Download Language Racism by Jean-Jacques Weber (auth.) PDF

By Jean-Jacques Weber (auth.)

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Extra resources for Language Racism

Example text

It has repeatedly been shown that other, more linguistic definitions just do not work. For instance, it has been claimed that dialects are mutually comprehensible, whereas languages are not. However, this would mean that such languages as Danish, Norwegian and Swedish would have to be classified as dialects. The same would apply to Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin. Also Luxembourgish and German are to a large extent mutually intelligible (at least as mutually intelligible as Bavarian and Standard German).

In the United States, these are mostly speakers of AAE and Chicano English. In Baugh’s experimental studies, speakers of AAE, Chicano English and Standard American English made telephone calls to request appointments to visit vacant apartments for rent. It turned out that the speakers of AAE and Chicano English were consistently discriminated against; just as with the person contacting the Little Man, their requests to view the vacant apartments were turned down and they were rejected as potential tenants – especially in more affluent areas.

Unlike what the Little Man thinks, the pressures of living in a new environment are such that most migrants want to acquire the dominant language as quickly as possible. For instance, in the United States, studies have shown that migrants are going through a more rapid shift to English than ever before (Torres T 2010: 49; Potowski 2013: 36). Y Yet the perception of many mainstream society members is that the opposite is the case. In fact, it is a widespread but erroneous assumption that migrants assimilated more smoothly in the ‘good old days’, which further problematizes the contemporary state of affairs (see Wilkerson & Salmons 2008).

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