The idea of world peace implies there is a common understanding between diverse nations and cultures. Theories or perspectives concerning problems of peace and development, if understood dialectically, can shed light upon the conditions that regulate the use of language. Bourdieu’s conditions refer to the relations of power, whereas Habermas’ conditions refer to relations of reason. The implementation of a politically neutral language affords the opportunity for every sovereign individual to participate within the public realm for rational discourse to take place. Both Bourdieu and Habermas’ theories identify the hurdles of equitable discourse. World peace implies a “neutrality” of speech void of language games and communication anchored in widespread participation. In Bourdieu’s words, “The use of language…depends on the social position of the speaker;” and in effect, the authority of language “comes to language from outside.” The “outside” is created from social conditions fraught with language games. Bourdieu argues that speaking is inseparable from the distribution of power in a society, and the distribution power in society is unequal. Hence, there is difficulty for neutrality. The analysis of language games involves an awareness of social classes and the relative social position of speakers. The institutionalized social relations of speaking establish who is authorized to speak and recognized as such by others. Bourdieu goes on to identify an inverse relation
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“Our society tends to regard as a sickness any mode of thought or behavior that is inconvenient for the system, and this is plausible because when an individual doesn't fit into the system it causes pain to the individual as well as problems for the system; thus the manipulation of an individual to adjust him to the system is seen as a cure for a sickness and therefore as good.” This quote provides a lucent and focused direction to the prevalent predicaments of language discrimination. Unfair treatment, due to the way or type of style used while speaking can be seen in most everyday cases. The comparison between the book “Beyond Ebonics: Linguistic Pride and Racial Prejudice” by John Baugh and the continuously transpiring, real life event of
Language can unify people. English has more than 1.9 billion competent speakers in the world. Charles Foran, author of “Lingua Franchise” calls English a compromise tongue. This means, “default neutral terrain for doing deals and making friends” (100). English is rapidly growing globally.
Language plays a significant role in defining who we are. It is a method of communication in a structured and conventional way. “Language reinforces feelings of social superiority or inferiority; it creates insiders and outsiders” (p. 242) states Robert MacNeil (2012) in his article “English Belongs to Everybody”.
Language has been an integral part of human existence since the dawn of time. Our innate ability to communicate has guided the progress of civilization since its modest beginnings and facilitates our understanding of what it means to be human. The only practical way to thoroughly express one’s identity is through language, whether it be verbal speech or written text. It is only through this medium that we are able to fulfill our roles as a social people, who use discourse to cultivate relationships both on a personal and communal level. Language defines the human notion of self by revealing culture and beliefs, making individuality context-specific, and providing identity markers.
Intra-cultural relations are historically filled with conflict; and to deal with this conflict: Gloria Anzaldua’s concepts of opposing cultures and language barriers, John Locke’s Equality theory, and Kwame Anthony Appiah’s global citizenship theory explores the issue and works towards better relations. According to Anzaldua, people are not of one culture, but in several cases, several clashing, distinct cultures. Anzaldua argues that language is part of our identity, and it is a barrier between cultures, sometimes even our own. While Locke argues, we are all created equal, we may not be treated equal. Once society can deal with these problems, it can move forward towards Kwame Anthony Appiah’s global citizenship theory.
Foucault (1977) uses discourse to relate to how language can be used to construct ideas and thoughts about groups. Discourses and language can therefore help construct or reduce oppression (Thompson, 2006). If a group has power, they have the ‘ability and opportunity to fulfil or obstruct personal, relational, or collective needs’ (Prilleltensky, 2008). If the dominant discourse of a less powerful group is positive, the group with power may help that group fulfil their needs. If the dominant discourse of a less powerful group is negative, such as with UASC, the powerful group may obstruct them in fulfilling their needs, and therefore will cause oppression.
In the civilized society that everyone lives in today, all languages and culture should be equal. That is the main idea in both Gloria Anzaldua’s essay, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”, as well as James Baldwin’s “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?”. The authors in both these texts support their argument in various ways, and in doing so, manages to effectively persuade their audience. The ways that each author approaches their argument is different in their appeals, evidence, and styles. Similarities also exist between the texts of the two authors. The rhetorical strategies that Anzaldua uses makes her argument much stronger than Baldwin’s argument.
On October 22, 2014, Raffaella Zanuttini’s essay, “Our Language Prejudices Don’t Make No Sense,” was published in Pacific Standard magazine. This work was written to draw attention to the false assumptions made about different varieties of the English language. Zanuttini starts her essay by considering, “There are some things you just don’t say in a polite society” (173). With this statement, she is referring to the ridicule made on different varieties of language. Zanuttini offers a few examples of judgements people often make, negative concord demonstrating one of them. Negative concord is a part of the Russian language and many others, but in today’s English, those who speak with negative concord occupy a low position on the socioeconomic scale. Zanuttini then introduces an argument in which people believe the language they speak is inferior. The English language has many recipes and according to Zanuttini, these different variations can be associated with age, ethnic or social identity, and geographical location. Although, there is a prestige language that should be used for business matters. As a final remark, she describes how different varieties of the same language should be viewed. Zanuttini indicates different dialects are like bread. No bread is better than any other, but for certain purposes, different breads should be used. Just like bread, no variation of language should be judged.
In the words of George Orwell, “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” Language has been spoken for over 350,000 years. It has expanded tremendously, but its power has never changed. The use of language shapes peoples' perceptions and the depth of interactions because it can demean, avoid, portray emphasis, persuade, and conceal from simple phrases such as “I feel like” and “just”.
In the article by James Baldwin, “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” (1979), the author insinuates that the argument about language is not the true debate, but how language reveals the speaker. Baldwin presents this argument through examples of countries with similar languages that are completely different as well as correlations between whites and blacks. Baldwin claims that instead of focusing on the “black language”, the root of this language has been at times discarded and used against the blacks. Baldwin’s intended audience is people who do not understand the importance of language and its power to bring a group together or push a group away.
Since the beginning of time man has discovered communication through language to be a vital way to exist in a civilized world. Over the centuries, man has overcome many barriers to find ways to effectively communicate amongst each other through language. Cultural differences, religious beliefs, languages dialects, and societal influences have all contributed to the “common” language used today. “Each has paid, and is paying a different price for this “common” language, in which, as it turns out, they are not saying, and cannot be saying, the same thing.” (Baldwin) In the following essays; “If Black English Isn’t A Language, Then Tell Me What Is?” and “Learning To Read and Write” mirrors the cultural feelings of education and learning dilemmas,
Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue” and James Baldwin’s “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” discusses the power in language and how it is defined as a tool for communication but is used to shape people’s perception of others. Both Tan and Baldwin state that language is used as an oppressive force that doesn’t properly acknowledge minorities and the lack of proficiency in “standard” English doesn’t allow them to participate with society equally.
This article discusses the way in which the language used in our society can have negative association. Our language largely influences how we think and act and in turn how we preserve global justice. The author also includes good points about how terminology used in one society does not reflect similarly among all other societies and this can be harmful. He provides a few solutions to the issue that could potentially be a positive direction for social justice among certain circumstances.
Another way in which language can prevent or resolve a conflict is by its role in nationalism that implies a process of unification. Unification can either be the cause of a conflict because your local identity is attacked or be the cause of a resolution because, inherently, people are setting apart their differences and coming together into a nation. In the process of building a unified nation, a unified language must appear as well. Smith (1998), argues that the unification of language, for example, is a political act as well as a war act as long as it oppresses local identities and this may be a cause of conflict. The process of unification can be a war act as Smith states because you are being conquered. Your language and identity are being stripped off you and that can cause confrontation. However, the same unification process has a self-implication of bringing together places that were once separated for different reasons which constitutes a conflict resolution method. People are putting aside their differences in order to have a nation. The differences don´t disappear but a new rhetoric about