Commenced in January 2007
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lexical choice Related Abstracts

2 Variation of Lexical Choice and Changing Need of Identity Expression

Authors: Thapasya J., Rajesh Kumar


Language plays complex roles in society. The previous studies on language and society explain their interconnected, complementary and complex interactions and, those studies were primarily focused on the variations in the language. Variation being the fundamental nature of languages, the question of personal and social identity navigated through language variation and established that there is an interconnection between language variation and identity. This paper analyses the sociolinguistic variation in language at the lexical level and how the lexical choice of the speaker(s) affects in shaping their identity. It obtains primary data from the lexicon of the Mappila dialect of Malayalam spoken by the members of Mappila (Muslim) community of Kerala. The variation in the lexical choice is analysed by collecting data from the speech samples of 15 minutes from four different age groups of Mappila dialect speakers. Various contexts were analysed and the frequency of borrowed words in each instance is calculated to reach a conclusion on how the variation is happening in the speech community. The paper shows how the lexical choice of the speakers could be socially motivated and involve in shaping and changing identities. Lexical items or vocabulary clearly signal the group identity and personal identity. Mappila dialect of Malayalam was rich in frequent use of borrowed words from Arabic, Persian and Urdu. There was a deliberate attempt to show their identity as a Mappila community member, which was derived from the socio-political situation during those days. This made a clear variation between the Mappila dialect and other dialects of Malayalam at the surface level, which was motivated to create and establish the identity of a person as the member of Mappila community. Historically, these kinds of linguistic variation were highly motivated because of the socio-political factors and, intertwined with the historical facts about the origin and spread of Islamism in the region; people from the Mappila community highly motivated to project their identity as a Mappila because of the social insecurities they had to face before accepting that religion. Thus the deliberate inclusion of Arabic, Persian and Urdu words in their speech helped in showing their identity. However, the socio-political situations and factors at the origin of Mappila community have been changed over a period of time. The social motivation for indicating their identity as a Mappila no longer exist and thus the frequency of borrowed words from Arabic, Persian and Urdu have been reduced from their speech. Apart from the religious terms, the borrowed words from these languages are very few at present. The analysis is carried out by the changes in the language of the people according to their age and found to have significant variations between generations and literacy plays a major role in this variation process. The need of projecting a specific identity of an individual would vary according to the change in the socio-political scenario and a variation in language can shape the identity in order to go with the varying socio-political situation in any language.

Keywords: Identity, Literacy, Variation, Dialect, borrowings, lexical choice

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1 Identification of Text Domains and Register Variation through the Analysis of Lexical Distribution in a Bangla Mass Media Text Corpus

Authors: Mahul Bhattacharyya, Niladri Sekhar Dash


The present research paper is an experimental attempt to investigate the nature of variation in the register in three major text domains, namely, social, cultural, and political texts collected from the corpus of Bangla printed mass media texts. This present study uses a corpus of a moderate amount of Bangla mass media text that contains nearly one million words collected from different media sources like newspapers, magazines, advertisements, periodicals, etc. The analysis of corpus data reveals that each text has certain lexical properties that not only control their identity but also mark their uniqueness across the domains. At first, the subject domains of the texts are classified into two parameters namely, ‘Genre' and 'Text Type'. Next, some empirical investigations are made to understand how the domains vary from each other in terms of lexical properties like both function and content words. Here the method of comparative-cum-contrastive matching of lexical load across domains is invoked through word frequency count to track how domain-specific words and terms may be marked as decisive indicators in the act of specifying the textual contexts and subject domains. The study shows that the common lexical stock that percolates across all text domains are quite dicey in nature as their lexicological identity does not have any bearing in the act of specifying subject domains. Therefore, it becomes necessary for language users to anchor upon certain domain-specific lexical items to recognize a text that belongs to a specific text domain. The eventual findings of this study confirm that texts belonging to different subject domains in Bangla news text corpus clearly differ on the parameters of lexical load, lexical choice, lexical clustering, lexical collocation. In fact, based on these parameters, along with some statistical calculations, it is possible to classify mass media texts into different types to mark their relation with regard to the domains they should actually belong. The advantage of this analysis lies in the proper identification of the linguistic factors which will give language users a better insight into the method they employ in text comprehension, as well as construct a systemic frame for designing text identification strategy for language learners. The availability of huge amount of Bangla media text data is useful for achieving accurate conclusions with a certain amount of reliability and authenticity. This kind of corpus-based analysis is quite relevant for a resource-poor language like Bangla, as no attempt has ever been made to understand how the structure and texture of Bangla mass media texts vary due to certain linguistic and extra-linguistic constraints that are actively operational to specific text domains. Since mass media language is assumed to be the most 'recent representation' of the actual use of the language, this study is expected to show how the Bangla news texts reflect the thoughts of the society and how they leave a strong impact on the thought process of the speech community.

Keywords: Mass Media, discourse, Variation, corpus, domains, lexical choice, Bangla, register

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