Thursday, October 15, 2009

Factors Influencing Language

Historical Factors

Langauge situation in any country can be likned directly to historical factors. Colonisation is in fact the greatest factor responsible for the spread of certain languages to diverse geographical locations. The language is of slavery and plantation life. It looks at the dispersion of tribes on plantations and colonies. The need to communicate and peals with sovereignty (take on the language of the colony that took over).These factors are often related to colonization or migration. For example, French and English are spoken in Canada today because it was the scene of several conflicts between France and England in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Social Factors

Social dominance of agroup enusres that its dialect becomes the one that assumes the place of importance in society.Social factors affect interaction with peers. It affects how you communicate with others of different age group and by structure in society.
Cultural factors ensure that the social dominance of a group ensures that its dialect becomes the one that assumes the place of importance in the society and is considered to be standard language of that society. Much of the dynamism of a language is a result of constant social change and the emergence of new cultural phenomena. However, the elements of social and economic class always affect attitudes to and choice of language. For example, persons seeking to be recognized as part of a certain social group may deliberately cultivate the language or dialect of that group although they do not normally speak that dialect. Sometimes persons may switch from one variety of language to another throughout the day while they interact in different social settings. Social factors also determine which types of language are considered desirable and which ones are improper.
Global movement of people has been a major influence on language. Migrants and refugees are eager to assimilate quickly to the new culture as they can, to facilitate their ability to fit in with their society. As generations are born into new culture much of their original language is lost.
Acculturation or assimilating of the new culture affects the language of immigrants; sometimes the language of the host country also undergoes change as a result of the new cultural influences. The coexistence of different languages from different languages from different cultures in a society results in linguistic changes in all the languages and the nature of the cultural changes determines which language is more widely influential and what types of change take place.

Interaction with peers
Interaction with others [different age groups]
Structure of the society – cultural plurality [several cultures groups existing in the same environment]


Environmental factors affects the present occasion. Meaning, it affects the function you attend. It affects the register that you use and it helps you to determine what kind of register should be used. This factor affects interaction within your home; the language used at church (ceremonial); the school language, where the language is one of interaction with peers and instruction.


Level of educational background
Availability of educational materials which foster the development of language
The teacher
Interaction with students during class
Accessibility of and exposure to training
Level of literacy


Rurality vs. urbanization
These factors give rise to the issues which perpetuate the prevailing attitudes, both negative and positive, to language in Jamaica and some other territories in the Caribbean. Discuss among your friends the attitudes the Standard English and Jamaican Creole which you have observed; remember that you need to be able to analyse such in the Analytical section of the Internal Assessment.

EDUCATIONAL – This deals with the level of educational background. The availability of educational materials has helped to increase the development of language. Teachers help in the development of education with the interaction with the class.

ECONOMIC – The availability of material to improve education. Traveling helps in the development because by traveling, more exposure is gained.

POLITICAL – The official language of a country is normally indicated in the national constitution or other official sources. Recognition given to other languages is also a political or government decision. Most countries maintain the assigned status of their languages regardless of political change. In some countries language is significantly influenced by political events. Language policy determines which languages will be taught in schools, or used for particular official purposes. The policy may either promote or discourage the use of a particular language or languages. At other times it is designed to protect an ethnic language that may be in danger of disappearing.
Political influences on language can determine the extent to which minority languages or dialect are accepted, recognized or utilized in a society. Political decisions on language are sometimes taken to promote national identity.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This slide is very informative. I utilized your work in my discussion in class today. It was very helpful.