Nov. 9, 2009
LANGUAGE, CULTURE, ETHNICITY
Rodolfo Stavenhagen, Language and social identity
Peter Whiteley, Do “language rights” serve indigenous interests?
Some Hopi and
Uli Linke, “There is a land where everything is pure”: Linguistic nationalism and
identity politics in Germany
Jane Hill, 2008.
Language in white racism: An overview.
Language plays many roles in addition to being a channel to communicate
A given language is often seen to represent non-linguistic qualities,
For example, “Italian is musical, just like the Italians”
: other examples?
Sometimes the language is seen as being the cause, not just a symbol, of
these non-linguistic characteristics
Classic example is to argue that, in contrast to English, where we
say “time runs,”
In Spanish they say “time walks,” which produces in
Spanish-speakers a more laid-back notion of time
The supposed “mañana” (“tomorrow”) attitude
(procrastination, lack of the work ethic, procrastination)
This notion is thoroughly discredited today—it’s not so simple,
and the “mañana” idea simply an ethnoracial slur
These are called “linguistic ideologies (Hill, p. 31)
In addition to the referential messages being sent, speakers communicate other
This is known as a strong version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. See Benjamin Lee Whorf, 1956.
Thought, and Reality. Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf
John B. Carroll, ed.
New York: Wiley.
18 Language, Culture, Ethnicity 2009