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Bias in language.

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Miss Ayers English Language Essay on bias in language Language is used all over the world as means of communication. Different groups of people are represented in various ways through language. Today we live in an andocentric culture; this is when there is bias towards white males. Culture is the way in which people live, so everyone is affected by it and persuaded by it. Different groups have different prejudices that are distinctively revealed in the language that they use. For example, the white race is prejudiced against the black race, men are prejudiced against women and people with disabilities are being prejudiced against by people without. It is an unfair culture, but this is how everyone lives, everyone is prejudiced against someone at some point. The most obvious is when you make a judgement of someone as soon as you see him or her. For example, a blonde isn't intelligent. This is a stereotype that is backed up by the media and films (e.g. Legally Blonde). Language has a lot of bias involved in it. ...read more.


So there is no negative meaning against the black race, though this phrase is used around the world to be discriminative against them. 'Sexism' means discrimination against others on the basis of their gender, otherwise known as gender prejudice. The English language we use nowadays still reflects the fact that we live in a patriarchal society (male dominated). Lexical asymmetry is when male words and their female equivalents are unequal (asymmetrical) in their associations and connotations. For example 'mistress' and 'master'. When I see these two words I see 'master' as someone who is rich, good-looking and is in charge of his life with a good-looking wife at his side and kids. When I see 'mistress' I have a vision of a pretty girl who is a 'little bit on-the-side' for the master. This is how I see these titles because this is the culture I have been brought up in and it has affected my language. Terms for females are often marked by the addition of a suffix to the male terms, which is unmarked. ...read more.


There is evidence that people are divided in their preference for using one of the alternative terms 'disabled people' or 'people with disabilities'. I feel that 'people with disabilities' is more politically correct as it is putting the person first, as they have feelings and they have the disability, not the other way round, the disability is not them, they just have one. Negative synonyms of disabled include 'spastic' or 'crippled' which were originally medical descriptions but have now turned to be negative because of the way people were using it. This is unfair for the people with these disabilities as they are laughed or discriminated against for it. Overall, I feel that we live in a very prejudiced world. Nearly everything we say can be put into one of the three categories above which is a very sad fact and shows we live in a world with sexism, racism and prejudice against people with disabilities. There are many other things that we are prejudiced about, these include height, weight, religion and so many other things that makes an individual or group different. We live in an unfair world. Ceiri Morgan LVI 6 24th Nov '03 ...read more.

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