This chapter discusses the aspects of sociolinguistics study. Sociolinguists are interested in describing sociolinguistic variation and in explaining why it happens. According Holmes, the linguistic forms chosen by a speaker is influenced by social context in which he is talking. It matters who he is talking to (participants), where he is talking (setting), what he is talking about (topic), and why he is talking (function of interaction).
As a result, the same message may be expressed differently to different people (p. 9). In addition to these factors, there are four social dimensions which determine the linguistic choice. The social distance scale is concerned with how close or distant the relationship between participants is. The status scale is concerned with the status of participants in the society. The formality scale is related to the setting.
Where the interaction occurs determines the level of formality. The functional scale is related to the purposes or the topic of interaction. When the speaker intends to convey the information, the interaction is referentially oriented. In contrast, when the speaker communicates to maintain goodwill, he emphasizes on affective function (p. 0-11). This overview show that no individual Is free to do exactly what he or she pleases so far a language is concerned.
The choice of one linguistic form rather than another Is useful clue to non-linguistics Information. Linguistic variation provides social information. This chapter Is valuable. Now, I understand that language variation Is the result of social interaction. The way people talk Is Influenced not only by their personal need but also by the social factors. As an English teacher, I can make use of this knowledge to motivate students use English In appropriate context.