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The Grammatical Correlates of Social Class Factors: The Case of Iranian Fifth-Graders

Mohammad Aliakbari, Mahmoud Samaie, Kourosh Sayehmiri and Mahmoud Qaracholloo (Ilam)


Ever since Bernstein theorized the relationship between social class and language pattern, this issue has resulted in a growing body of research. However, few studies have been conducted in the context of Iranian society. In response to this shortcoming, a survey was designed to investigate the relationship between the linguistic and the social class patterns in the compositions of 350 male fifth-grade elementary school students. Accordingly, a Language Pattern Elicitation Prompt and a Social Class Questionnaire were designed to collect relevant data. Using the most common social class indices, through a set of pilot studies and factorial analysis, six social class factors of Life Style, Property, Parental Education, Paternal Occupation/Income, Accommodation, and Vehicle/Transportation were addressed. The administration of the Language Pattern Elicitation Prompt and the Social Class Questionnaire to students and their parents yielded a rich corpus of language and social class data. The language data was analyzed for frequencies of the grammatical categories, Total Number of Words, T-units, Adjectives, Adverbs, Personal Pronouns, Impersonal pronouns, First Person Singular Pronouns, Prepositions, Conjunctions, and Mean T-unit Length. The social class data were analyzed for total social class scores and scores for each social class factor. The results of the correlation analyses suggested a significant relationship between the total social class scores and a number of the grammatical categories. The relationships between the language data and the social class factors represented similar trend as well. The findings of the present study support Bernstein's theory to a great extent.

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