There are certain environmental influences, which are unique to our time. We are beginning to see the world as interconnected, interdependent, and global. Because of this new vision of the world, we must begin to reconsider and redefine some communication practices. It is important to be aware of and to study differences in culture and communication practices.
One such theoretical assumption which allows us to examine and understand different communication practices within social groups is the concept of the speech community. According to Julia Wood (1997) speech communities are distinct social groups whose members use language in specific ways to achieve shared goals. Distinct groups which have their own language, unique cultural practices, and geographical boundaries such as Koreans, Norwegians, Mexicans, etc. are examples of speech communities. Speech communities that do not use a distinctive language or live in a specific geographic region also exist, but they are more difficult to identify. The concept of the speech community is important to research because it helps us understand how culture and environment affect communication.
While the general description of speech community may be easy to understand, identification of specific speech communities is difficult because the concept has not been well researched in more recent years. More research specifically in sociolinguistics or communication needs to occur in order to understand this concept in light of current environment influences.
The majority of research on the speech community has been undertaken in the 1970's. Since speech communities do exist, we need to be able to recognize them in order to manipulate our communicative practices to maximize commu...
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Philipsen, Gerry. (1975, February). Speaking "like a man" in Teamsterville: Cultural patterns of role enactment in an urban neighborhood. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 61, 13-22.
Shafer, Carolyn R., & Anundsen, Kristen. (1993). Creating community anywhere: Finding support and connection in a fragmented world. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.
Sharp, David. (1997, March 14-16). Your kids' education is at stake. USA Weekend, 4-6.
Wood, Julia. (1997). Communication theories in action: An introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
Worth, Fred. (1997). Socialization issues [On-line]. Available: http://www.hsu.edu/faculty/worth/social.html
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