ANTH 120 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Chicano English, Language Assessment, Racialization
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Anth. 120 Week Eleven Lecture Notes
● So is race real?
○ Race is real as a social and historical phenomenon, though it has no real
○ Can document empirically the process of racialization, the most obvious of these
in an official capacity is a census or demographic data.
○ Idea of racialized identity and separating people into race really emerged with the
slave trade as a way to rationalize the enslavement of other human beings.
● Why talk about race in a course on language and culture?
○ Race continues to shape our institutions including language and culture
○ John Baugh did early research on linguistic profiling
○ Indexicality: the way that certain things point at something else, such as accents
indicating race or origins.
○ Learning to discriminate, Lippi-Green looked at depictions of disney characters
over time in 1980
■ “Children learn not only how to use variation in their own languages but
also how to interpret social variation in the language of others.
■ She reviewed 24 Disney films multiple times
■ Analyzed 371 characters for language and character variables (variety
spoken, gender, animal vs. human, hero vs. villain, etc.)
■ Language assessment based on character’s pronunciation, syntactic
structure (grammar), marked lexical items (salient vocabulary)
■ Refers to mainstream US english (MUSE) as the standard variety of
english to be the benchmark like the way people talk on NPR or CNN
■ Quantitative results:
● 43% of characters spoke MUSE
● 8% spoke a regional variety of US english, usually a southern
variety, and 5% a social variety like AAE or Chicano English
● 22% spoke a mainstream British accent and 11% with another
variety of British english
● Non-native english (foreign)
○ Used to convey story setting in another country
○ But not just setting…
■ Research questions: When characters speak a variety other than the
standard, what kinds of characters are they? Or what characteristics are
implicitly associated specific accents in children's films?
● Found that most ‘good’ characters spoke MUSE or British english
though in the latter a higher proportion of ‘bad’ characters and that
most ‘bad’ characters, or at least an equal amount rather than
lesser, spoke with foreign-accented english.
● Most if not all african-american vernacular speaking characters
appear in animal rather than human form and in films like Lion