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In order to understand how language variation descriptors are used we first must understand what language variation is We can say that the US is linguistically diverse because of the multitude of languages spoken here but we can also find diversity within these languages All languages have both dialectical variations and registral variations These variations or dialects can differ in lexicon phonology andor syntax from the Standard Language that we often think of as Oecorrect Language although they are not necessarily less proper than say Standard English It depends on where by whom and in what situation the dialect is used as to whether or not it is appropriate Most people are familiar with regional dialects such as Boston Brooklyn or Southern These types of variations usually occur because of immigration and settlement patterns People tend to seek out others like themselves Regional variations tend to become more pronounced as the speech community is more isolated by physical geography ie mountain ranges rivers Linguists have done extensive studies on regional dialects producing detailed Linguistic Atlases Many linguists can tell where a person is from just by knowing whether a person carries groceries home from the supermarket in a paper bag or from the grocery store in a paper sack Yule 184 And the person who comes home from the supermarket with a paper sack serves to remind us that language variation is not a discrete but rather a continuous variable Characteristics of the dialect are more pronounced in the center of the speech community and tend to be less discernible at the outer boundaries where they often overlap other regional dialects Within and between these regional variations we find the social dialects The primary social factors that influence dialects are class education occupation ethnicity sex and age Ferguson 52 Yule 191 And social dialects can vary on any or all three descriptor levels syntax or grammar lexicon
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