"Stop Trying to Make 'Fetch' Happen"

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"Mean Girls" has provided us with an excellent example of the shortcomings of trying to attribute the success of certain linguistic features and usages solely to language-internal factors. The term 'Fetch', which would appear to offer extensive linguistic utility and appeal, finds its success limited by the asymmetric, structural power differential between Regina George and Gretchen. As sociolinguists we must consequently keep in mind the need to contextualize speech features within wider historical and political movements (see Milroy and Milroy 1985: 13, "Prescription and Standardization" in Authority in Language).

Posted by Alex Li on March 30, 2017


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