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MIT21A_226F09_lec18 - Nov 9 2009 18 LANGUAGE CULTURE...

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Nov. 9, 2009 18 LANGUAGE, CULTURE, ETHNICITY Read: Rodolfo Stavenhagen, Language and social identity Peter Whiteley, Do “language rights” serve indigenous interests? Some Hopi and other queries 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. I. Introduction A. Language plays many roles in addition to being a channel to communicate referential meaning 1. A given language is often seen to represent non-linguistic qualities, differences a. For example, “Italian is musical, just like the Italians” b. DISCUSS : other examples? 2. Sometimes the language is seen as being the cause, not just a symbol, of these non-linguistic characteristics 1 a. Classic example is to argue that, in contrast to English, where we say “time runs,” 1) In Spanish they say “time walks,” which produces in Spanish-speakers a more laid-back notion of time 2) The supposed “mañana” (“tomorrow”) attitude (procrastination, lack of the work ethic, procrastination) b. This notion is thoroughly discredited today—it’s not so simple, and the “mañana” idea simply an ethnoracial slur c. These are called “linguistic ideologies (Hill, p. 31) B. In addition to the referential messages being sent, speakers communicate other ones 1 This is known as a strong version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. See Benjamin Lee Whorf, 1956. Language, Thought, and Reality. Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf . John B. Carroll, ed. New York: Wiley. 18 Language, Culture, Ethnicity 2009 1/19/10
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2 2 See Peter Trudgill, 1974. Language and sex. In Sociolinguistics: An Introduction to Language and Society . Harmondsworth: Pelican: 78-99. 1. Speech indexes (points to) identity, so speech sends messages about identity a. Sometimes such messages are sent totally unconsciously on the part of the speaker 1) DISCUSS : Examples? II. Language and ethnic, national, and racial identity A These identities will also be gendered and often classed 1. Remember de la Cadena’s “Women are more Indian,” the article on Peru? a. As a rule, indigenous women are more likely to be monolingual; Stavenhagen points this out as well b. We discussed how this is often seen as appropriate, because women are seen as safeguarding the language of their specifically indigenous identity B. A study in Norwich, England 2 of attitudes toward speaking “proper” English 1. Men rated themselves as speaking a more lower-class version of English than they really did 2. But women rated themselves as speaking a higher-class version than they actually did a. Linguists made the evaluations 3. An association was being made between masculinity, social class, male solidarity, and working-class culture a. The men wanted to see themselves as “regular guys” who didn’t “put on airs,” or who were “wimpy” b. Upper-class British men and their accents are seen as effeminate— “twits,” something the British comedy group Monty Python deploys 4. Whereas the women aspired to “speaking properly” as a marker of their class position and ambitions for their children
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MIT21A_226F09_lec18 - Nov 9 2009 18 LANGUAGE CULTURE...

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