to such articles written by Heller and Jackson.

Speech communities are formed by language and social behaviors. Linguistics defines a speech community through many ways. All speech communities have a set of grammatical rules, phonology, syntax, and lexicons. As well as having social norms in which they share through actions. By a person's speech it can give an idea of a person's background in ways of where they are from, how educated one is, as well is if they are friendly or unsociable.

Now linguistic acculturation explains the process when two or more cultures collide for a long time they begin assimilate each other's language. In the most extreme cases of language shifts, pidgins and creoles are developed. Besides linguistic acculturation, the situation of bilinguals, some abandon their native tongue for another. Other bilinguals have a language used within the home different from outside of the home. This mostly refers to dialectal behavior. The second concept is superposed. This occurs when there are different activities going on in the same group.

Now Gumperz defines a speech community as "any human aggregate characterized by regular and frequent interaction by means of a shared body of verbal signs and set of from similar aggregates by significant differences in language use" (219). Gumperz feels as if people should share the same norm, communicate regularly, and share...

Read Full Essay Now

Citation styles:

Speech Communities. (2008, February 01). In Retrieved 00:33, March 04, 2023, from

WriteWork contributors. "Speech Communities", 01 February, 2008. Web. 04 Mar. 2023.

WriteWork contributors, "Speech Communities,", (accessed March 04, 2023)

More Sociology essays:

This essay is about the cultural communication differences.

... of disorder. Body language can actually help or confuse the person you are trying to communicate with. Let's consider eye contact. Children that were raised in Latin American and Asian cultures show respect by avoiding the glance of authority figures. However in the United States ...

3 pages 280 1 Dec/2003 4.0


... and the lift of the brow to relay our thoughts or feelings. People use body language for a variety of reasons. Mainly to express their emotions. As with other types of communications, body language can be misunderstood because it is non-verbal and ...

2 pages 113 Apr/2004 3.0

Analysis of Karl Marx and Communism

... of both military and administrative distinction. Although many of the members of the Von Westphalen family were opposed to the marriage, Jenny's father favored Marx. In Paris, Marx became acquainted with the Communistic views of French workmen. Although he thought that the ideas of ...

9 pages 104 Apr/2006 3.0

Prepare a speech discussing the unique needs of the AGED group in a community (australia) and explain how they are unique. Also suggest ways in which their needs can be satisfied.

... and the aged group is the cost of servicing the unique needs of the group. To be straightforward, the aged are VERY expensive to us as a nation and ...

4 pages 72 1 Apr/2004 1.4

Slang, youth subculures and rock music

... of William Shakespeare's day are found only in certain modern-day British dialects or in the dialect of the southern United States . Words that are taboo in one era (e.g., stomach, thigh) can become accepted, standard words in a later era. Language is dynamic, and ...

92 pages 926 1 Mar/2005 3.6

Students & Profs. say about us:

"Good news: you can turn to other's writing help. WriteWork has over 100,000 sample papers"

Prof. Jacob Leland, Phd

"I turned what i thought was a C+ paper into an A-"

Dawn S., college student Newport, RI

View this document View this document

We've been mentioned in:

Where our 375,000 members study:

Popular essays:

Downward mobility as a societal issue.

... of success can ultimately lead to bad decisions. Karl Marx would argue "capitalism ...

2 pages 10 Feb/2008 0.0

Revolt And Revenge

... Of the Coming of John," W.E.B. Du Bois presents a story of a young black man and white man ...

5 pages 11 Feb/2008 0.0

A Critique of "For Gay Marriage," by Andrew Sullivan

... important point for Sullivan concerns child-rearing. He asserts ...

2 pages 30 Feb/2009 3.0

Dave Barry And Cynthia Rylant

... different point of views the ... same topic. The first paragraph it explained the comparisons of each of ...

1 pages 6 Feb/2008 0.0

This essay is on Blau's exchange theory

... social exchange take place. External Validity: This theory does have real-world ...

6 pages 3 May/2012 0.0



Speech Communities

It is hard to imagine that American English is closer to that of Shakespeare than the English of London. Roberts asserts this, but offers no explanation. However, we (and they) typically think of American English versus London English (is that English English?) as simply the difference in pronunciation"”"to-mA-to" versus "to-mOtto". The differences must run far deeper, including lexicon, sentence structure, implications, interpretation, and more.Roberts provides an explanation for the process of speech evolution, and ties it largely to the process of young people moving among various communities (spe ...view middle of the document...

" One must ask if this could ever happen, and more importantly, if it's desired. Certain segments of America revel in their unique speech adaptations, and apparently work to maintain uniqueness as a form of social and ethnic identity through speech identity.Later, Roberts says that language differences in America tend to correlate with education or profession rather than with birth. In America, an individual can move to a different class level by personal effort"”the hallmark of a meritocracy"”rather than by birthright. But in England, language and class are riveted together and indelibly define one's life and lifestyle.Roberts asks if one type of English is better than another, and concludes that the best English is wherever the discourse occurs. He further suggests that the very best English can be found at San Jose State College.Roberts asserts that the characteristics of good English are clarity, and precision. He also suggests that our portrayal of "better" is related to our characterization of the society that speaks in a manner with whom we wish to identify. We label ourselves (create our identity) by our speech patterns. In other words, "...correct speech is that which sounds normal and natural to one's comrades."

More like Speech Communities

Racism and its effect on communities - las141 - essay, discourse community, how are these communities working in the technology. - eng 352 - essay, the international communities had an important role in the abolishment of apartheid. - school - essay, research paper on obesity on low income communities - english 101 - research paper, bell hooks keeping close to home - english - outline, an essay on the speech of martin luther king, "i have a dream" and "the ballot or the bullet" by malcolm x. the differences and similiraties of these two speeches, english assessment 2 - rabbit proof fence - year 9 - essay, internet crimes informative speech - burges high school - informative, a brief overviewnof aborigional studies - aborigional studies - assignment, language and gender: do women and men talk differently, sociocultural perspective by lev semenovich vygotsky - macewan - essay, assignment, police brutality and excessive force - public speaking - essay, persuasive speech littering and pollution - nimitz - persuasive speech, artificial intelligence key definitions of ai - university of memphis scms - artificial intelligence key definitions of ai, public opinion in california.


  1. How to Get Your Community Service Essay Crafted

    my speech community essay

  2. a good speech topic, speech on my school in english, research approach example, creative writing

    my speech community essay

  3. What Is A Community Essay Example

    my speech community essay

  4. What Is A Community Essay Example

    my speech community essay

  5. Giving back to your community college essay

    my speech community essay

  6. A Definition of Speech Community in Sociolinguistics

    my speech community essay


  1. Introductory speech

  2. Introductory Speech

  3. VID 20230121 175335

  4. Introductory Speech

  5. Introductory Speech

  6. Jeff winger great speech community


  1. What Is a “who Am I” Essay?

    A “who am I” essay is a simple type of open-ended introductory essay. It is used in certain schools, workplaces and around the world to help members of a group introduce themselves through their writing. They are generally about a page long...

  2. Why Is Speech Important?

    Speech is necessary for learning, interacting with others and for people to develop. Speech begins at an early age and it develops as a person ages. There are different elements that play a role in speech.

  3. What Are the Four Types of Speeches?

    Four types of speeches are demonstrative, informative, persuasive and entertaining speeches. The category of informative speeches can be divided into speeches about objects, processes, events and concepts.

  4. Free Speech Community Essays and Papers

    There may be speech communities within my speech communities that I'm not even aware of, or speech communities that overlap. In this essay, I will discuss

  5. Speech Communities

    A very interesting speech community in my life happens at the place I work.

  6. Essay

    In my speech community (English-speaking college student) I know when it's OK to identify myself by first name only or by first and last name.

  7. English Language Within Speech Communities Free Essay Example

    “ She followed all my directions. ... It remains so even if we decide that a speech community is no more than some kind of

  8. Speech Community Essay

    This was my final paper in the Speech Community topic. I used this to personalize my feelings, opinions, and ideas about the gamer speech community.

  9. Speech Community Essay

    my speech community switches off from tal ing solely in (ussian to a mi# of (ussian

  10. Communication: Speech Community Theory

    In his essay "Speech Communities," Paul Roberts mentions the importance and impact speech communities have on an individual's form of speech.

  11. My Family Speech Community Analysis

    In Amy Tam's essay, “Mother Tongue,” she explains her discourse communities and how they affect her life. I think it is safe to say that she is not the only one

  12. Sociolinguistic Concepts: Speech Community

    Sociolinguistics studies consider the community as a speech community. They examine the relationship between language and the social world

  13. Speech Communities

    Gumperz, Dorian, Fishman, Labov, Hymes, and Corder helped define a speech community. This essay will touch on the basis of multiple aspects

  14. Speech Communities

    Read this full essay on Speech Communities. It is hard to imagine that American English is closer to that of Shakespeare than the English of London.