1

912 Words4 Pages
The interaction between people’s social values and their language habits is bidirectional. When people’s social mores shape their linguistic customs, the latter inversely also influence the formation of their views on different social issues. Indeed, with linguistic changes that addressed social injustices including racial prejudice, sexual inequality and discrimination based on sexuality, a new generation of speakers has been imbued with the ideology of racial, gender and sexuality equality. First, with the creation of the word racism and people’s conscious taboo against racist language, the new generation since that time has been influenced by the idea of racial equality. Racial minorities in America had suffered from the discrimination in both attitude and practice centuries before the invention of the word racism in 1903 (“racism n.,” OED). Regarding this creation, Casey Miller and Kate Swift comment that only after the phenomenon of racial discrimination against racial minorities was phrased by this new word, did people start to criticize this prejudice openly (42). Indeed, the invention of the word racism identified the existing discrimination against racial minorities as an injustice and thereby motivated the new generation to examine this issue. When people started to adopt the word racism, they, however, began making conscious efforts to eliminate racist slurs in their daily language. For example, words like nigger, which had been frequently used and widely accepted by society for over four hundred years, became extremely offensive in the last century (“nigger, n.,” OED). Concerning the increasing “taboo-loading” of these racist words, Peter Trudgil explains in his description of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis that the di... ... middle of paper ... ...nts like Smith College. Through the neutralization of these words, the LGBT population not only emphasized the social acceptability of homosexuality but also celebrated this sexuality. Generally speaking, these new linguistic habits refuted the discrimination against LGBT population in language and further sought for increasing social acceptance among a new generation of speakers. In conclusion, these new linguistic habits influenced people in a way that they are imbued with different social values regarding the issues of race, gender and sexuality. These changes linguistically identified existing social illnesses and eliminated verbal discriminations based on race, gender and sexuality; moreover, these habits socially motivated a new generation of speakers to recognize the presence of social injustices and inspired them to defend equality across status categories.

More about 1

Open Document