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Deviation from standard language

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In B. Bernstein's theory the restricted code was an example of the speech patterns used by the working-class. He stated that this type of code allows strong bonds between group members, who tend to behave largely on the basis of distinctions such as 'male', 'female', 'older', and 'younger'. This social group also uses language in a way which brings unity between people, and members often do not need to be ex‘plicit (точный) about meaning, as their shared knowledge and common understanding often bring them together in a way which other social language groups do not experience. The difference with the restricted code is the emphasis on 'we' as a social group, which fosters greater solidarity than the emphasis on 'I' as an individual.

Basil Bernstein, a well-known British sociolinguist, put forward the idea of elaborated and restricted codes. He claimed that members of the middle class have ways of organizing their speech which are fundamentally different from the ways adopted by the working class.

Basil Bernstein studied what he named the 'elaborated code' explaining that in this type of speech pattern the middle and upper classes use this language style to gain access to education and career advancement. Bonds within this social group are not as well defined and people achieve their social identity largely on the basis of individual disposition. There is no obvious division of tasks according to sex or age and generally, within this social formation members negotiate and achieve their roles, rather than have them there ready-made in advance. Due to the lack of solidarity the elaborated social language code requires individual intentions and viewpoints to be made explicit as the 'I' has a greater emphasis with this social group than the working class.

The diagram shows variation in English by region (the bottom axis) and by social class (the side axis). The higher the social class, the less variation (See the table below).

Bristolian Dialect .... Standard English
I ain't done nothing .... I haven't done anything
I done it yesterday .... I did it yesterday
It weren't me that done it .... I didn't do it

Any native speaker of English would immediately be able to guess that Speaker 1 is likely of a different social class than Speaker 2. The differences in grammar between the two examples of speech show the differences between social class dialects or sociolects. It is also notable that, at least in England and Australia, the closer to Standard English a dialect gets, the less the lexicon varies by region, and vice-versa.

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