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johnnykim

Language and Stereotypes

Hi,

I was doing some research on TOK and I was wondering if language affects stereotypes. Do you think language has an effect on stereotypes and generalisations?

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I did my ToK presentation on steroids and the justification of their use through the ways of knowing. One component I looked at was the impact of language and the stereotypes it can create with regards to athletes who abuse them. Terms such as 'doping', 'cheat' are quite pejorative and evoke sentiments of displeasure and distaste towards the athlete.

Language in this case does have an effect on stereotypes and generalizations. There are far worse crimes than gaining an unfair advantage in sporting competitions, albeit it unethical and can be fraudulent with the huge monetary rewards on offer. Nonetheless, we view athletes such as Lance Armstrong in contempt due to the tags placed upon him in the media, despite Lance potentially having an amiable personality and being generous, who knows? I am just conjecturing, but I hope you see the point I am attempting to illustrate.

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Of course. For example germans speak very quickly and their language seems too much organized, therefore we think they are all kind of..well..germans.

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Dialects and accents also encourage stereotypes in that people start labeling others based on the accent they have. This leads to either viewing an individual as superior or inferior.

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Yes (as a german, i speak from experience)

when people hear me speak german (or read german news or whatever), then they all automatically speak something like "KRAZZ-KNIX-SCHMETTERLING"... you get my point. and doesn't this aggressive voice/language sort of relate to a lot of german stereotypes?

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I'd say definitely yes. Supposing it's a foreign language then the stereotypes become associated with people from that country or culture. Supposing someone used vulgar language or incorrect grammar or an accent then that also affects the way which they are looked at. I know people who speak English well but as they have an accent a lot of people automatically think that they lack intelligence or don't know the language.

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Most definitely. In addition to accents leading to false assumptions and people mimicking languages different from their own (or instantly and needlessly attempting to say something they know in that language from, say, television), just speaking a foreign language, in some regions, leads people to believe the ones speaking the foreign language don't know the main language of that region.

Then there's the kind of stuff Shaq said to Yao Ming.-.

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