Language identity, in media and or interaction

 In this section of the course, we have been concentrating on (folk) theories of the relationship between language and society, and specifically the ways that language and identity are interrelated and mutually constitutive. How do people show their identities (who they are, what they’re like, what they like, who[m] they like, what they do, where they come from, what they know [or don’t know], and what they care [or don’t care] about. . .) from how they talk (and otherwise “present themselves”)? The “identities” we have been reading about include racialized or ethnic identities, gender, and such otherwise nebulous things as social class. From your own direct experience, choose a couple of contrasting instances of such identity-making via language, ideally in conversations in which you have participated or which you have observed, and from your own community of peers and friends? Present them in some detail and analyze both the linguistic behavior involved and the sorts of identity projected, with appropriate references to our course readings. (Try to look carefully, transcribe your evidence where possible and appropriate.) An alternative, should you be stumped for live examples, would be to search for data in media representations of people: films, television programs, music videos, the press. Another readily available source of data would be the corpus of Les Blank documentary films shown on the syllabus and available via the library website.

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