Sociolinguistic Interview

Rethinking Grammar: How We Talk

We as people judge the way that others speak, we assume intelligence based on the way that people speak. African American Vernacular tends to be associated with not being very smart [Published on 10-21-2015]

The linguistic genius of babies

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The video basically introduces some of the factors that are important to babies when they are first exposed to languages. And also, it shows us how critical period and puberty play a role in babies language acquisitions.

Philippine English vs. Australian English

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"Philippine English vs. Australian English" is a funny YouTube video by a Filipino husband and his Australian wife illustrating the differences between the two different dialects of English. By comparing different words and terms between the two dialects, the differences are sometimes profound, incomprehensible, and often very funny!

Alice Walker: Fear of Being Feminine

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Alice Walker is an American novelist, poet, and civil and women’s rights activist. She is best known for her critically acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple. In this video, she talks about the negative repercussions of referring to women as ‘guys’. The type of situation she is referencing are when someone, say a server at a restaurant, walks up to a group of women and addresses them by saying “Hi guys, how are you doing today?” Men and women both do this in America and it only perpetuates the fear of being feminine, or a female in general. With so many women still fighting for equal rights, it is crucial to be proud of being a woman and for women to not label themselves or other women as ‘guys’. This way of speaking stems from the fact that the English language is a “masculine default” language. This means that masculinity, along with masculine terms, are the default in English and other feminine terms have been unnecessarily created in order to differentiate between a male and female performing the same role. A good example of this sociolinguistic model is actor vs. actress and waiter vs. waitress. The original words are changed when talking about a woman when really, the word itself is just supposed to describe the job someone is doing. Although feminine words are added, many people still use the masculine terms by default, creating an alienation and feeling of unimportance or lack of superiority for women. Unfortunately, the aforementioned linguistic features, along with calling a group of women “guys”, are innate in most people’s vocabulary and using them can be a very difficult habit to break. Walker suggests women coming together to change the way that they label themselves and other women in order to first separate women from men and then empower those women. Although it may seem like a small step on the way to equality, it is an extremely vital one.

Mitchell on Manners

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This is the first of a four part series exploring linguistic interactions surrounding manners and their culturally-defined meanings. The program describes how cultural norms determine what is considered polite or rude, such as what questions you can ask another person and how you should address people who are older or younger than you. Manners in Western Europe are explained to be standards set by the ruling and higher class members of society who sought to further establish their superiority over the lower classes, who couldn't afford eight different knives for a singular meal. The discussants also speak about a possible delineation between "etiquette" and "manners." The later portions of the program discuss expectations of social interaction, such as not constantly looking at one's phone while accompanied by another person and to ensure that there are no awkward pauses during a conversation.

Who is really “American”?

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People from North, South and Central America discuss the use of the term “American” as an identifier by people from the United States. "Americans" have a linguistic ideology about what it means to be one and seem to ignore the fact that it excludes people from all other regions in the Americas.

Berenstain Bears Reconnect Sioux To Native Language

Berenstain Bears cartoons help teach and revive the Lakota language. [Published on 09-26-2006]

Posted by Kristen Noel on July 29, 2016

Tags:
Sociolinguistic Interview;
Education

Could your language affect your ability to save money?

Amazing Ted Talk by Keith Chen illustrating how "language" can help a person's ability to save money! EVERYONE should see this. It also gives a really good illustration on how different languages force you to say different things. [Published on 06-01-2012]

XKCD: Appropriate Term

A XKCD comic highlighting the formality continuum of style-shifting.

Posted by Kara Becker on August 27, 2013

Tags:
Sociolinguistic Interview;
Style-shifting

(r) in New York City English

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The classic graph from Labov (1966) showing stratification by socioeconomic class and speaker style for coda r vocalization in New York City English