Sociolinguistics


Class Pattern: Language and Socio-Economic Status

The class pattern is a typical sociolinguistic pattern a characteristic type of social stratification - it results from the correlation of a particular linguistic variable with the non-linguistic variable of social class, i.e. socioeconomic status (usually in combination with speech style).

A formulation of the class pattern:

There is a relationship between social class membership (socioeconomic status) and the use of a particular speech variety in the form that:

  • The higher the socio-economic status, the higher is the frequency of using standard forms of speech (socially accepted and positively valued speech varieties or prestige varieties) and the lower is the frequency of using non-standard forms of speech (non-prestige varieties) in all styles of speech.

  • The lower the socio-economic status, the lower is the frequency of using standard forms of speech (socially accepted and positively valued speech varieties) and the higher is the frequency of using non-standard forms of speech (non-prestige varieties) in all styles of speech.

In other words:

  • the higher we move in the social stratum, the greater is our tendency to use standard forms of speech (in all speech styles).

  • The lower we move in the social stratum, the greater is the tendency to use non-standard forms of speech (in all speech styles).


Exemplary studies