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"Why are the issues involved in language and representation considered so important?" Discuss, using examples of a range of terms and a range of social groups.

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Introduction

Sarah Richards 12F "Why are the issues involved in language and representation considered so important?" Discuss, using examples of a range of terms and a range of social groups. Issues involved in language and representation are considered to be so important as they have the power to affect the way we structure our thoughts. Within different social groups, language and its usage have different connotations and consequences. For example, a pupil will not be able to swear at a teacher but could at a peer group member with little resulting action. In this way we can define language usage. Representation can be defined as the portrayal of the words we use, whilst the issues include such things as political correctness, pejoration and so forth. Over time, there has been a lot of semantic change, in which new words have been introduced and existing words have been adapted in meaning. Sometimes, in order to express a meaning in a different way, for example making it more polite, phrases and words have been introduced or used. ...read more.

Middle

For example, during the time political correctness was raised, Eskimos decided they would prefer to be called Inuit. Social groups who were more often than others discriminated against were able to choose their own names. This became a big issue as it allowed people to be represented, as they would like to be. From the 1880s African-Americans as they are now known went from being Negro to Afro-Caribbean to the present term. Political correctness was considered to be an improvement, however was it really? In the 1980-1990s there was a backlash about political correctness. It became a subject of ridicule and this became an issue in the way language was used. The word 'challenged' was used as a term of ridicule. For example aesthetically challenged was used to mean ugly and horizontally challenged was used to mean fat. The changing of names of social groups, such as blind to visually impaired, also made many feel there was a sense of over-sensitivity. ...read more.

Conclusion

Language use must therefore be considered carefully as it is a way of communicating and communication is the key of the human race. This means that if we were unclear, we may portray others or ourselves in a way that we wouldn't want to. In conclusion, from the way language structures our thoughts, it is important to think about the issues involved in order to represent ourselves appropriately. As we have the power to cause offence through language it is important that we be non-discriminatory and that we must always consider the consequences of our actions. It is in this way that language and representation is a way of portraying and communicating with others and in order to get what we want out of life without causing controversies we have to think about what we do and say in language before we do so. The issues involved in language and representation are vital in the way of communication and that all social groups including those of race, colour, sexual orientation, disabilities and so forth are all incorporated and thought about so as language is used correctly and they are not insulted by our representation of them. ...read more.

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