Semantic Variation: Meaning in Society and in Sociolinguistics - The Collected Works of Ruqaiya Hasan Vol 2 - Ruqaiya Hasan†

Semantic Variation: Meaning in Society and in Sociolinguistics - The Collected Works of Ruqaiya Hasan Vol 2 - Ruqaiya Hasan†

Editor's introduction

Semantic Variation: Meaning in Society and in Sociolinguistics - The Collected Works of Ruqaiya Hasan Vol 2 - Ruqaiya Hasan†

Jonathan J. Webster [+-]
City University of Hong Kong
Jonathan J. Webster is Professor, Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics, and Director, The Halliday Centre for Intelligent Applications of Language Studies at the City University of Hong Kong. He is also the General Editor of the Equinox journal Linguistics and the Human Sciences and the editor (with Ruqaiya Hasan and Christian Matthiessen) of the two volume Continuing Discourse on Language: A Functional Perspective (Equinox, 2007).

Description

The sociolinguistic turn of the 60's has been remarkably successful: variability of language is no longer an issue open to debate. But studies of variation have by and large been restricted to the level of expression. This volume offers a critique of present day sociolinguistics, arguing that since meaning is critical to all contexts of life in society, ignoring it has led to a number of serious problems, foremost among them a mis-conception of the nature of sociolinguistics itself. By examining the possibility of systematic variation at the level of meaning, the volume makes a positive contribution to opening up a debate about the possibility of the neglected/ misrepresented notion of semantic variation. Most chapters of the volume present an account of certain aspects of an empirical research which strongly supports the view that systematic variation in the choice of semantic features occurs across different social groups. Mothers and their young children less than four years old showed in their naturally occurring conversation a highly systematic, statistically significant, orientation to distinct styles of meaning, which correlated with their social positioning, and/or with the gender of the children. The comparison of kindergarten teachers' ways of meaning with those of mothers' provides empirical proof that teacher talk is an exaggerated version of middle class mothers' talk. The volume is relevant on the one hand to theoretical issues in linguistics and sociolinguistics and on the other, to any serious discourse about equitable education. This volume is accompanied by a CD-ROM containing  A Brief Summary of the Research on Semantic Variation  Conventions for Dialogue Transcription in the Included Sample  Sample of Mother-child Dialogues  Sample of Analysis  Identifying Patterns in Linguistic Behaviour by Carmel Cloran  Semantic Networks: the Description of Linguistic Meaning in SFL by Ruqaiya Hasan, Carmel Cloran, Geoffrey Williams, and Annabelle Lukin (2007)

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Citation

Webster, Jonathan J. . Editor's introduction. Semantic Variation: Meaning in Society and in Sociolinguistics - The Collected Works of Ruqaiya Hasan Vol 2. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 1-2 Jul 2009. ISBN 9781904768364. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=30227. Date accessed: 14 Aug 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30227. Jul 2009

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