Chapter 2: Language, Power, and Privilege

2.9 Exercise your linguistics skills

Exercise 1. Many linguists avoid the term standard language and instead refer to these dialects as standardized. Use your morphology skills to think about the following words: prioritized, finalizedAmericanized, revitalized.

  1. What does the -ize morpheme add to the meaning of these words?
  2. What difference in meaning is conveyed by the difference between the terms standardized language and standard language?
  3. Why might you choose one term over the other?

Exercise 2. If you speak an L2, how do you feel about your accent in that language? What factors do you think influence your feelings about your accent? Are any of those factors related to the language itself, or are they about prestige or power?

Exercise 3.  Do you have different names or nicknames that you use with different people in your life? What factors influence what name you use with different groups? What happens if someone uses your “other” name?

Exercise 4.  There are some social contexts where using swear words is offensive, and others where swearing is acceptable. Give an example of at least one of each kind of context, and for each context, describe the role that swearing plays in terms of face. In each context, is positive or negative face threatened or enhanced?


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Essentials of Linguistics, 2nd edition by Catherine Anderson; Bronwyn Bjorkman; Derek Denis; Julianne Doner; Margaret Grant; Nathan Sanders; and Ai Taniguchi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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