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Chapter five in An Indroduction to Sociolinguistics describes the longstanding dilemma of defining the term speech community as a social construct Many linguists believe that without first having the knowledge of what community a speaker belongs to one may not fully understand their language behavior Therefore sociolinguists have focused their studies on a type of group called speech communities The definition of a speech community has drastically changed over history yet linguists are still unable to come to an agreement Chomsky 1965 first proposed that a speech community was an idealistic group of speakers who used homogenous speech However as this was too theoretical for the real world Chomskys definition proved unhelpful for studying language use in society As a result Lyons 1970 later stated that a speech community consists of all the people who use a given language Wardhaugh 2010 119 However using only linguistic criteria to define a speech community was not adequate Instead a variety of speech markers ie social cultural ethnic factors should be incorporated as well Therefore Labov 1972 suggested a definition that shifted away from this view stating that a speech community is characterized by a group of people participating in a set of norms Consequently linguistic norms can vary significantly between members of a community As there is no theoretical grounds that a speech community must all speak the same language Grumperz 1971 used the term linguistic community alternately A linguistic community consists of monolingual or multilingual speakers who are held together by specific social patterns while at the same time are separated from other communities by weak communication Therefore communities are less defined by the language the members speak and more by social cohesion among the membersIt is apparent then that languages and dialects do not have set boarders and may influence a number of societies Therefore the number of groups a person belongs to is dependent on circumstances This leads to the concept of communities
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