The Standard in South African English and Its Social History

This study of the South African variety of English is an exercise in the sociology of language conducted mainly within the conceptual framework and methodology created by William Labov. It accepts that social process and social structure are reflected in patterns of covariation involving linguistic and social variables, and in attitudes to different varieties of speech within the community. This premise is pursued here in its historical implications: linguistuic evidence in present-day speech patterns of earlier states of the society and of the social, political and cultural changes that have brought about the present state. The second main focus in this volume is directed at the concept of 'standard variety', that is the social attributes and functions of a formal speech pattern for which the status of standard might be claimed.