Our two readings for this module present two different sides of the power of language. Bosmajian presents his theory of language in his 1974 book which examines historical instances of how dictators use language against oppressed minorities. To contrast with a very historical and theory-driven piece, I also assigned excerpts about how language unites us, including the use of slang and new pandemic language. I have assigned these together in order to emphasize the fluid nature of language as a form of communication and how language can shape us, shape communities, shape cultures, and also, in turn, be shaped by us for our needs. In this free write, consider the following questions.
In a minimum of 2-3 sentences, give your thoughts, observations, and reactions to the module readings. Remember, it is always fine to disagree with or offer a different perspective on course materials. Then, consider how language affects your life. Have you ever struggled with language or word choice? Have you ever stopped or started using certain terminology for any reason? How do your language and word choices reflect who you are as a person (or do they)? Are you a part of a subculture or subgroup that uses specific language or jargon? Likewise, have you ever been stereotyped or experienced the negative side of language use? You do not have to respond to every question I just asked in detail. This response can be taken in many directions just as long as you respond to these general concepts and ideas. This also does not have to be an incredibly serious response. So, remember the pandemic example merely discusses words that might seem “silly” like covidiot. 5-7 sentences minimum.
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