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Unformatted text preview: Lecture 11b:
Language, Thought & Culture Style, Slang, Jargon, Taboo Words, Gendered Language Styles, Slang & Jargon Styles or Registers: varieties of language that are specific to a particular situation Formal or informal Are you going to take Linguistics 20? Gonna take Ling 20? We all have control over different styles Other languages have more elaborate codes of style usage Thai: dk, kin, thaan, raprathan, chan Styles or Registers Can you think of other examples of how you might say the same thing in two different ways, depending on the situation (i.e., when, where, to whom) in which you were speaking? Styles, Slang & Jargon Slang: informal, nonstandard vocabulary, usually intelligible only to people from a particular region or social group. Function: to mark social identity Subject to rapid change Old words, new combos: Spaced out, right on, hangup, ripoff New words: Barf, flub, pooped Shortened forms: dis, narc, fan Old words, new meanings: grass, pot, pig, rap, stoned, slit Slang can become standard tv Fan Phone mob Etc. Slang Can you think of examples of slang that you've heard recently that you didn't understand? Can you think of examples of slang that may be different in other parts of the country or in other social groups? Styles, Slang & Jargon Jargon or Argot: a set of words unique to a particular science, profession, trade or occupation Linguistic Jargon: phoneme, morpheme, case, lexicon, phrase structure rule, etc. Modem (modulator + demodulator) Bit (binary + digit) ROM (Read-only memory TAM (Random-access memory) Morf (male or female) Computer Jargon: Jargon or Argot What is some of the jargon of your major field of study? Can you think of jargon related to other aspects of your life, i.e., you job, your hobby, etc.? Denotations & Connotations Denotation: that which a word refers to. Connotation: the affect that use of the word `conjures up' Terrorist vs. Freedom fighter Aggressive vs. Pushy Closemouthed vs. Secretive Ballsy women's libber vs. Courageous women's advocate Taboo Words Sex is a four letter word. Certain words are taboo they are not to be used, or at least, not in `polite company.' In English, words borrowed from Latin sound `scientific' and therefore appear to be technical ad `clean,' where as native AngloSaxon counterparts are taboo. A reflection of the opinion that vocabulary used by the upper classes is superior to that used by the lower classes. Norman Conquest of 1066 `Taboo' vs. `Clean' Words Anglo-Saxon taboo words: Shit Tits Prick Cock Cunt Fuck Balls Etc. Latinate acceptable words: Feces Breasts Penis Penis Vagina Intercourse Testicles Etc. Racial, National, Religious, Gender, Sexual Orientation Epithets The use of epithets for people of different religions, nationalities, race, gender or sexual orientation tells us something about the users of these words. E.g., boy, slant, bitch, fag, Buddha-head, to gyp The use of epithets perpetuates stereotypes, separates people from one another and reflects racism, sexism, homophobia. Have you ever had any experience with epithets? If so, what was the reaction? Euphemisms A word or phrase that replaces a taboo word or serves to avoid frightening or unpleasant subjects: `unpleasant' word euphemism die pass (on/away) mortician funeral director urinate / defecate go to the powder room Conclusions The discussion of taboo words and euphemisms shows that words of a language are not intrinsically good or bad, but reflect individual or societal values. Language and Gender 1970s Riddle Reflection of stereotyped gender roles `My cousin the doctor / professor / engineer / airline pilot' vs. `My cousin the nurse / elementary teacher / secretary / typist' `My neighbor is blonde.' `Pioneers and Their Wives' Language and Gender Pejorative Terms How many words can you think of for men? How many for women? Among those the book identifies are: Dish, tomato, piece, chick, piece of tail, bunny, bitch, doll, slut, cow, etc. Why are there so many more for women? Language and Gender Marked and Unmarked Forms One striking fact about the asymmetry between male and female terms in many languages is that when there are male/female pairs, the male form is unmarked and the female term is created by adding a suffix to it: Prince / princess Count / countess Actor / actress Host / hostess Hero / heroine Etc. Is this true in the languages you know? Language and Gender Generic `He' The unmarked, or male terms used to serve as general terms: `All men are created equal' `The brotherhood of man' `Everyone must pick up for himself.' In the past generation, this area of language has changed quite a bit: Mankind > people, manpower > personnel, mothering > nurturing, to man > to operate, mailman > postal worker, fireman > firefighter, etc. `Everyone must pick up for themselves.' Is this happening in other languages that you know? Language and Gender - Dialects In many languages, there are separate forms that are distinctive of male or female use: Thai Japanese Other languages you know? Lovely, cute, darling, adorable, etc. Can you think of other `gender marked' features of English? In English Conclusions Linguistic (dialect) differences do not represent deficits or deficiencies in our thinking. To command a wide range of language varieties allows us to function in a wide variety of setting with a range of other participants. At the same time, our use of language is the single most powerful indicator of who we are: Our regional origins Our social class Our educational level Our values and beliefs The clarity of our own thinking How language impresses ...
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course LING 21 at San Jose State University .