Linguistic Pet Peeves on Variation and Stigma

Linguistic Pet Peeves on Variation and Stigma Choose one item of grammar, vocabulary, or pronunciation (see list below) that is used by some but not all speakers of American English and to which some Americans have a strong negative reaction.

Linguistic Pet Peeves on Variation and Stigma
Linguistic Pet Peeves on Variation and Stigma

Do some research into: 1) the current use of the item; 2) its history; 3) the reactions that people have to it. Write up your findings in a 3-4 page paper. (Double-spaced; standard 12-pt. font such as Times Roman; one-inch margins.)

Linguistic Pet Peeves on Variation and Stigma

Your paper should include answers to the following questions. (If you cannot find answers to some of these questions, explain what efforts you made to find them.)

  1. Who uses this item (in the relevant way)? Does its use correlate with: region, social class, age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, and other factors? How strong are these correlations? Is there a discrepancy between a perceived correlation with a particular group or groups and any actual correlation?
  2. What is the history of the item? When was it first used (in the relevant way)? Is its use increasing or was it used more in the past than it is now?
  3. What, if anything, do prescriptive grammars say about this item?
  4. Who has negative reactions to this item? How can one explain these reactions? Could the negative reactions be related to any kind of prejudice or resentment against a particular group of people? What do professional linguists say about the public reactions to this item?

Linguistic Pet Peeves on Variation and Stigma

The last section of your paper should summarize what you have learned from your research and discuss any ways in which your own attitude toward your item has changed.

You should be able to do most of your research online, although printed library material ñ especially some of the non-circulating reference works on the 2nd floor of Lockwood ñ could also be very useful. Be sure to include: (1) citations within your paper that make the source of each piece of information clear; and (2) a full bibliography at the end. You should use at least five different sources. At least two of your sources must be scholarly rather than popular or journalistic. In other words, they must be written by professional linguists (or scholars in related fields) and intended mainly for an audience of fellow specialists rather than for the general public.

Linguistic Pet Peeves on Variation and Stigma

SOME USEFUL SOURCES:–stop-trying-to-relate-n1709649

Obama’s “g-dropping”, CBC speech:

Kirk Hazen. 2008. ë(ING): A Vernacular Baseline for English in Appalachia. American

Speech, Volume 83, Number 2: 116-140. (Available online through UB libraries website) Kathryn Campbell-Kibler. 2007. ëAccent, (ING), and the Social Logic of Listener

Perceptionsí. American Speech, Volume 82, Number 1: 32-64. (Available online through UB libraries website)

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