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Chapter 4

ANT253H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Indexicality, Nerd, Pop Icon

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marcel danesi

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Sociolects – The study of variation in language across social classes (dialects is geographical
differences, sociolects is difference in social class) (examples: jargon and slang)
Social alignment – People who speak the standard language have an advantage in all aspects of
life (job opportunities, prestige, etc.) over those who speak dialects. Four points:
1. Dialect speakers are more likely to be less educated and work in less skilled jobs
2. Dialect speakers are more likely to be underrepresented in media but
overrepresented in negative ways
3. Speakers of the standard language are more likely to be educated and possess
higher class jobs
4. Speakers of the standard language are more likely to be represented in media
4.1 Sociolects
Speech communities are groups of people that share a common dialect or sociolect and
understand each other clearly
Jargon – the sociolect that is spoken among professional organizations
Slang – the sociolect that is spoken among school friends, gangs, etc.
There can be overlap between dialects and sociolects (ex. slang Canadian English  the slang
part is the sociolect and the Canadian English is the dialect)
4.1.1 Slang
Slang is used to show group solidarity or allegiance
Two forms of slang: general and group-based.
General slang are words which a change in grammatical category causes it to become slang.
Overtime, that word becomes used so often that it turns into a colloquialism (words that
aren’t formal but aren’t slang either – ex. ‘cool’).
Group-based slang are words that if they do not become colloquialisms, they stay used in the
context that they originated from (ex. slang only used by teenagers, in music, in theater, etc.)
Slang can not only be described in a vocabulary sense but can also be described in an emotional
sense. Some phrases become slang because they are the perfect way of expressing a certain
emotion (ex. vulgar words) or to secure consensus (ex. tagging, hedges)
Tagging – A statement that gets turned into a question in order to seek approval ex. “You agree
with me, don’t you?”
Hedge – A word that makes a usually aggressive sentence seem less aggressive “She kind of said
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