The Social Complications Of Language By Natalie Schilling-Estes

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As I learn more about linguistics through readings and class discussions, I have become increasingly curious about the social aspects involved in language. Natalie Schilling-Este’s chapter about dialect variation in addition to the dialect perception experiment provided insight to some of these curiosities. After reflecting upon the reading and experiment, the topics that stood out to me most were factors that contribute to language change, the social implications of dialect, and the perception of dialects from Dominican students. In Schilling-Este’s chapter, she emphasizes many factors that contribute to language change and the connections to social class. Schilling-Estes states that different social class groups play different roles in …show more content…
She talks about how dialects are a symbol of local identity. Interestingly, while dialects serve as a means of unity and local pride for a group of people, it can also serve as a discriminatory feature among different groups. Schilling-Estes references a study done by John Baugh in which he made phone calls inquiring about housing and used different dialects of English (331). In his study, he found that there were more negative responses when he used African American English or Hispanic English rather than Standard English (331). Schilling-Estes uses the term dialect discrimination to describe unequal treatment towards people based on dialect. She further mentions that dialect discrimination is rooted in racial prejudice. It is interesting that linguistically, dialects have no hierarchy, but when applied in a social context, dialects are molded into a hierarchy by …show more content…
For the United States, most people indicated different dialects in the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western regions. Most people also identified different regions in between such as the Midwest the Michigan cluster. I also found that people indicated different dialects for Alaska and Hawaii. As for California, every person identified that Bay Area spoke a different dialect than the Los Angeles region. Additionally, some people identified different dialects along the Northern and Southern borders of California. I think our perception of dialects has a lot to do with places we have been and how dialects are portrayed through media. For example, the show “Call of the Wildman” is about a man from Kentucky that helps people remove wild animals from their property. Unfortunately, since I have never been to Kentucky, this has become a part of my perception of what Kentucky may be

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