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ATTITUDES TO LANGUAGE Languages for Graduates Seminar Mariangela Spinillo 16 h December 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "ATTITUDES TO LANGUAGE Languages for Graduates Seminar Mariangela Spinillo 16 h December 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 ATTITUDES TO LANGUAGE Languages for Graduates Seminar Mariangela Spinillo 16 h December 2011

2 ATTITUDES TO LANGUAGE Attitudes towards languages and language usage are commonplace throughout the world. People assign various attributes to languages and language forms – e.g. elegant, guttural, musical, aesthetically pleasing. We invest some language forms with prestige while others are stigmatised.

3 ATTITUDES TO LANGUAGE Prestige and stigma are connected with speakers of languages and have to do with social class and social or national identity, and with ideas about status.

4 ATTITUDES TO LANGUAGE LEVELS OF LANGUAGE USE: o Whole languages o Varieties of a language o Words and expressions o Discourse practices o Pronunciation

5 PRESCRIPTIVE LINGUISTICS Rules of correctness Norms of usage Dos and Donts Imagined standards

6 PRESCRIPTIVE LINGUISTICS One variety of language has an inherently higher value than others and ought to be imposed on the whole of the speech community.

7 PRESCRIPTIVE LINGUISTICS : CRITERIA Purity Logic History Literary excellence

8 PRESCRIPTIVE LINGUISTICS The principal design of a Grammar of any Language is to teach us to express ourselves with propriety in that Language, and to be able to judge of every phrase and form of construction, whether it be right or not. Robert Lowth, A Short Introduction to English Grammar, 1762

9 DESCRIPTIVE LINGUISTICS Facts of linguistic usage Observed regularity No imagined ideal state Language changes/ variation Modern Linguistic approach

10 DESCRIPTIVE LINGUISTICS There is no hard and fast rule for making Grammaticality judgments. Grammaticality is a continuum. Berk, English Syntax, 1999

11 SUPER SYNTAX For anyone whos confused about correct grammar and style in writing, the Internet offers the following tips:

12 SUPER SYNTAX o It is wrong to ever split you infinitive. o Contractions arent necessary. o The passive voice is to be avoided. o Prepositions are not the words to end sentences with. o One-word sentences? Eliminate.

13 REACTIONS TO LANGUAGE I knew I was in one of those fancy food shops when I saw the sign over the express lane. Instead of reading 15 items or less, it said 15 items or fewer.

14 CONCLUSION Our attitudes to language are far from trivial and they may be influential in our assessment of the characteristics of individuals and social groups. These assessments can be carried over into the decisions that are made in important areas of our lives such as employment, education and equality of opportunity.

15 CONCLUSION Awareness of how attitudes might be formed or manipulated may not make us immune to them, but it may help us to evaluate their influence on our own practices.

16 FURTHER READING Bauer, L. & P. Trudgill (eds). 1998. Language Myths. Penguin. Berk, L. 1999. English Syntax: from word to discourse. OUP. Cameron, D. (1995). Verbal Hygiene. London: Routledge. Crystal, D. 1987. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language.CUP Crystal, D. 1995. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language.CUP. Giles, H. & Coupland, N. (1991). Language: Contexts and Consequences. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Lyons, J. 1981. Language and Linguistics: an introduction. CUP.

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