Sociolinguistics


Two Examples for Convergence and Divergence

CONVERGENCE:

June works in a travel agent’s in Cardiff, the capital city of Wales. She sees a wide range of people in the course of her job. Last Tuesday she saw an accountant, an old friend from school, a woman who works for the council as a cleaner, and a local schoolteacher. As she spoke to each person she pronounced words like better and matter differently, depending on the way her customer pronounced those words.

Source: Holmes (2008: 241)


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DIVERGENCE:

A number of people who were learning Welsh were asked to help with a survey. In their separate booths in the language laboratory, they were asked a number of questions by an RP-sounding English speaker. At one point this speaker arrogantly challenged the learners’ reasons for trying to acquire Welsh which he called a ‘dying language which had a dismal future’. In responding to this statement the learners generally broadened their Welsh accents. Some introduced Welsh words into their answers, while others used an aggressive tone. One woman did not reply for a while, and then she was heard conjugating Welsh verbs very gently into the microphone.

Source: Holmes (2008: 241)


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