Linguistics major project anands part of essay.docx

Linguistics major project anands part of essay.docx - A...

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A major phenomenon that is examined in this research is how spoken language changes according to the context in which a conversation is occurring. More specifically, our data provides some insight on how one’s choice of words might depend on whether one is speaking privately or publicly. The evidence supporting the conjecture that people definitely do change their language based on whether they are speaking in a private or public setting is found in the data from Deelon and Destiny. In particular, if one looks at the relationship between the terms “Black” and “African-American”, one sees that as people switch from private to public speaking, there is a movement away from using “Black” and towards “African-American”. One important assumption being made here is that when a person speaks to a stranger, that person is using more polite or more universally accepted terms in his/her speaking. This in turn is based on the assumption that people try to make a conversation as comfortable as possible. Furthermore, the increased “politeness” and “universal acceptability” referred to above are characteristics of what we have called “public” speech. This puts us in a position to say that by considering how a person speaks to their friends relative to how they speak to a stranger, we are actually investigating how that person’s speech changes when they switch from a private setting (friends) to a public one (stranger). An interesting pattern can be seen when we juxtapose Deelon’s and Destiny’s data with Deirdre’s and Dohyeong’s data. If one were to divide the data along the “private” vs. “public” line (or the “friend” vs. “stranger” line), one can see that there is substantially more variation and shifting occurring in Deelon and Destiny’s data than with the data of the other two. (The best way to look for this pattern is to look at the last two pairs of questions for each of the four individuals.) One possible reason why such a pattern emerges is that the terms associated to people who fit Deelon and Destiny’s racial and ethnic profiles carry more potential for
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controversy in the public eye; they form a “touchy” subject for Americans. This is most
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Linguistics major project anands part of essay.docx - A...

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