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Language & Ethnicity


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Language & Ethnicity

  2. 2. Some Key Questions• Who’s ethnic?• Would you call yourself ethnic? Why/why not?• What characteristics make up an ethnic identity?• How does a group’s ethnicity relate to the language(s) they speak?
  3. 3. Who’s Ethnic?• Origins that precede or are external to the state• Group membership that is involuntary• Ancestral tradition rooted in a shared sense of peoplehood• Distinctive value orientations and behavior patterns• Influence of the group on the lives of its members• Group membership defined by how members define themselves and how they are defined by others
  4. 4. What is ethnicity?Ethnicity is a social construction thatindicates identification with a particulargroup which is often descended fromcommon ancestors. Members of thegroup share common cultural traits(such as language, religion, and dress)and are an identifiable minority withinthe larger nation-state.
  5. 5. Ethnic Varieties of English (USA)• Italian English • American Indian• Jewish English English• Irish English • Vietnamese English• German English • African American• Puerto Rican English English• Chicano EnglishDo you know of any in the Caribbean?In your country of origin?
  6. 6. Characteristics of an Ethnic variety• Lexical differences from standard English• Phonological differences (vowels, intonation)• Isolated grammatical features• Conversational style
  7. 7. Where do these characteristics come from?• Transfer from the first language• Process of second language learning
  8. 8. Spread of Dialect featuresSome lexical and grammatical features of ethnicvarieties of English are no longer identified withpeople of that ethnic group. They have spreadinto mainstream varieties of English.
  9. 9. Spread of Dialect featuresWhat variety of English do you associate withthese expressions?– I need this like a hole in the head.– chutzpah = impudence or guts– schlep = to haul or to take– wunna = all of you
  10. 10. Spread of Dialect featuresWhat variety of English do you associate withthese expressions?• Bogus – fake or deceitful: false, dishonest, orfraudulently imitating something• Cat – He’s a real cool cat.• Hip – aware of and influenced by the latestfashions in clothes, music, or ideas• Dig – to understand something fully or withsympathy
  11. 11. Spread of Dialect featuresbogus comes from Hausa boko (deceit or fraud)cat comes from Wolof –kat (suffix for a person)hip comes from Wolof hepi (to open one’s eyes)dig comes from Wolof deg (to understand, appreciate)• Hausa is a language widely spoken in Nigeria, Niger,and other parts of eastern West Africa.• Wolof is a language spoken in Senegal and TheGambia, belonging to the Niger-Congo languagefamily.
  12. 12. Consequences?• What are the consequences of speaking ethnic varieties of English? – Do we load certain types of English with values? – What values? What types of English? – Why? – Where do you think some of the varieties you know of may have come from?
  13. 13. What ethnicities make up the Caribbean 1 region?How have these affected our language?