The use of specific linguistic features within the context of a casual conversation in a speech community
There seems to be nothing remarkable about the interaction between two interlocutors who have never been in contact with each other. These persons are able to understand themselves in contact situations because most times, a common language of communication is known that can sustain the exchange for the time necessary. However, when such exchange is between individuals with some level of contact or familiarity, the concept of speech community comes into play. The concept is useful but may be problematic at times and one cannot avoid applying this idea when trying to make sense of the process that takes place in the conversation, specifically a causal conversation. The aim of this sociolinguistic study is to explain how individuals are able to build social history, construct interactional talk, maintain relations with each other and reinforce solidarity from a two hour audio recorded conversation (ARC) between an ethnic Indian and a Nigerian in Marylebone, London using interactional socio-linguistic and conversation analytic. By doing so, the concept of a speech community as well as how a group can be identified as being members of a community is understood. A particular focus is paid to such linguistic features as the register of conversation, turn taking, discourse variation, phonological variation and grammatical variation characteristic of London, Nigerian and Indian English observed in the speech of the participants and how these features function to build and maintain relations.
Keywords: Speech community, Casual conversation, Linguistic features, Sociolinguistics, ARC