Sociolect with examples and explanation


The sociolect is a social dialect, that is, a variety of language spoken by a social group. It refers to the way in which a certain society or social class makes use of language, the way in which a particular sentence is expressed in one class or another. In this article, we will elaborate on Sociolect with examples.

Sociolect (English sociolect, from Latin Societas – society, and dialect), social dialect – group speech (primarily lexical and stylistic) features characteristic of any social group – professional, age, subculture. In this, the sociolect differs from the dialect spoken by the representatives of a certain geographical area, and the idiolect – the language inherent in a particular individual.A set of speech features of a social group, a social dialect with characteristic word usage, ways of expression and stylistics, less often – a professional dialect

A sociolect is an abbreviated form of the term “social dialect“, that is, a dialect inherent in a particular social group. Sociolect consists of professional and other social types of differences in language. As a rule, these are lexical differences inherent in people of the same age, gender, profession, etc.

A sociolect is always shared by a group, while other members of society may not understand some of the words used. There are cases when some lexical units of sociolects were gradually included in natural language.

a sociolect is the speech of an “average individual” who represents his social group. On the other hand, the concept of a sociolect is broader than the concept of an archetype and also includes a system of speech means of a certain group, determined by a number of factors-strata.

The strata include the following:

Explanation of sociolect

This term appeared in linguistics relatively recently – in the second half of the XX century. It is formed of two parts – a socio-part, which indicates the attitude towards society, and the second component of the word “dialect”; it is, but in essence, a contraction of the phrase “social dialect” into one word.

A sociolect is called a set of linguistic features inherent in any social group – professional, class, age, etc. – within the limits of a particular subsystem of the national language. Examples of sociolects include speech patterns of soldiers (soldier’s jargon), schoolchildren (school jargon), criminal jargon, hippie argo, student slang, professional “language” of those who work on computers, various trade argos (for example, “shuttle traders”, drug dealers ) and etc.

The term “sociolect” is convenient to designate various and dissimilar linguistic formations, which, however, have a common feature that unites them: these formations serve the communicative needs of socially limited groups of people.

Sociolects are not integral communication systems. These are precisely the features of speech – in the form of words, phrases, syntactic structures. The basis of sociolects is vocabulary and grammatical

Sociolect Examples

1. We went shopping / We went to the store.
2. My stylus broke down / My sprain was damaged.
3. We are friends / We are partners.
4. Let me know / Throw me water
5. I have no money / I am without wool
6. The lady went into hysteria / The spoon went wild
7. That man has hyperhidrosis / That man sweats a lot
8. I had an episode of headache / It gave me pain head

Example of sociolect

Consider an example of a sociolect. A teenager from a poor Argentine family would draw the listener’s attention to the boy’s expensive shoes, calling the boots tires, the boy – guachin, and would mention their cost using the expression “worth an egg.” A young man from a higher class would not use such words and phrases. That is, the terms “guachin” or “tires” are associated with a specific sociolect, as they are used by a specific group of people.

It is important to note that quite often sociolect is confused with idiolect. It should be borne in mind that the latter is not related to the language that is used by any social group, but to the language spoken by a particular individual, to the way of his self-expression. Any person has individual phrases, words, intonations.

Clear examples to understand the term sociolect would be the following:

  • While in some social groups it would be said “We have been shopping”, in others the same would be expressed as follows: “We went to shops”.
  • While in a social group the expression “we are compadres” can be used, in another one would bet to indicate the same saying “we are friends”.
  • If in a social group to indicate that you do not have the money you would say “I do not have money or I do not have a boy”, in another you could say “I have a zero visa” or even “I do not have cash”.
  • Given that the sociolect is shared by a group in society, the rest of the members of the community may not understand some terms and expressions that the speakers use. There are cases in which certain words of a sociolect ended up becoming words of widespread use and incorporated into the natural language.
  • Sociolects are dialects used by a specific society or social group, sometimes they are linked to the level of culture of a said social group. Sometimes these sociolects are included in the language or language of a country. Sociolect with examples

More Examples of sociolect

  • After party: A party after an event.
  • Shopping: Shopping.
  • Floors / Tires: Shoes.
  • That man: That man/boy.
  • Cash: Money

By sociolect means the way of speaking of a particular social group. In the daily use of spoken language, the same language can be spoken in many ways and, in this sense, when a collective or social group has its own way of expressing itself, it is using a sociolect. The sociolect can have several levels: the cult, the colloquial, or the vulgar. Imagine a group of scholarly language teachers who usually relate for professional reasons (they communicate with a sociolect because they handle the same language but with a higher level). At the opposite extreme, we could think of a marginal collective that, when communicating, uses a series of common words and expressions and creates a “particular language”, a sociolect. Sociolect with examples

The sociolect of a social stratum has a direct relationship with its formation and culture as a social group. Thus, studying a particular sociolect is a way of understanding the links between language and society within a collective. It is evident that they do not speak the same of a social group that lives in an isolated area and is part of the rural environment than another social group of the university elite.

characteristics of sociolect

On this occasion, we are going to focus on sociolects, those language modalities that belong to a certain social stratum. The most important factor is the level of culture and education of the speakers. Sociolects change according to the following factors:

Age: Each generational group has its own traits (young people are innovative, especially when it comes to vocabulary and expressions; while older people tend to accept changes worse).

The habitat: An urban language (innovative and influenced by continuous linguistic trends) and an urban language (more conservative and with a more relaxed pronunciation) can be distinguished.

The trades and activities: Differences especially in the lexical-semantic level. Sociolect with examples

The levels of the language

These factors make us distinguish the following social varieties:

  1. Cultured level

The cultured level is typical of educated people and with a high cultural level. It is considered an example of correction. Its main characteristics are the following:

 correction in pronunciation, grammar, and lexicon.

Lexical richness, which includes abstract concepts and can cover all areas of culture.

Share characteristics of the literary tradition, and collect its richness.

  1. Standard level

The standard level constitutes a level of medium formality that meets the normative requirements of the language in a less rigid way than the educated level. It is the proper level of the media and education.

  1. Popular level

The popular level is that of everyday life. It has the following characteristics:

A subjectivity that is materialized in the frequent use of interjections, irony, and exclamations.

Linguistic economy, which causes the existence of unfinished sentences, short phrases, fillers, etc.

Frequent appeals to the listener.

Use of sayings, set phrases, and proverbial language.

  1. Vulgar level

The vulgar level is that of speakers with a low level of schooling. It has a poor lexicon and a simple grammar

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