Dude By Scott F. Kiesling Analysis

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Jessica Dennehy Keisling 1B

This essay's goal is to analyze the argument in the academic article Dude by Scott F. Kiesling, where Kiesling argues that a specific form, in this case being the word “dude” holds various functions and represents different ideologies that are discussed at length. I will do this by explaining what the form is and how the form is used, and then explaining the link between form and function, the ideology of the word, as well as the claims Kiesling makes, all while supplying the different forms of evidence Kiesling gave for his argument. Additionally I will supply contextual information, such as important terms Kiesling uses
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Kiesling claims that the definition and the use of the word dude has changed over time and has different historical meanings depending on the era. The historical definitions are as follows: Dude went from being a scarecrow, someone that was dressed in rags in the early years, and then meant dandy, which is someone who is well dressed. Then in the 1930-40’s definition of the word dude completely flip=flopped and the marked form of dude went on to mean cool and to show solidarity. However Keisling did not explain how he achieved the aforementioned evidence, but it can be assumed that he researched the history of the term dude greatly. Now we will examine Kieslings claim on how the use of the word dude has changed throughout time, Kiesling argued that dude indexically presupposed male to male communication, however the use of the word dude has now been expanded to people of all ages and genders, this is supported by strong ethnographic and empirical evidence. Kiesling claims that dude went from being a marked form, young men using this term to address other young men, to becoming an unmarked form, where anybody, such as people of any age and gender, use this term to address others. This prompts Kiesling to argue that dude indexically presupposes cool solidarity, meaning that highly esteemed members of society have been known to say dude to one another to establish feelings of closeness and bonds amongst one another. The indexical function of the word dude focuses on the relationship between addressee and speaker, particularly male to male. Kiesling used strong ethnographic evidence from his time living in a frat house and observing a multitude of males addressing each other with the term “dude”. Keisling conducted a study in the University of Pittsburgh, where he had the students record interactions that they overheard of people saying the

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