Some definitional problems
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Some definitional problems book
In Chapter 1 I discussed populist notions of language and argued that they ignore language variation. I further claimed that such views militated against a full understanding of how language is situated socially. In Chapter 2 I showed how (some) of these views had developed historically, and what the driving forces were that persuaded different writers to argue for ‘correct’ forms of the language. In the previous chapter I sketched out a theory of the relationships that exist between language users and social networks. So far though, I have been deliberately vague as to what is meant by language variety. The purpose of this chapter then is to refine the discussion by defining certain key terms. In particular, I shall be concentrating on what I mean by ‘text’, since it has been variously defined and its meanings are not always clear. But if we want to make the claim that variation resides in texts, it is essential to know what we are talking about.