Sociolinguistic Field: The Nerd Community Essay

Sociolinguistic Field: The Nerd Community Essay

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1.What problems might exist for sociolinguistic studies that group speakers into speech communities, and how does the Communities of Practice model address these issues?
One of the first speech communities` problems stated by Bucholtz is that it is a theory that can only be applied to a sociolinguistic field .It is not useful to any other related discipline as its focus limits to study language and ignores all other elements that are crucial in human and social interactions. Moreover, speech communities analyses sociolinguistic aspects in a macro level so it is not possible to study identity through it together with the problematic and struggle emerging during its performance.
This theory assumes that language is a set of norms shared among all members and that there cannot be any variation within the group. In this way, the language and the norms that success among the community are imposed by the powerful ones. Thus, according to scholars of language and gender, traditional studies tend to consider women`s language as deficient in comparison to men`s.
As the focus of this theory is to study what the members of a community share and the set of norms established within them, any member who differs from the rest of the group is automatically marginalized and excluded. In the few cases in which these members are included in the study, they just serve as an example of how a linguistic norm can fall of the average. Once again, women may be marginalized, especially in studies on vernacular forms of language, as they tend to use a more standard form of language. This strict set of norms and refusal of the diverging element within the speech community also reflects resistance to change and to outsider influence; a fact that is not very ...

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...haracteristic of nerd group as a display of intelligence-. In this way she, once more, differs from the nerd group. Moreover with the use of the youth slang word `bootsy´ (line 89), she instantly gets the rejection of the rest of the nerd group who tries to differ from youth slang as much as possible as part of their negative identity practice.
Thus, through the character of Carrie, we can see how both positive and negative identities work. She is able to enter nerd community and get their attention through her use of language, but she shows social mobility too as she uses some sources that are refused by the community. Thus, she is seen as a thread to the nerd social identity and she is instantly distanced from the group.

Works Cited

“Why be normal?”: Language and identity practices in a community of nerd girls, in Language in Society, volume 28, pages 203-223

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