What will you learn? • How do subgroups use language and...

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Chapter 12: Identity and Subgroups © 2015, SAGE Publications, Inc.
What will you learn? How do subgroups use language and how does subgroup argot impact subgroup identity? How do subgroups use media and how does this usage mark subgroup values? What are some notable example of subgroups? How has sexual orientation become a basis for subgroups? © 2015, SAGE Publications, Inc.
Subgroups Subgroups do not involve the same large numbers of people as cultures, and are not necessarily thought of as transmitting patterns of behavior over generations in the same way as cultures Yet subgroups, characterized by an identifiable distinction and shared interests, have similar communication dynamics as cultures Existing within cultures, subgroups share forms of language, media, and values, and do provide members with patterns of behavior © 2015, SAGE Publications, Inc.
Argot Language provides the conceptual categories that influence how its speakers’ perceptions are encoded and stored; for a subgroup, a specialized vocabulary identifies it and establishes its boundaries Argot: specialized language of subgroups; also called jargon, cant, and slang Jargon: technical language of professional groups Cant : specialized language of nonprofessional groups Slang: the specialized languages of stigmatized groups Argot has specific, unambiguous meaning for a subgroup © 2015, SAGE Publications, Inc.
Argot and Subgroup Identity The study of argot originated with the work of David Maurer in the 1930s; before his work, observations of nonstandard language were limited to the study of regional dialects Maurer, who had studied Sapir’s work, showed that individual criminals were not abnormalities but fully integrated and well-adjusted members of a subgroup Maurer’s studies demonstrate that membership in the subgroup provides an identity and that the key to developing and understanding that identity is its language A subgroup’s argot also defines the boundaries of the subgroup; if you don’t know the vocabulary, you’re obviously not a member; correct use of the argot establishes the subgroup’s boundary © 2015, SAGE Publications, Inc.
Subgroup Media and Values Media use and values contribute to defining subgroup identity and boundaries Media distributed only to members can vary widely

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