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Introduction to Sociolinguistics

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Q1-Is there a difference between Ethnomethodology and sociology?

Ethnomethodology refers to a branch sociology which deals with everyday reactions of human beings as well as the structure and nature of group interactions within different groups of people. Therefore, ethnomethodology is an integral part of sociology. It is not possible to talk about ethnomethodology without talking about one aspect of sociology or the other (Button, 1991). Sociology is a social science that deals in the structure of human societies. Ethnomethodology is one of the aspects that are explored within the discipline known as sociology.

Q2-How would you describe the relationship between language, culture and thought?

There is a strong relationship between language and culture. Language is the principal means through which both culture and cultural ties are conveyed. The intertwining relationship between language and culture starts at birth, when a child is exposed to a certain language, which is also used to describe a culture (Gleitman & Papafragou, 2009). People’s thoughts on culture are always expressed through language (Shanahan, 1997). Therefore, the relationship between language, culture and thought is extremely close-knit.

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Q3-In politeness, to what extent are nonverbal factors relevant? Is what you say as crucial as how you say or not say it?

Non-verbal factors are an integral component in the expression of politeness. What a person says is as valuable as how he says it. People pay attention to both verbal and nonverbal cues when interpreting messages. Politeness is a sociolinguistic concept that entails more than just proper pronunciation, choice of words and correctness of grammar. It also entails proper choice of nonverbal cues such as facial expression, intonation, voice projection and body movements (Trees & Manuso, 1998).

Q4. How do you approach teaching pragmatics?

In the teaching of pragmatics, the design of the curriculum is vital. Teachers should choose the elements that are of the greatest relevance to students. An interdisciplinary approach should be adopted forr purposes of enabling students to understand all concepts well (Potts, 2009). In pragmatics, teachers should enable students understand how language is applied in real-life situations. This approach should be adopted in the teaching of concepts like implicatures, presuppositions, speech acts, and information structuring.

Q5-Does language limit our way of perception in any way?

Language limits the ways in which speech communities perceive the world around them. This is because language expresses many cultural norms that form a reference point for all members of the speech community. Different speech communities define concepts like time, politeness, courtesy, taboo words in distinct ways (Pallier, 1997). This affects the way in which speakers of different languages perceive the world around them.

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