Aspekten van de sociolinguistiek in Nederland: 22 maart 1980 te Amsterdam
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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In western societies there are many mechanisms and processes at work that seduce people to give up their LANGUAGE in exchange for all kinds of CODES. By CODE I mean all those varieties which are directed toward societal (cultural or sub-cultural) approval. By LANGUAGE I mean language in its two essentially human functions: individual expression of one's own thoughts and feelings, and individual evaluation of one's own experiences ("making sense"). CODES are defined by their "market value", LANGUAGE by its intrinsic, human value.Speaking a CODE is speaking in what we call the YOU-mode; it is always monitor-controlled, I listen to myself as a representative of the society, as a kind of "judge", not as a friend. When speaking LANGUAGE (the I-mode), I ignore questions of form in terms of appropriateness and pay only atten-tion to form in function of what I am trying to say.A CODE is a means of recognition for members of a certain group; it can also express group solidarity. But for intimacy LANGUAGE is needed. Having presented a few examples of CODES and one example of a speaker speaking in the I-mode (from a story by the Dutch writer Simon Carmiggelt, significantly entitled "Man"), I discuss (serious) talk with a friend as a form of intimacy in language. Some characteristics of this type of conversation are:- the disappearance of all kinds of group shibboleths (CODE-markerš);- simpler syntax, more common words, fewer learned words;- decrease of speech tempo, long pauses, within turns (to find the right words) and between turns.Such a conversation is seldom the exchange of somehow "pre-existing" messages. On the contrary, speaking itself is the process of giving sense to one's experiences. Notions as developed in speech act theory seem hardly applicable to it.Speaking in the I-mode can also lead to mutual recognition, but not as members of a specific group or category, but as man to man. This recognition does not require that partners in a conversation speak the same language in a formal sense. So one speaker may speak general Dutch and the other speaker a local dialect. When both speak as an individual, in the I-mode, recogni-tion will take place because of the Universal Base of LANGUAGE which we call EVERYMAN'S LANGUAGE.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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