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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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Do men use "Well" to start a sentence more often than women?

Do men use "Well" more than women to start a sentence? Is there research out there?
llola's user avatar
  • 35
1 vote
1 answer
369 views

Why did "pigeon" replace the native word "culver"?

Pigeon is a borrowing from Anglo-Norman where the etymons are French pigon, pigeon. The earliest citation is found in Middle English, from 1375 per OED: 1375 Thomas Blont..hath indowed Dame Isabell.....
ermanen's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
427 views

What are the characteristics of masculine and feminine speech in English? [closed]

I imagine that people will instinctively say, "There is no masculine or feminine speech in English," but I am not so sure. For instance, the stereotype is that men speak roughly and women ...
Micheal Gignac's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
490 views

Are the words Bank (money) and Bank (river) related? [closed]

In one of our class discussions about the origins of the word Bank (Money), a guy guessed that maybe it comes from the Bank (the land alongside a river) since the sand gets deposited there, as an ...
Sai Deepak's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
255 views

"Look, lady", "Listen, lady" – lady as a pejorative

This question is inspired by the wonderfully-named subreddit r/IDontWorkHereLady. When a proficient English speaker addresses someone as "lady" (as opposed to "ma'am"), it seems to ...
Jo Liss's user avatar
  • 151
4 votes
1 answer
168 views

Is the expression "to hire help" a euphemism for "to employ servants"?

When reading about the differences in the language used by upper-class speakers and middle-class speakers in the 1940s in the US in Philadelphia Gentlemen: The Making of a National Upper Class, I ...
Elisa's user avatar
  • 41
2 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why have some younger & (in particular) highly-educated Americans recently begun to pronounce -t- as -d- in words where glottal -t- is idiomatic?

I'm not talking about "bidder" for "bitter" or "sidding" for "sitting," or "ladder" for "latter," etc. I'm talking about "Manhaddan,&...
Josh's user avatar
  • 37
2 votes
1 answer
44 views

Why is the intransitive form of "obtain" so common in academic writing and so uncommon elsewhere?

There's a low-frequency use of "obtain" that's intransitive, and means something like "occur" or "hold true." Merriam Webster says: intransitive verb 1: to be generally ...
A_S00's user avatar
  • 342
0 votes
6 answers
1k views

"Evil always wins because it stops at nothing": A phrase or expression to reflect that sentiment

This springs from the many comments which over the years I have heard from adolescent students that appear to reflect the views of their supposedly upright and moralist parents—people who in spite ...
Cascabel_StandWithUkraine_'s user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
35 views

What do you call it when people say 'like' a lot? [duplicate]

So like, I like, have like, a like, question, like, you know! Like, is there a, like, term, for, like, when someone, like, talks, like, like this, you know? PS: I'm also curious to know what other ...
Ben's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
189 views

Olden version of "psychopath"

Apparently, the term "psychopath" was coined in 1888, and at that point, it might not have even been used by the laypeople. So, I*m wondering about a word used for people that display ...
A. Kvåle's user avatar
  • 2,147
1 vote
4 answers
241 views

Extremism: what’s the cultural history of this word?

“Extremism” sounds like an ideology, by analogy with Marxism for example. Or it could be akin to a behavioural state like mutism or autism. With respect to these different directions, I’m wondering ...
ChrisDWard's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
153 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 "...
Spencer's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
293 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 ...
Tiago Kondageski's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
5k 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 ...
Harshit's user avatar
  • 127
1 vote
1 answer
532 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.)
Harshit's user avatar
  • 127
0 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
Arat's user avatar
  • 5
3 votes
1 answer
510 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 ...
Yordan Grigorov's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
marcellothearcane's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
69 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 ...
TaliesinMerlin's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
74 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' ...
Hammad Hassan khan's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
651 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 ...
Cesco's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
13k 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? ...
Y.T.'s user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
437 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 ...
Christian Geiselmann's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
227 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 ...
herisson's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
5k 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 ...
user283392's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
47 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,
arvil's user avatar
  • 101
1 vote
1 answer
528 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 ...
user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
JEL's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
821 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 ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 2,273
6 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
English Student's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
404 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 ...
CodeMed's user avatar
  • 161
2 votes
1 answer
76 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 ...
Michael878's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
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 ...
Chaim's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 2,273
1 vote
1 answer
220 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 ...
errantlinguist's user avatar
1 vote
6 answers
4k 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.
Abdullah Lizu's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
5k 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 ...
herisson's user avatar
  • 83.5k
1 vote
2 answers
277 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" ...
makerofthings7's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
5k 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
Shrikrishna's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
11k 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.
glw7v8's user avatar
  • 11
-1 votes
2 answers
503 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 ...
AeJey's user avatar
  • 827
12 votes
11 answers
55k 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 ...
Dmytro's user avatar
  • 221
5 votes
4 answers
40k 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'...
Ale's user avatar
  • 51
1 vote
2 answers
469 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 ...
philshem's user avatar
  • 537
5 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
B Faley's user avatar
  • 4,233
3 votes
3 answers
4k 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?
Rodrigo's user avatar
  • 321
4 votes
1 answer
779 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" ...
Michael Hardy's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
899 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 ...
Cerberus - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
6k 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 ...
hkBattousai's user avatar