Questions tagged [sociolinguistics]

Use this tag for questions about language in relation to social factors, including differences of regional, class, and occupational dialect, gender differences, and bilingualism.

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2answers
108 views

Are YouTube creators using “enjoy” in a new intransitive sense?

Many YouTube creators end their videos with a statement similar to If you enjoyed, please remember to click the thumbs-up button! Invariably, there is no explicit direct object for the verb "...
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1answer
113 views

Why was the word “bull” taboo in some dialects of English? What did it mean?

According to the American Heritage Dictionary in the entry for "critter", the word "bull" was once highly taboo (mainly in Ozarks). What did it mean? Why was it taboo? Does the word still hold the ...
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1answer
22 views

What does it mean by: This might take a while?

I googled that and I got to know its meaning as This task will take a long time. Why is it so? Cause while is used for short time period( what I know)... Ex: let's sit here for a while. So why is ...
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0answers
16 views

How can I start studying linguistics from the scratch?

Is there any sites or applications, where I can start studying linguistics? I don't problems at conversations, but I always wonder the way things go. I'm 18, can I start studying that by myself?.......
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1answer
27 views

Why does 'lowdown' mean 'the true facts and the relevant information'?

How can we know the meaning just through the sound of a word? How do we invent new words?....(I think on the basis of sound.)
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1answer
172 views

What do study down and study up mean?

What do "study down" and "study up" mean? They deem to be methods in sociologial or ethnographic researches: Regardless of whether you are ‘studying up’ or ‘studying down’, it is crucial to ...
2
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1answer
83 views

American English: Gliding of the long “ee” sound: [i] to [ɪi]

I have noticed that Americans have (broadly speaking) two ways of pronouncing the long "ee" vowel as in "fleece". A simple [i] that ends with the same quality it starts with: listen to user ...
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1answer
195 views

Why is 'lavender' used to reference homosexuality?

I am aware of Lavender Linguistics, which is a form of Polari and was used by gay men a lexicon 'used in the 1950s and early 1960s by gay men as a secret language which concealed their homosexuality ...
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0answers
50 views

How can I describe a conjunction that ends a sentence (so, and, or, but …)?

Recently I (American English speaker / academic / raised in Appalachian and Southern dialect household) noticed myself falling into a conversational pattern with coworkers where I would end a spoken ...
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1answer
65 views

Neglecting women in every field

Why do we say 'chairman' for men and 'chairperson' for women? Why don't we use 'chairperson' for both? It's a neutral word a single word can used for both. Also, why do we use 'man-made' ...
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1answer
584 views

Difference between Pragmatics and Sociolinguistics [closed]

I have been doing some intense research on sociolinguistics and pragmatics and am becoming more and more confused as to what the distinction between them is. If someone could describe both concepts ...
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3answers
9k views

Is “his husband” valid? [duplicate]

I was surprised to see "his husband" in the Cambridge dictionary’s entry for compliment: He complained that his husband never paid him any compliments anymore. Isn't that a mistake? ...
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1answer
245 views

Again regarding the pronunciation of “multi-”: adequateness to certain strata of society

The question how to (correctly?) pronounce the suffix multi- in English has been discussed here several times, most helpful, I find, in "Multi-" prefix pronunciation My question relates to ...
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3answers
127 views

What is the origin of the idea that the word “able” must refer to a living being?

A 2014 Daily Mail article by Simon Heffer, "The Pedant’s Revolt", contains an interesting assortment of peeves about language (mostly about the meanings of words). I was familar with some of them, but ...
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2answers
2k views

Why is it “to have sex” instead of “to sex?”

In English, there is no generally acceptable verb for someone to say the equivalent of "to sex." All our equivalents are either too vulgar ("to fuck", "to bang", "to smash") or too formal ("to ...
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1answer
44 views

What do you call the way a culture is forming their language? [closed]

suppose a culture is still starting to be develop and they are forming their "language" for communication? what do you call this process? Regards,
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1answer
333 views

-phobia (or similar) word for “fear of the poor”

Peniaphobia seems to refer at least as much to the fear or hatred of being or becoming poor oneself, as it refers to fear or hatred of people who are already poor. What would be a good word, or ...
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2answers
1k views

History of the phrase “strange fruit”

Appearances in the early 19th century, and before, tie some figurative uses of the phrase 'strange fruit' to religion and politics, and then later to US racism, particularly southern racism. For ...
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3answers
736 views

What is the opposite of reappropriation?

Reappropriation is the cultural process by which a group reclaims terms or artifacts that were previously used in a way disparaging of that group. The phrase social justice warrior appears to have ...
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2answers
1k views

WHY do so many people struggle with ‘who’ and ‘whom’?

When to use ‘who’ and when to use ‘whom’ seems to be one of the most common areas of confusion for English learners, and even possibly for native speakers. Personally, I don't find it confusing at all ...
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3answers
271 views

When did prodigies stop being evil?

I am used to thinking that it is a good thing for someone to be a prodigy. Mozart, for example. But yet, this glossary of ancient Roman religion indicates that the ancient Romans felt that ...
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1answer
65 views

Is there a word that describes the information gap due to a reader's cultural bias across place and time?

While reading texts from a different culture or a different time period I sometimes find deeper meanings elusive. I feel that this is partially related to living in a different culture and/or a ...
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3answers
1k views

Is Waltzing Matilda comprehensible outside of Australia? In Australia?

I'm American, but it seems to me that when I’ve encountered Australian speech or writing, I didn’t have much trouble understanding it. The words are mostly familiar to me. So what’s going on in the ...
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2answers
1k views

“We have nothing to lose but our aitches”

George Orwell ends his essay The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) with (emphasis mine): And then perhaps this misery of class-prejudice will fade away, and we of the sinking middle class … may sink ...
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1answer
200 views

Are Yiddishisms strongly associated with a certain group or are they general to American English?

There are quite a few words of Yiddish origin in English, for example some more common ones (at least to me): chutzpah dreck shlep shmooze shmuck shtick spiel tuckus However, is there a significant ...
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6answers
3k views

What is the appropriate word to describe society's toughest problem?

I am looking for an adjective to use in the following context: I was pondering on ways of addressing society's most ______ issues.
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1answer
2k views

Who first objected to the term “chain mail”?

Recently, I've become aware of a new (to me) peeve: some people say that chain mail/chain-mail/chainmail is incorrect in some way when talking about armor, and that the proper way to refer to it is ...
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2answers
266 views

What term describes “the degree to which peers can loan each other money”?

I want to make a distinction between two groups of people: Group A has the liquidity and borrowing power. Group B has minimal liquidity and borrowing power. The term "credit rating" ...
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2answers
3k views

Are the 'Imperatives' used without 'please' or 'kindly' considered to be rude in the west?

Are imperatives considered rude if they are used without "please" and "kindly"? For example: Go ahead OR Please, go ahead. and Give me the eggs OR Please, give me the eggs
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4answers
7k views

Difference between “Talk to me” and “Tell me”

Is there any difference between the usage of those two expressions in a conversation? Thanks in advance.
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2answers
487 views

Usage of the word terrorism

We read in newspapers and watch on TV many cases regarding students gunning down their classmates and teachers. Suppose a student brought a gun to class, pointed it at his friends and teachers, and ...
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11answers
51k views

What do you mean when you ask “How are you?”

I have been asked one simple question many times by Americans: "How are you?". I know this does not mean that the person I am talking to wants to know how I feel, but sometimes I see that they repeat ...
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4answers
32k views

Why don't you say “good work” in English?

I am an Italian student and I am writing a thesis comparing our two languages. I am aware of the fact that you don't say "good job" or "good work", in order to wish someone the best in his/her job. I'...
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2answers
423 views

Why do more sentences start with 'data' as a plural, than when it is within the sentence?

I recently put together some Google n-grams for a short piece on the transition of the word data into a singular (mass) noun: Data are Beautiful: Data's story in grammar. There was one peculiar ...
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4answers
893 views

Is any utterance in English used only by men or only by women?

In my native language, there are some interjections used only by women. For example Va (pronounced /vʌ/), is an exclamation used to express surprise only by women. If any man happens to use them, he ...
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3answers
2k views

How bad is the use of “n***er” today?

If I call a Black person "nigger", how bad is this today? If a Black calls another Black with this word, is it wrong?
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1answer
701 views

Name for native English inferiority to French/Latin/Greek

My question is whether there is a name for the phenomenon, and also if there is a body of literature including popular exposition about it, of which the paragraphs below exhibit examples. "Nativity" ...
13
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1answer
831 views

U-English of the 1950s: what was used instead of “ON holiday”?

I am reading U and non-U by Alan S.C. Ross, written in 1956. He wrote that the preposition on was non-U in the following sentence: She's on holiday This made me wonder what the correct U ...
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4answers
5k views

What does “down with homework” mean?

I was watching The Simpson series. In season 7, episode 12, Bart exposes a t-shirt on which the phrase "DOWN WITH HOMEWORK" is written. Then the entire students in the classroom start a riot all of a ...
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4answers
19k views

Difference between “social” and “societal”

What's the difference between social and societal? Are they perfectly synonymous? If not, what is the difference in nuance? The relevant definition of social reads: relating to society or its ...
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4answers
332 views

Does the word “gentleman” retain the distinction “of leisurely lifestyle” anywhere in British English?

I've been watching a great deal many British period films lately, and having done so has made me grow acutely aware to the nuance of the word gentleman. Once upon a time, a gentleman wasn't just some ...
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5answers
6k views

Does America have its Versions of U- and Non-U English?

In Britain and most of Europe, some form of U-speak exists: old-money language has certain features that distinguish it from other language. In Dutch, it doesn't really have a name, but it is still ...
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4answers
13k views

Meaning of “ ‘Western’ world” and alternative terms

The discussion on the meaning and connotations of the world 'Oriental' got me thinking along similar lines on the usage of 'Western' world or 'the West' to denote North America and Europe. I find it ...
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6answers
16k views

Why did the descriptive “Orientals” shift into a pejorative?

It seems as if a shift occurred and the descriptive "Oriental" was replaced by "Asian" as the accepted term in polite society — what caused this shift?
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4answers
10k views

Do accents still play a role in British class distinctions to the present day? How have things changed since the 1960s and Received Pronunciation?

An Englishman's way of speaking absolutely classifies him. The moment he talks he makes some other Englishman despise him. If you spoke as she does, sir, Instead of the way you do, Why, you might be ...