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how does language affect social differences?

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Introduction

Within and between languages, social divisions are created when there are differences. This can lead to stereotyping of different kinds, such as gender stereotypes- especially for women along with a "sexist" language, social class stereotypes- i.e. different languages or forms of language relate to different social class, and regional stereotyping of different accents within a language. The accent and dialect of a person triggers different first impressions of people. Some accents within a language can be seen as more desirable and higher social class than others. Sapir and Whorf claimed that when children learn their native language they also learn a particular view of the world. ...read more.

Middle

This is usually seen as a more desirable accent and dialect than most regional forms, such as a Birmingham accent which can often be perceived as generally less attractive and even less intelligent than other dialects and accents. This is called the Inherent Value hypothesis; however the Social Connotations Hypothesis states that Standard English and Received Pronunciation are no better or effective than any other dialect. Social differences are also reflected through gender, as the English language is often seen as patriarchal, reflecting male domination. Feminists argue that we must strive for a more equal language if we want a more equal society. Many verbal conventions assume the world is populated entirely by men for example, instead of the use of words such as "manmade" and "fireman" and "his"(where applicable) ...read more.

Conclusion

However this leads to youths not being taken as seriously as adults as they may use a different dialect to older generations. There are also different registers which are used between the different age groups, as a youth is probably more likely to speak closer to something of Standard English rather than there regional dialect with an older generation of more power status. Overall, language does matter, and the dialect and accent that is used by a person will most probably affect there life chances. A middle class, middle aged man who speaks with Received Pronunciation is more likely to be taken seriously than that of a thirteen year old girl with an estuary accent. For this prejudice to be tackled, it is necessary for language to be more accepting of the variations within it and try to make them all as equal as each other. ...read more.

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