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Prestige (sociolinguistics)
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In sociolinguistics, prestige describes the level of respect accorded to a language or dialect as compared to that of other languages or dialects in a speech community. The concept of prestige in sociolinguistics is closely related to that of prestige or class within a society. Generally, there is positive prestige associated with the language or dialect of the upper classes, and negative prestige with the language or dialect of the lower classes. The concept of prestige is also closely tied to the idea of the standard language, in that the most prestigious dialect is likely to be considered the standard language, though there are some notable exceptions to this rule, such as Arabic.[1] Prestige is particularly visible in situations where two or more languages come in contact, and in diverse, socially stratified urban environments, in which there are likely to be speakers of different languages or dialects interacting frequently. Despite common perceptions that certain dialects or languages are relatively good or bad, correct or incorrect, "judged on purely linguistic grounds, all languages—and all dialects—have equal merit".[2] Contents [hide]

1 Causes
2 Effects on attitudes towards language
2.1 Language or dialect?
2.2 Class and prestige
2.2.1 Dialect differentiation and social stratification in a North Indian village 2.2.2 Social stratification of New York City
2.2.3 Gender and covert prestige
2.3 Connection with "standard" language
2.3.1 Racial harmony in Singapore
3 In language contact situations
4 Effects on language structure
4.1 Diglossia
4.2 Vernacularization
4.3 Regionalization
5 See also
6 Notes
7 References
8 External links

Different languages and dialects are accorded prestige based upon factors which include "rich literary heritage, high degree of language modernization, considerable international standing, or the prestige of its speakers".[3] Having many of these attributes will likely mean the language is viewed as being of high prestige; likewise, a language or dialect with few or none of these attributes will be considered to be of low prestige. This phenomenon is not limited to English-speaking populations. In Western Europe, multiple languages were considered to be of high prestige at some time or another, including "Italian as the Mediterranean lingua franca and as the language of the Renaissance; and the 17th-18th century French of the court culture".[4] There is a strong correlation between the prestige of a group of people and the prestige accorded to the language they speak, as "language is intertwined with culture".[5] Linguist Laurie Bauer's description of Latin's prestige exemplifies this phenomenon: “The prestige accorded to the churchmen, lawyers and scholars who used Latin was transferred to the language itself. Latin was held to be noble and beautiful, not just the thoughts expressed in it or the people who used it. What is called 'beauty' in a language is more accurately seen as a reflection of the prestige of its speakers.[6]” Walt Wolfram, a professor of linguistics at North Carolina State University, notes that he "can't think of any situations in the United States where low-prestige groups have high-prestige language systems".[2] Effects on attitudes towards language[edit]

Language or dialect?[edit]
Main article: dialect
Prestige influences whether a language variety is considered a language or a dialect. In...
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