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February 7th, 2013.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Ivan Kalmar

Language, Society, Freedom February 7, 2013 Language, Society, Freedom  Language and signifying behavior in general, limits what we can say, think and do,  Often below the level of our consciousness  Limiting innovation preserves the social order  And can be hegemonic o “thou shalt not steal” – hegemonic notion as it supports the social order  So how free are we? Lecture Themes:  Language varieties: o 1. Languages, dialects, language ideologies o 2. Social variation: accents, sociologists, registers o Hegemony: Three Approaches  1. Manufacturing consent  2. Conformity and resistance  3. Incorporation Language Varieties:  Language varieties: “languages, dialects, accents”  “Language, dialect, and accents”: popular, not scientific terms Nation, Language, Dialect  “Language: a dialect with an army” – if a way of speaking is associated with a social or political power it becomes a language  “Languages”: Danish, Norwegian; Russian, Ukrainian; Malay, Indonesian; Serbian, Croatian – varieties with a state o arguably all these couples are varieties but realistically a person that speaks Malayan can understand Indonesian o Why are they called languages when they are so similar to each other? Political reason, struggle for independence  “Dialects”: Cantonese, Fukinese, Mandarin, etc.; Tagalog, Ilokano – varieties with no state  Languages”: Serbian, Croatian; Hindi, Urdu – varieties with a region (and script) “Accents”  Why do foreign accents persist?  Objective reasons: critical period for learning distant languages o 11-14 years of age o brain plasticity  Subjective reasons: foreign accents depends on both production and reception of speech: how people speak and how we hear them Accent types and ethnic groups  “East European”  “Indian”  Accent “classifications” reflect relations across the world and within the community  Why do foreign language speakers get dubbed into accented English in American films? Social Dialects  “I don’t see nothin’ wron
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