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How Do We Understand Variations in Our Language?

written by: Laura Jean Karr • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 2/20/2013

There are many factors to include when it comes to language variations. Here we take a look at the three main components that make up language variations in order to better understand the concept as a whole.

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    The Study of Language Variations

    When studying languages, there is an inherent need to understand the concept of language variation. Variations in languages are what help to establish various dialects. Even core languages themselves incorporate variations, depending on an area's culture and direct correlation to other cultures. In essence, cross-cultural communication is dependent on language variation and its growth of dialects that spread way beyond the borders of an established core language.

    For more information on language learning, see Word Formation.

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    First Component: Linguistic Environment

    teaching There are three components that make up the basis for language variation. In order to understand language variation, it is important to be able to apply these three components to establish a better grasp of working in the study of languages.

    The first component to language variation lies within the linguistic environment at childhood. When communication forms are processed as a child grows, the variations to their language comes from their parents, their community and their own understanding of the communication forms that they are learning. It is possible, based on community and personal comprehension, that a child's language variation can branch off of the language that is taught to them by their parents, which in turn evolves the language used as the child grows to adulthood and repeats the same process with their own offspring.

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    Second Component: Syntactic Parameters

    The second component to language variation is that of syntactic parameters. The general theory as proposed by Professor Yang of the Pennsylvania State University Language Department, is that in the study of language variation the parameters are what commonize different aspects of language. This concept expands on the first language variation component because the syntactic parameters take individual items, like grammar and the acquisition of language to create an area of inspection from a child's learning of a language.

    In essence, the second component can be simplified by taking into account the triggers in a child's mind that enable the language to be learned and applied in daily use as the child grows.

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    Third Component: Endless Variations

    The third component in language variation is in the understanding that language variation itself will never be fully completed. This means that due to the myriad of factors that come into play when studying one area's languages, its dialects and variations of the core language there will never be one set of directives that will be able to remain the same when studying another area's languages.

    Each area of study is different just as each child's comprehension of their language will differ than that of their peers. If we look at each child as a variation, then it is important to look at each variation as a possible language variation in itself.

    *image used is royalty free stock