Linguistics Chapter 8 Instructors Manual This Covers The Concept The Linguistic Marketplace The

Document Type
Homework Help
Book Title
English with an Accent: Language-- Ideology and Discrimination in the United States 2nd Edition
Rosina Lippi-Green
Chapter 8
Instructors Manual
This chapter covers:
The concept of the linguistic marketplace
The role of media representatives as linguistic authorities
Spin, propaganda, and framing in the media
How Sarah Palin‟s language was framed by the media
How Barack Obama‟s language was framed by the media
Sample answers to the questions from the text and the website
From the textbook
1. This chapter opened with a quote from Mark Crispin Miller who is associated with The
Project on Media Ownership at Johns Hopkins University. Use the internet to learn about the
project, its goals and approaches, and consider Miller‟s comment in that context before
discussing it. In your first reaction, did you feel Miller‟s position was polemic and exaggerated,
or did you accept the concepts more easily? What factors in your own life and experience inform
your reactions to such statements?
2. Consider this statement made by a National Public Radio representative. Note the use of
passive constructions and ambiguous they believe claims. What does the speaker mean
specifically by the words clearest and crisp? What is the unstated opposite?
NPR is considered by many to be the standard bearer for Standard American English.
Listeners from around the country and around the world say that they find NPR English
is the clearest and most comprehensible broadcast English available. They can hear that
crisp American English on NPR member stations, on their Web sites, on line at
or on the listeners shortwave receivers. (Dvorkin 2005)
3. The following excerpt from The Providence Journal Bulletin is presented as news. How does it
incorporate stages in the underlying language subordination process?
No matter how qualified a person is, a voice twisted by regional or ethnic influences can
be a stumbling block socially and professionally. If others can't understand you or your
words are too richly flavored with down-home spice, you could find all your skill and
intelligence thwarted by a telltale tongue. (Voice of success silences dialect,” The
Providence Journal Bulletin April 1994)
4. What is the role of the news media in todays society? What rights and responsibilities do the
media have? How have those things changed over the last fifty years? Consider this newspaper
excerpt from a short report on the front page of The Evening Record (Ellensburg, Washington)
of November 22, 1937, in your reply:
President Roosevelt refused today to concede he used bad grammar. Shown an open
letter by Professor Janet R. Aiken of Columbia University questioning his grammar in
recent speeches, the president smilingly blamed newsmen who reported his
extemporaneous remarks. In her letter, Dr. Aiken wanted to know: “Did you learn
how to [talk] that way at Groton or Harvard or where?”
5. What does manufactured authority or manufacturing authority mean? What would be its
6. Consider the following quotes from newspaper reports on accent reduction or elimination
classes. What kind of imagery is used? Are logical fallacies evident?
January 1989
Speak English, Troops
Speech pathologists trained to combat foreign accents are doing big business in multi-
ethnic California. ...
The influx of Asian and Hispanic immigrants has created strong demand for English-
language training and accent-modification courses. Many foreign born professionals
believe that their accents impede their careers, and they are prepared to pay hundreds of
dollars to free their English from traces of their homelands. ... A person with a heavy
accent may start his or her career in a technical job where few speaking skills are
required, but advancement usually brings a greater emphasis on communication. An
employee who is difficult to understand may be shrugged off as stupid or simply passed
over in favor of someone who speaks clear English.
7. Read John McWhorter's editorial response to the public controversy around Senator Reid's
no Negro dialect comment (McWhorter January 9, 2010) at
mcwhorter/reids-three-little-words-the-log-our-own-eye). McWhorter is a sociolinguist and an
African American. Does anything surprise you about his position? In what points might you
8. How has the meaning of the word spin changed over the last twenty years? What do you
understand it to be? Why do people choose to say Thats just spin, rather than explain the
beliefs that cause them to reject the message?
9. Imagine you walk into a meeting room and somebody comes up to you, looks you up and
down, and smiling broadly says, Congratulations! You buttoned your shirt correctly! How is
this like (or not like) African-American objections to being called articulate?
10. Consider this idea from Tim Wise‟s Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White
Denial in the Age of Obama (2009) Wise proposes that racism has evolved to look like
“enlightened exceptionalism … that allows for and even celebrates the achievements of
individual persons of color … because they are seen as different from a less appealing, even
pathological Black or brown rule” (p. 9). Beyond the use of the word articulate in describing
President Obama, is there other evidence of this kind of enlightened exceptionalism in the
media‟s commentary on Obama‟s language, or more generally?
From the website
1. Listen to the sample of Sarah Palin‟s Alaskan dialect. Chapter 8 describes how both Sarah
Palin and her detractors use her dialect as a tool to frame her in different ways. What do you
think about her dialect? Which frame does her dialect reinforce for you?
2. Listen to the samples of African American English and English with an Asian L2 accent found
in the International Dialects of English Archive. These language varieties are mentioned in the
discussion of mocking on page 137. Have you ever heard anybody mock AAVE or Asian accents?
What was the context? What did this mocking reveal about the mocker‟s language ideology?
Palin / Hillary Open”
Saturday Night Live
1. How does Tina Fey‟s parody of Sarah Palin frame Palin? How does Fey‟s imitation of Palin‟s
language use reinforce this frame?
Is Calling Obama „articulate‟ bad?”
1. What do you think about Obama being called „articulate‟ on the campaign trail after watching
this clip and reading Chapter 8?
Suggested activities and discussion questions
1. Have your students interview a handful of participants and ask these participants to describe
their opinion of Sarah Palin‟s accent. Does the accent have positive or negative associations for
these participants? Is there any connection between a participant‟s political orientation and his or
her reaction to Palin‟s accent?
2. Have your students ask ten people how they would describe President Obama and bring their
results in to share with the class. Ask them to discuss their findings in light of the material in
Chapter 8. Is there anything that can be concluded about language ideology based on the results?
Do the students see any signs of enlightened exceptionalism in the responses they received?
3. Ask the students to reflect on the role of language variation in the 2008 presidential election
and to speculate how things could have been different. How do they think the election (and the
media coverage of the election) may have been different if Barack Obama had spoken more
AAVE during the campaign? What if Sarah Palin had sounded like she was from Ohio or
California? What do their speculations reveal about their perceptions of language ideologies in
4. If there is an election happening while your course is in session, ask your students to follow

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