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Sociolinguistics 5 Power and solidarity.

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1 Sociolinguistics 5 Power and solidarity

2 The story so far We classify ourselves and others.
How we classify someone determines what rights we think they have. Positive rights to respect Negative rights to freedom The way we present ourselves in public is our ‘face’, which defines our rights. We can threaten other people’s faces. If we do, we can compensate by politeness.

3 Negative politeness expressions
Apology: sorry (It was an accident.) Apology-acceptance: that’s ok (Not important) Request: please (It’s up to you.) Request-acceptance: yes (I’m willing.) Offer: (there you go), bitte (German) (I’m doing this for you.) Gratitude (offer-acceptance): thanks (You didn’t have to do it.) Gratitude-acceptance: not at all (Not important)

4 The meaning of Sorry!

5 Discrimination Politeness is for saving other people’s faces.
But in fact we don’t give everyone the same rights. At least small children have limited freedom. Slaves (if we have them!) have no rights at all. Nor does ‘the enemy’.

6 Discrimination (1)

7 Classification matters
How we treat others depends on how we classify them. We distinguish the rights of sub-groups of our own group. But our classification may exclude some people altogether from having rights. And what about animal rights?

8 Discrimination (2)

9 A cautionary tale Then Gilead cut Ephraim off from the fords of the Jordan, and whenever an Ephraimite fugitive said ‘let me cross’, the men of Gilead asked him to say shibboleth [ear of corn]. If he said sibboleth, they seized and slaughtered him. (Judges 12, 4-6). Language as a badge of membership. Classification decides rights.

10 How to classify other people
You can classify them. E.g. as child Or you can classify your relation to them. E.g. as subordinate These classifications are separate: A child isn’t subordinate to everyone – e.g. not to other children. A subordinate needn’t be a child.

11 Linguistic signals We can use two kinds of linguistic signals to show how we classify others and our relations to them. Politeness markers used when we threaten their face. “Social signals” used all the time. E.g. Dick or Professor Hudson?

12 Relations among relatives

13 Angela’s family

14 Family names

15 A family network

16 High power in the family …

17 …middle power …

18 …and low power.

19 Power Power is a relation between two people.
It determines the negative rights they expect of each other. There are 3 logical possibilities: A > B A is superior to B A < B A is subordinate to B A = B A is equal to B A and B negotiate their relation E.g. by signalling linguistically

20 Power in a network

21 Power in the family X’s Parent > X Sibling of X = X
Therefore: X’s grandparent > X Sibling of X = X Therefore: X’s uncle/aunt > X Etc. X’s older relative > X Therefore: X’s older sibling > X Varies with culture X > X’s dog/cat

22 A sociolinguistic universal?
X’s relatives call X: By role name, e.g. Dad By given name, e.g. Dick X calls senior relatives by role name. X calls junior or equal relatives by given name.

23 Odd naming practices Some Western families allow given names to senior relatives. Some fathers call their sons ‘son’ (role name). Chinese use role names for junior siblings (younger brother/sister). Etc.

24 Power outside the family
Professor > student Boss > employee E.g. Provost > professor Royal > common? Star > fan Police > public NB Power relations only exist if they’re accepted by both sides!

25 Language as a power signal
Language can signal power of X in The word that refers to X, e.g. X’s name The word that refers to the speaker A word used when addressing X. Words referring to X: Names (title, given, family) Pronouns (e.g. French tu, vous; English thou, you)

26 Respect to the referent
Words referring to something linked to X: Honorifics (e.g. Japanese o, ‘honorable’) E.g. boosi, ‘hat’; o-boosi, ‘hat of a superior’ A verb of which X is the subject or object (Japanese): Sensei-ga warat-ta, The teacher laughed. (neutral) Sensei-ga o-waraini nat-ta. (same, honorific)

27 Respect to the addressee
Words used in addressing X: The root verb E.g. Japanese “He/she/I/they/you came” = Ki-ta (equal) Ki-mas-ta (respectful) Words referring to the speaker: ‘Pronouns’ (e.g. Farsi: man or ‘slave’, etc.)

28 Given names for subordinates

29 Solidarity between chums

30 Close friends

31 Fellow students?

32 Old friends

33 Extraordinarily high solidarity

34 Low solidarity - an interview

35 Minimum solidarity: alone in a crowd

36 Solidarity Solidarity is a characteristic of the relation between two people (very abstract!!). It is independent of power. It determines positive rights expected. High solidarity means social closeness, based on: Social similarity, i.e. shared group allegiance Amount of contact, i.e. mutual knowledge

37 Solidarity in a network

38 Solidarity signals: non-verbal

39 Solidarity signals: verbal
Another universal: The signals of power are also used for solidarity. A universal with a few exceptions The linked poles: Superior = stranger French vous English Professor Hudson Inferior = intimate French tu English Dick Why? What about the other combinations?

40 Coming shortly: Lecture 6 (after reading week): Accommodation and sociolinguistic variables. Lecture 7: Acts of identity.

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