Blog Archives

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

Some data to support the gendered nature of “bossy”

Recently, public figures like Sheryl Sandberg and Ariana Huffington have been calling attention to the labeling of young girls’ behaviors and particularly how the labels are often differently applied to young girls but not young boys. In particular the word bossy

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Posted in Ideology and social change, Language and gender

A prescriptivism with moral and political ends: The linguistic shalts and shalt nots I can get behind

In the field of linguistics, we tend to make a distinction between two ways of thinking about language and grammar: prescriptivism and descriptivism.

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Posted in Ideology and social change, Prescriptivism and language prejudice

On the logics of language (yes, logics with an s)

In a couple of previous posts, I talked about how powerful people’s pet peeves about others’ language were being used to justify prejudices.  As I pointed out, some educators and some business leaders are utilizing arbitrary ideas about language to draw unwarranted

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Posted in Prescriptivism and language prejudice

Is the media biased? Can the study of language tell us? (Part 4)

In my recent posts I’ve been exploring the choices in language use (or discourse) that CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC made when reporting on the recent fiscal cliff negotiations.  I said that patterns of choices that different writers or groups

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Posted in Media discourse and media bias

Is the media biased? Can the study of language tell us? (Part 3)

I’ve been looking at media outlets’ coverage of the recent fiscal cliff negotiations, examining how different news outlets differed in the choices they made in reporting the events and how these different choices in discourse might reveal their biases (to

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Posted in Media discourse and media bias

Is the media biased? Can the study of language tell us? (Part 2)

In my last post, I started thinking about media bias by looking very closely at how the choices we make when we talk or write about events can lead to diverse interpretations of the same event.  It turns out that

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Posted in Media discourse and media bias

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