Great Non-Ficition Writing.

Dialect has a large influence on the way language is used, it can be modified to include or exclude certain groups and individuals who are aware and confidently use the techniques. According to Mason Cooley, an American writer with a Ph.D. from Oxford, “An academic dialect is perfected when its terms are hard to understand and refer only to one another.” Cooley was very intellectual and his view on dialect I believe ties in closely to my hypothesis.

In the recorded conversations I transcribed, it is very obvious that dialect is used frequently and is difficult to understand for people who are not part of the conversation. For example, “Fade away”. This could be easily confused as either of the two meanings; an artwork which has a fade away effect or its intended meaning, namely a type of somersault. People could also just be entirely confused about its meaning. If the wrong meaning was interpreted, a bad situation could arise. Yet as this dialect is used in spoken language and between groups which comprehend this language, it is processed with its original intentions. But, if this certain dialect was used in written language, it would be close to impossible to grasp the right meaning if no prompts were available, which is very common in written language. When it is used in these situations it becomes significantly harder to distinguish the right meaning. This dramatically decreases the group which can understand the dialect.

Dialect can also be highly influenced by paralinguistic language features. Paralinguistic features are things such as pitch, tone, facial expressions, and body language. As an example of this, “Rip”. It could easily be confused between two basic meanings; “Rip” as in a rip in my shirt or “Rip” as in I’ve just got to rip home and grab my swimming shorts. The simple way to pick between the two homophones is by listening for onomatopoeia. In this example, “I’ve just got to rip home and grab my bike” can be identified as the meaning “Rip” as in to travel home because it would not have been used with a ripping sound to indicate the other homophone, “Rip in my shirt”. The pitch, tone and expression help portray the onomatopoeia.

Dialect is an extremely important language feature which can be manipulated in many different ways for many different reasons. It can easily include or exclude certain groups or individuals depending on their knowledge of the dialect. Also, it is highly dependable on paralinguistic language features which will change dialect in spoken language. After this response, I can firmly conclude that in fact dialect plays a large part as well as adds complexity and depth to modern language.


One thought on “Great Non-Ficition Writing.”

  1. The strength of this piece is in the fact that you are exploring your own observations and working on making a rational argument to support your hypothesis.

    I’d challenge some of the reasoning in your analysis however. For example, I would contend that the reason people can differentiate between the different meanings of the word ‘rip’, particularly in the examples of their usage that you provide, is due to their context – the semantics of the sentences in which the word is used.

    If you follow this reasoning, you can then also start to explore some of the reasons why people might use their own colloquial terms when communicating with people in their same social group, same age etc.

    I’m happy to talk this through with you, as there is definite merit in this work, but it does need some re-working.


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