Language and socialinequality presented by: Dani Debby Utami Efi Fitria Wina Winarti
LANGUAGE AND SOCIAL INEQUALITY Use of different linguistic items by a speaker for communicatingthe same message with in different social situation gave birth to theidea of linguistic and social inequality. When a speaker makes achoice with in the vast range of linguistic choices, the selectionmade by the speaker shows a degree of preference for any choice.All this depends on the social and educational status of thespeaker. Means to say people have different levels of linguisticcompetence and linguistic performance which provide basis for thenotion of linguistic inequality. In the same way people withdifferent social and cultural background shows the levels of socialinequality as well as different social status.
In the twentieth century, linguistic commonalities have been givenmore importance than the linguistic differences. The linguists havebeen trying to find similarities among all the languages of the world.This century presented the idea that no variety of language is betterthan other but that all the varieties of languages or dialects havecommon features has been developed among the linguists. In fact thelayman has different belief in this regard but the idea presented bylinguists seems sound. In the same way as linguistic differences showno variety of language, the grammar of the different languages can notidentically represent any language. Of course, there is no shortage ofdifferences between grammars, whether of individuals or the wholecommunities. But there is no purely linguistic ground for ranking anyof the grammars higher than others. Inspite these notions based onlinguistic equality, it is acknowledged that linguistic and socialinequality affects the language and its use to a great extent.
Social inequalityrefers to a situation in which individual groups in a society do nothave equal social status, social class, and social circle. Areas ofsocial inequality include voting rights, freedom of speech andassembly, the extent of property right and access to education,health care, quality housing, traveling, transportation,vacationing and other social goods and services. Apart from thatit can also be seen in the quality of family and neighborhood life,occupation, job satisfaction, and access to credit. If theseeconomic divisions harden, they can lead to social divisions.
causesThe reasons for social inequality can vary, but are often broadand far reaching. Social inequalities exist between races, classesand countries. The results of such social inequalities can be seenaround the globe in the history of all countries.Social inequality is different from economic inequality, thoughthe two are linked. Social inequality refers to disparities in thedistribution of economic assets and income. While economicinequality is caused by the unequal accumulation of wealth,social inequality exists because the lack of wealth in certain areasprohibits these people from obtaining the same housing, healthcare, etc. as the wealthy, in societies where access to these socialgoods depends on wealth.
Social inequality is linked to racial inequality, genderinequality, and wealth inequality. The way people behavesocially, through racism and other forms of discrimination, tendsto trickle down and affect the opportunities and wealthindividuals can generate for themselves. Thomas M. Shapiropresents a hypothetical example of this in his book, The HiddenCost of Being African American, in which he tries to demonstratethe level of inequality on the "playing field for blacks and whites".One example he presents reports how a black family was denied abank loan to use for housing, while a white family was approved.As being a homeowner is an important method in acquiringwealth, this situation created fewer opportunities for the blackfamily to acquire wealth, producing social inequlity.
Forms of social inequalityGender InequalityRacial Inequality Caste Inequality Age Inequality
conclusionThe relationship between language and social inequality isthe idea that some expressions of language are valuedmore than others in a way that is associated with somepeople being more valued than others and some ideasexpressed by people through language being more valuedthan others.Dell Hymes expressed this general view of language andsocial inequality in his essay on the origins of inequalityamong speakers ( Hymes 1973 ).