The Home School Movement as a Speech Community Essay

3897 Words 16 Pages
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
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Then information from magazines, books, newspapers, the Internet, and other publications is examined to identify whether or not the home school community qualifies as a speech community. This study is meant to be an introduction to a more in-depth project to be undertaken at a later date. Because resources are limited for undergraduates, a linguistic analysis of specific speech practices within a community is not feasible. Hence, this research material is limited in scope and true understanding of the home schooling community. Ethnographic or linguistic research would provide for a better understanding of speech communities, however, such a study is beyond my means. Perhaps, at a later time, linguistic speech acts with the home school speech community will be identified by a trained ethnographer or linguist. Such a study would lead to a greater understanding of this concept.

Definition of the Speech Community

As a sociolinguist, William Labov (1972) was primarily concerned with how the existence of communities shaped individuals' speech patterns. "The point of view of the present study is that one cannot understand the development of a language change apart from the social life of the community in which it occurs" (p.3). While Labov was primarily concerned with linguistic

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