Essay on My Own Use Of Language, With Good Reason, It Is An Unconscious Process

Essay on My Own Use Of Language, With Good Reason, It Is An Unconscious Process

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I’ve never taken an analytical eye to my own use of language, with good reason; by nature, it is an unconscious process. For most of my life I never realized that my voice marks me as being from Southern California. “SoCal” English can represent different aspects of culture depending on one’s perspective. Associations may be made to extreme sports, drug use, materialism, and celebrities, just to name a few. While all of the above may be accurate in a sense, I embody almost none of those things, which was why for the longest time I never thought I had an accent of any kind. It’s wasn’t until people both in and out of state told me I sounded Californian on several occasions that I accepted my voice. Now being told I have an accent gives me a sense of pride.
There’s no such thing, however, as “California English”, in the sense of one, unified dialect that spans the whole state. The SoCal dialect is stereotypically represented in the media by a lack of the enunciation of consonants, “surfer” vernacular, putting a definite article in front of freeway numbers, and more. I use all of these characteristics to a certain extent. I’ve been told to “hit my double t’s” by my theatre instructors, and that my language is littered with the words “like”, “dude”, “bro”, and so on. North and South speak very differently, and even cities are distinct from each other. My hometown of Carlsbad has a culture and vernacular all of its own. Our city’s motto is “Life’s Rad in Carlsbad”, highlights surfing and skating as the dominating culture. Much of the unique slang I had heard coming from the “skate rats” at my high school. One such example was the rapid evolution of the word “bro”, to “brah”, to “brop”, and finally to “broppy”. How this be...

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... often not used because of the notion that they are not “grammatically correct”, something which I have been told many times. Even some professors argue that “students are entitled to their own identity, but not to their own grammar” and that “serving up comfort on marshmallow fluff is a disservice to students who will have to enter a world likely to be less accommodating than a college campus”. (Bukiet, 2015). Because of these types of attitudes that equate “accommodating” with “coddling”, I find it hard to correct people who misgender me. However, feeling disenfranchised has motivated and continues to motivate me to want to hear the voices of other groups of marginalized people regarding race relations, queer politics, feminism, patriarchy, and capitalism. I have found that overall; my conscious use of language has been shaped by listening rather than speaking.

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