Language and Cultural Stereotyping
I. What is a 'stereotype' and how are stereotypes conveyed via language?
- National cultural stereotype anecdotes from Donald Connery's The
- Examples in SAE and SBE of 'historical' ethnic or
national-culture stereotyping phrases:
- Dutch treat, Dutch date, in Dutch, Dutch uncle, double-Dutch
- 'A fine Italian hand', 'French leave' (cf. filer à l'anglaise
, 'He got my Irish up', etc.) vs.
- A 'Polish shower', 'Jewish mother' jokes, Hemingway's 'dumb Swedes',
- U.S. regional language stereotyping examples
II. How regional and other stereotypes are marked in language
- Dialect: phrasing, speed, general pronunciation patterns
(cf. general difference in pace of speech between SAE and SBE)
- Lexicon: tonic/soda pop, branch/crick/creek, region-specific loan
- Syntax: "He didn't do nuthin'...", "He was a-sayin'..." "I ain't no
- Phonology: yellow/yeller/yellah, A'rab (Huck Finn),
SAE/SBE female pitch difference...
III. Attributes most often marked by language stereotyping
- Gender: 'what an adorable package!' 'oh, how lovely that is
- Personal names: Rock, Herman,
Adrian, Vivien (cf. GB), 'Pat' ...
'Dear John' letter,
go to the john, a 'john', 'John Hancock', 'John Henry' (see also Comparative
- Age: 'wee-wee', 'wheels'/car, 'gig', bread/dough/jack/moolah
- Education: 'piss' (vulgar), LBJ: 'better to have him inside pissin'
out than outside pissin' in ...'
- Region: polecat vs skunk; cornbread, grits, cornpone; 'hoagie' vs.
'hero,' 'grinder,' 'sub[marine]' or 'dago' sandwiches
- Ethnic Group: Use of recognizable/stereotypical loan words (including
Black English, Yiddish, 'Spanglish', etc.) dialects or pronunciations
IV. Examples of distinctive jargons often used to mark certain
- Drug addicts/pushers, police officers, prostitutes ('john', 'pimp',
'treat'), medical professionals, mafia members, cowboys
- Southern California "Valley Girl" language and culture, cf.
"Awesome," "mondo," "tubular" (Rhonda, Tracy & Kelli) "So ... like ...
what about ..." [see also
Cher's monologue in the movie Clueless]
- Computer "nerds" (knowledge/'identity' who
understands and can use the jargon?)
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Last Updated 09 February 2013