THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PERVASIVE LINGUISTIC DISCONTINUITY

Prior to the development of the sociology of language per se, area dialectology had already clearly indicated that dis¬continuous populations (i.e., populations that lived at some distance from each other or that were impeded in their communication with each other by physical or political¬barriers) frequently revealed substantial phonological and morphological differences between their language systems {see, e.g., Herzog 1965 and Kandori 1968 for examples of such work today). Where such differences did not obtain despite the absence of communicational frequency and sociocultural unity, recency of settlement from a single source or other similar unifying factors (conquest, religious conversion, etc.) were assumed and encountered. Indeed, if we view the entire world as a single geographic area we tend to find similar (i.e., genetically related) languages clustered contiguously or closely to each other ("language families" are normally clustered geographically, except for the confound¬ing fact of colonization and distant migration ). Some parts of the world, of course, are famous for their concentration of highly diversified languages found in close proximity to each other. However, then: same areas are also noted for their mountains, jungles, desert, and rivers. i.e. for barriers that have limited travel, commerce, and common endeavor.

More difficult to explain are those variations in language and behavior that are cotteritorial. In such instances sheer physical distance cannot be invoked as either a causal or a maintenance variable for the variations encountered. In such cases cultural and social factors alone must be examined, and they alone must be meaningfully related to the degree and kind of language differences noted. In reviewing coterritorial linguistic diversity throughout history it becomes clear that it can be maintained in an extremely stable manner. Through¬out the world-but particularly throughout the ancient and traditional world-populations have lived side by side for centuries without learning each other's languages and without significantly modifying or giving up their distinctly dis¬continuous repertoires. Except for the relatively few middle¬men that connect them (merchants, translators, etc.) such populations represent distinct speech communities, although they may be citizens of the same country, of the same city, and, indeed, of the same neighborhood. However, the mainte¬nance of such well-nigh complete linguistic and sociocultural cleavage-equal in degree and kind to that encountered between territorially discontinuous populations-is usually indicative of population relocation some time in the past that has subsequently been buttressed and maintained by socio-cultural (including ethnic religious) differences. The former differences are responsible for the origin of the differences noted by Blanc (1964) between the Moslem Arabic, Christian Arabic, and Jewish Arabic of Baghdad. The latter differences are responsible for the maintenance of these cleavages in as sharp a manner, or nearly so as initially established.

While it may often be relatively difficult to overcome the cleavage between separate but coterritorial speech communities, it is not impossible to do so. The forced conversion of various Jewish and Christian communities during certain periods of Islamic rule, the urban-industrial assimilation of hitherto rural or small town immigrants and their children in the United States (Nahirny and Fishman 1965. Fishman 1965a. 1965e. 1966c), the very similar assimilation of tribal populations moving to Wolof-speaking Dakar (Tabouret-Kelley 1968), the Helienization and Roman¬ization of many "barbarian" elites in ancient Rome and Alexandria, the convergence between illiterate speakers of Marathi and Kannada in India (Gumperz 1967) -these are all examples of the fusing into one of populations that originally functioned as largely separate though coterritorial speech communities. Conversely, the mutual alienation of popula-tions that originally considered themselves to be united can create fargoing linguistic differences between them where none, or few, existed previously. In general, the more fargoing the linguistic differences between any two co¬territorial populations (i.e., the more the differences are basically grammatical-syntactic and morphological-rather than primarily phonological or lexical), the more their linguistic repertoires are compartmentalized from each other so as to reveal littlee if any interference, and the more they reveal functionally different verbal repertoires in terms of the sociolinguistic parameters reviewed in Section 4, above-then the greater the interactional and sociocultural gap between the speech communities involved.

Geertz's data might well be examined in the light of the above generalization concerning the social significance of marked grammatical discontinuity between the repertoires of coterritorial speech communities. In Geertz's case we are dealing with coterritorial speech networks that differ greatly in verbal repertoires, but that cannot be considered to be either of separate geographic origin or of separate cultural or religious self-definition. Here we find three different social classes or strata within Java, each differing in repertoire range and each lacking entirely one or more speech varieties available to at least one of the others. While the intranetwork variation shown by Geertz is probably less than that which actually exists (thus, we may assume that metaphorical switching also occurs in Java, and if it does, level 2, for example, may be employed on occasions which are normatively viewed and regulated as being more appropriate for level l b or I a), let us consider this to be merely an artifact of the data model that Geertz employs and ask ourselves (a) what kind(s) of variations does it reveal. and (b) what kinds 1 of repertoire differences does it reveal.
Geertz's data clearly indicate that social-class differences exit (or existed at the time his field work was done) in Javanese verbal behavior. In addition, however, the data also indicate that contextual-situational variation also exists in `Javanese verbal behavior. They very fact that both of these types of variation regularly co-occur is an indication that
although stratificational differences involved are rigid and deep nevertheless the strata constitute a single integrated speech community with shared normative expectations and regulations vis-a-vis intrastrata and interstrata communication



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