Blog Archives

Can we please do better than “Y’all Qaeda”?

About a day ago, a bunch of white people took over a federal government building in Oregon. Some are pretty heavily armed. They claim that they are protesting the seizure of land by the federal government.

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Posted in Language and social class

Trump fans aren’t spelling bee champions, but why do we care?

Grammarly is the worst. Seriously, it is. I don’t mean their silly little grammar and spelling checker thing. I’m sure that’s a perfectly adequate proofreading tool, doing its best to reinforce people’s deep-seated insecurities about writing every time they touch a keyboard.

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Posted in Language and education, Language and politics, Language and social class, Prescriptivism and language prejudice

Expats and immigrants: How we talk about human migration

On Friday, the Guardian published an article by Mawuna Remarque Koutonin arguing that the word expat (short for “expatriate”) is a label “reserved exclusively for western white people going to work abroad”. According to Koutonin, the word immigrant is set aside for everyone else —

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Posted in Language and race, Language and social class

Linguistic inequality: Spanish on the job market

I’ve taken a lot of foreign language classes in my life. At different times, I’ve studied German, French, Russian, Spanish, and Japanese. The teachers that I encountered in these classes, not to mention many of my colleagues now, frequently talk about the value

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Posted in Language and social class

Shibboleths of social class: On the obscurity of SAT vocabulary

College Board, the company that designs and administers the Scholastic Achievement Test (“the SAT”, the most popular standardized test used in admissions to colleges and universities in the United States), recently announced that it would be releasing a revised form of the

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Posted in Language and education, Language and social class

What I imagine the future Museum of Classism’s exhibit on language elitists will say

Despite the naïve pretensions of utopic meritocracy held by many of the era’s commentators, we now know that the early twenty-first century was one marked by intense inequalities in its inhabitants’ well-being and life opportunities. Indeed, in many ways this era’s incredible

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Posted in Ideology and social change, Language and social class, Prescriptivism and language prejudice

Habits of the rich: Rationalizing inequality

One striking aspect of contemporary life in the United States (and indeed in many other countries), is the level of material inequality that exists. Such blatant and materially important inequalities demand explanation. Questions like “why do I live in such wealth

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Posted in Language and social class, Media discourse and media bias

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