CHAPTER instance, sociolinguists interested in the variation

CHAPTER 2

METHODOLOGY

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Introduction

Sociolinguistics
investigates how people use language in different environments. It attempts to
link patterns of language use to some kind of non-linguistic reality – that is,
to things like class, gender, racial or ethnic identification, and other. In
order to investigate these phenomena one needs to have reliable research
techniques. However, research techniques used and applied in sociolinguistic
research are quite different in their nature and always depend on the research
question under investigation. For instance, sociolinguists interested in the
variation of a certain phonological feature across different social classes
will depend on the quantitative methods used in variationist sociolinguistics,
while sociolinguists interested in the code-switching practices among the
bilingual Estonian speech community members might depend on the qualitative
methods used in ethnographic research. Some research questions might require
the application of different research methods. This approach is called a
mixed-method approach (or triangulation).

The
present study has two parts which deal with the sociolinguistic study of:

1.     Pronominals

2.     Address
Terms

The
second person pronoun in Kashmiri has the variant forms tsI and tohj
whose usage is shaped by the social factors and thus qualify for a
sociolinguistic study. Similarly, the third person proximate and remote
pronouns exist in their respective variant forms yi, yim and su/so tim
which again require a sociolinguistic study. The method adopted for the
sociolinguistic study of pronominals in this study is quantitative.

          The second part of this study deals
with the address terms. The address terms are more diverse and the method
adopted for the sociolinguistic study of address terms in this study is mixed
method blending the quantitative and the qualitative methods.

Objectives

The main objectives of the study are as
under:

·       
To explore the social norms of usage of
the pronominals and address terms in Kashmiri language.

·       
How the choice of Pronominals and
address terms is influenced by the variables such as:

a.     Age

b.     Gender

c.      Education

d.     Region
of residence

To
accomplish the objectives set for study, a proper methodology was adopted for
the pronominals and address terms as mentioned in the introductory part of this
chapter.

Methodology

The
methodology adopted for the pronominals and address is discussed in the next
section.

Sample

The
sample chosen for the sociolinguistic study of pronominals consists of the
native speakers of Kashmiri language aged 6 to 65 years. Choosing this sample
of huge range worked well in the respect that the sample was deemed to be
representative of the whole speech community covering all the age groups. The
sampling technique adopted for the study was the stratified random sampling in
which the samples were selected from the strata of the population on the basis
of age, gender, region/place of residence and education. The total sample
selected was 240 each for the study of pronouns and address terms. The whole
sampling grid which is same for the study of pronominals and address terms is
shown in the figure —-.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sampling Grid

Age
Groups

Gender

Residence

Education

Age
Group 1
(80)

Male
(40)

Rural
(20)

Educated
(10)

Uneducated
(10)

Urban
(20)

Educated
(10)

Uneducated
(10)

Female
(40)

Rural
(20)

Educated
(10)

Uneducated
(10)

Urban
(20)

Educated
(10)

Uneducated
(10)

Age
Group 2
(80)

Male
(40)

Rural
(20)

Educated
(10)

Uneducated
(10)

Urban
(20)

Educated
(10)

Uneducated
(10)

Female
(40)

Rural
(20)

Educated
(10)

Uneducated
(10)

Urban
(20)

Educated
(10)

Uneducated
(10)

Age
Group 3
(80)

Male
(40)

Rural
(20)

Educated
(10)

Uneducated
(10)

Urban
(20)

Educated
(10)

Uneducated
(10)

Female
(40)

Rural
(20)

Educated
(10)

Uneducated
(10)

Urban
(20)

Educated
(10)

Uneducated
(10)

Instruments

For
the pronominal study, two instruments were used for the collection of data:

1.     A
Sociodemographic Questionnaire to elicit the social background of the
participants (See Appendix A)

2.     A
Written Questionnaire (see Appendix B)

The use of a questionnaire was considered
appropriate for this study for several reasons. The questionnaire could be
distributed to a larger group, a large amount of specific information could be
covered, the extra-linguistic factors under study could be included, and the
standardized format ensured some uniformity of responses. Most importantly,
they provide valuable information as to how people perceive their use of language.

For the address terms an additional tool, that is,
observation (participant and non-participant) was used to collect the data
because of the diverse nature of address terms used in Kashmiri language. The
advantage of using the participant observation was that it provided the
information of the contexts of use of the address terms. Thus, the tools used
for studying address terms were:

1.     A
Sociodemographic Questionnaire to elicit the social background of the
participants (See Appendix C)

2.     A
Written Questionnaire (see Appendix D)

3.     Observation
(Participant and Non-Participant)

 

Sociodemographic
Questionnaires

The
questionnaires were written in English. They consisted of sociodemographic questions
(See appendix A and C) intended to collect information regarding social factors
which describe the participant. The participants’ information includes their
age, sex, place of birth, educational qualification, and place of residence.

Written
Questionnaire for Pronouns

The
questionnaire (See appendix B) is concerned with sociolinguistic factors, and
it probes the use of the second and third person pronouns of address and
reference  in addressing and referring to
different people (family members, friends and acquaintances, professors, and
strangers). All the entries in this questionnaire represent an interpersonal
relationship (son-father, brother-sister, students-professor, etc.). For each
item, participants were asked to mark four forms of address: (1) The form they
would use to address a given interlocutor, and (2) The form they expect to
receive from that person. (3) The form of third person proximate pronoun that
they would use to refer to the referent. (4) The form of the third person
remote pronoun that they would use to refer to the referent.

Written
Questionnaire for Address Terms

The questionnaire for the address terms (See
appendix D) is similar to the one used for collecting data for pronominal study
except for the thing the it probes the use of address terms in the same set of
relationships enlisted in the questionnaire for pronominal study. For each item
participants were asked to make two responses: (1) the address term they would
use to address a given interlocutor (2) the address term they expect to receive
from that person.

Observation

Observation was used an extra tool for the study of
address terms to cover a huge range of address terms in different contexts. The
benefit of using observation as an extra tool was that many peculiar address
forms were collected which could not be collected otherwise because of huge
variety of the modes of address available to the people to address a same
interlocutor.

 

 

Data Collection

As
mentioned before, data for this study were collected from the native speakers
of Kashmiri residing in the valley. The sample size for the sociolinguistic study
was 240 grouped into many subgroups on the basis of the social variables like
age, gender, education and place of residence. Thus a total of 240 filled in
questionnaires were collected to study the pronominals sociolinguistically.

Analysis

The
Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was employed in the statistical
analysis of the data. Percentages of frequencies were calculated for each address
form, tsI, tohj, yi, yim, su/so and tim and crosstabulations were generated for each of the
extralinguistic factors. There are tables which associate pronoun usage with
each of the social variables like age, gender, education and place of residence
in the domains like family, and other social domains.

 

Operationalising the Linguistic
Variables and Extralinguistic Factors

Linguistic
Variables

The
dependent linguistic variables of the study are the second and third person pronominal
address and reference forms. The study distinguishes the use of tsi and tohj  in the case of second person pronominal
address and yi, yim, in the case of third person proximate reference
pronominal and  su/so and tim
in the case of third person remote reference pronominals.

 

Extralinguistic
Variables

Variables
such as age of the speaker, gender, addresser-addressee relationship, and
social class are generally considered in studies on address forms
(Páez-Urdaneta 1980; Jaramillo 1986; Simpson 2002). For the present study the
variables that were considered were:  age, gender, education and place of
region/place of residence.

.

Age of the Speaker

Age-graded variation is a
stable variation which varies within a population based on age. That is,
speakers of a particular age will use a specific linguistic form in successive
generations. J.K. Chambers cites an example from southern Ontario, Canada where
the name of the letter ‘Z’ varies. Most of the English-speaking world
pronounces it ‘zed’; however, in the United States, it is pronounced ‘zee’. A
linguistic survey found that in 1979 two-thirds of the 12-year-olds in Toronto
ended the recitation of the alphabet with the letter ‘zee’ where only 8% of the
adults did so. Then in 1991, (when those 12-year-olds were in their mid-20s) a
survey showed only 39% of the 20- to 25-year-olds used ‘zee’. With respect to
the present study the age was assumed to be one of the important independent
variable affecting the use of the pronominals. To see the effect of age on the
pronominal usage, the total sample was grouped into three age groups:

Age Group

Age Range (in years)

Age
Group 1

6
to 25

Age
Group 2

26
to 45

Age
Group 3

46
and above

The
three age groups are assumed to have different social roles and
responsibilities leading to their different psychological makeup which can
account for the varied use of language across these three age groups.

Gender of speaker (Feminine
/ Masculine):

Studies
such as Jaramillo (1996), for the Spanish spoken in Tucson, Arizona, have shown
that there is a difference in the selection of one pronoun over another based
on the sex of the speaker. In her study, men used tú more frequently
than women in a work context. Similarly, Bartens (2003), in her study on
address forms in Colombia, observed important differences in the use of the
pronouns based on gender, notably, the use by men of the pronoun usted to
express solidarity. On the basis of gender the population for the present study
was grouped into the universal categories of male and female.

Region of Residence

Sociolinguists
have always been concerned with place. Be it nation, region, county, city,
neighborhood, or block, place has long been adduced as a key correlate of linguistic
variation, and geography has often entered into explanations of variation.
Since in the 19th century, dialectologists have been cataloguing and mapping
how language varies from place to place. Starting in the 1960s, sociolinguists
turned their focus to “social facts” such as class, gender, and race as
influences on talk, but they often continued to delimit their research sites as
cities, neighborhoods and, in the U.S., states. Place has also played a role in
accounts of variation in more metaphorical and more abstract ways: people’s
“locations” in social networks affect the likelihood of their being linguistic
leaders or followers; changes move from centers to peripheries, or sometimes
from peripheries to centers, be these physical or social. Studies of the spread
of language change have sometimes used models of diffusion from geography.

Like
many other societies, social change of the Kashmiri society is a fact. The
process of urbanization has affected the social relations and social networks.
Having crept deep into the minds of the people, the idea of urbanization has
become a factor for making the dichotomy between the rural and the urban areas.
The valley of Kashmir is geographically not a diverse place. The most of the
regions of the valley do not have the amenities which qualify a place for being
called urban. The difference on the basis of region is made between ‘shahar’ and ‘gaam’- the prevalent concepts among the general population. The
Revenue Department of the J&K state lists the Srinagar city as the only
urban area and rest of the valley is falls under the rural category. This is
the criterion which has been adopted for the present study in which the
Srinagar city has been taken as an urban area and rest of the valley as rural.
The sample was selected from Srinagar representing urban Kashmir and four
districts of South Kashmir (Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian) representing
rural Kashmir.  

Education

The
categorization on the basis of education, in the present study, resulted in two
categories: Educated and Uneducated. The tags ‘educated’ and ‘uneducated’ were
assigned to the respondents based on their educational qualifications which
were operationalised for the present study. The unenrolled and primary school
dropouts in all the three age groups were taken as uneducated while as people
having qualified 10th standard and above were taken as educated. In
the age group 1, all understudy students above 5th standard were
taken as educated.

 

 

 

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