influenced the two different idiolects. “Major determiners of the use of sociolinguistic variables are jock or burnout affiliation, and engagement in the practices that constitute those categories.”
In conversations with others, most people unconsciously change their speech to resemble the person they are talking to. In Eckert’s study however, the opposite reaction took place. When ‘jocks’ and ‘burnouts’ were made to work together, most teenagers chose not to converge but to diverge, drastically changing their speech to signify their common group membership – the ‘burnouts’ in Non-Standard English idiolect, the ‘jocks’ in Standard English idiolect.
Standard English Users
The jock, whose life consists of studying and extracurricular activities, converses in standard English. Standard English is not only used by the school, but other powerful institutions which associate the dialect with the highest prestige and status in society. In interviews about future employment prospects, a ‘jock’s’ main goal was to go to college. All his extra-curricular activities and planning for the future thus revolve around his intent for further study.
Non-Standard English Users
The ‘burnout’ student does not get the same benefits in school as the future college student since her major ties are with the local community and workforce. The working-class generally have high density social networks which have a significant impact on language which is evident in the ‘burnout’s use of non-standard variants of the standard dialect. In Eckert’s studies, these variants include pronouncing the standard suffix – ing as –in’, dropping d’s in and, using slang like ‘dunno’ instead of do not know, and choosing to not use standard variety forms of past tense and its auxiliary ‘have’.
The non-standard English described above is important to solidarity – an important social force that has a major impact on language. Since non-standard English is ultimately a rejection of formal rules, the marked use of non-standard variants claim a certain identity and inclusion in a common group.