What is one misconception about languages and linguistics that annoys you to no end?

You can’t just say no to claims and ignore the logic inherent in them, decisively shown by the sources chosen. You are literally just saying no.

Did you notice how built into that quotation you chose she deliberately points out that the yield of such identity construction is differences in their linguistic performance? These are contextualized by listener speaker perception and practice differences that are all systematically and structurally supported and stratified in terms of cultural capital, salience and measures of intelligence, capability, warmth.

Take this King from the same article from before: “An interesting study in this regard is Lev-Ari & Keysar 2010, which showed that accented or nonnative English is rated by American listeners as less credible than Native American speech...we can also see the effect of racial stereotypes in works like Baugh 2003 and Fischer & Massey 2004, in which apartment hunters who spoke with a Black accent, or in AAVE, were systematically discriminated against when compared with callers speaking in White or Standard English, even though the accents were all native to the US.

clearly, cleary the authors here are pointing out an issue they see with systems of labeling and metrics of evaluating that are now unfortunately built in and supported by the language we use to otherwise describe them. Accented/nonnative English is rated which means there’s a structural mechanism that supports the perception.

I have demonstrated the historical weight behind the terms with which I take issue, I have shown you how other scholars have recognized their same potential for being problematic as they represent structures of power that can’t be unentangled from their meaning. even if those same scholars still choose to use them because we haven’t had a scholar lead a serious discussion about the potential to change them. I agree that I can’t claim an author to find an issue with a word they themselves use, but you know no better than I.

I really wish you would stop leading people to believe that minority means simply less than. That is such a reductionist view. Minority is literally systematically produced and supported by power structures. When linguists use the term they contribute to this.


It is quite literally the third and fourth definitions in dictionary.com. You don’t want anyone to read past entry two, and even the first two entries lend themselves to hierarchical metrics, which I know is your least favorite word but it’s a valid term when describing implicitly structural views that measure someone’s access to power.

And power and language and minority and majority have been put in relation to each other in this way for so so long, honestly since Bourdieu’s linguistic marketplace, but other people have recognized this, such as the Gal article I already referenced, the Eckert article on social categories, Bucholtz’ recent work on gender and language.

I think it’s great that you call yourself a minority and you don’t see it as an offensive term but many people feel like it’s an unnecessary tribute to the history of humanity that still includes slavery to this day besides all the other forms of oppression which can be said to be rooted in language. And your example about Swiss billionaires is trite but does little to distract from the overwhelming realities that most oppressed minority groups face, including with the perceptions of their language.

/r/linguistics Thread Parent