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Language and Race - Essay Example

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Language and race Introduction Race is not a biological issue. It is a much deeper phenomenon. It concerns cultural, religious, social beliefs, features and traditions. It is relevant to define what race is and what kind of determinants it has. Race in the modern discourse is a relevant issue and is often positioned as a social construct…
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Language and Race
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Download file to see previous pages Interrelated Language and Race The ancient philosophers and famous linguists have underlined the importance of social interaction, social stereotypes, and language and not with the issues of evolution. A large number of modern theorists are basing their arguments on the ancient philosophers, such as Socrates, Hermogene (Boas, 1940). For example, linguists-structuralists and poststructuralists, the “conventionalists” who focus their attention on the relations between a signifier and signified are the representatives of a crucial role of language in interpretation of race as a social construct. The interpretation of language as an important factor of determination of a race as a social construct is usually conducted in the following terms: “if a word (or other signifier) does not flawlessly and directly communicate the concept it signifies – in other words, if there is not an inherent relationship between signifiers and their referents – at least a certain degree of social construction of meaning must take place between a communicator and his audience” (Grillo, 2004). This principle works with the interpretation of race as a social construct. In accordance with Vatz language does not have a function to reflect an “objective reality”. ...
Thus, an individual’s linguistic experience is the basis for an individual’s unstable reality. The language in terms of this theory is positioned as a system of a variety of symbols. The concepts are communicated among different people in an incompatible manner. Social negotiation implies a fluid, comprehensive understanding among all parties involved in the process of communication. Therefore, it is rather hard to define relations between material reality and social interaction. Language as a social construct Language, as a race is also a social construct. “ Language is not a ‘brute fact’ per se, as cursing at a sub-Saharan African person in Spanish would mean nothing to him (speaking from personal experience of course)” (Grillo 2004, p. 935). This suggestion can be interpreted as if the language was not an objective entity. Still, for people there is a degree of objectivity in words used by people in their daily lives. If to compare language and race as social constructs, it is possible to trace a kind of interdependence between these two social phenomena. For race as a social construct, many followers assign political features and many other social factors. Race is inevitably connected with the state and makes a great contribution into the state’s identification and state contributes much to one’s identity (Grillo 2004, p. 936). A role of language in relation to race In case language is one of the determinant factors of race, it should be noted that “an utterance becomes a social construct when it enters the world of discourse, which it must do, of course, in order for us to communicate about it” (Edgell, 2008). Thus, language performs a function of social construction of race and provides comprehensive arguments of the reality for ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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