Linguistic Politics and Social Power Hierarchies Research Paper by Nicky

A discussion about language and how it functions socially.
# 150896 | 5,180 words | 20 sources | APA | 2012 | US
Published on Apr 30, 2012 in Anthropology (Cultural) , Linguistics (General) , Sociology (Multiculturalism)

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This paper discusses and evaluates power as a function of linguistic characteristics within a culture. Additionally, it explores the political, economic and social realities that share a close relationship with linguistic traditions. According to the paper, the research is primarily geared toward the argument that linguistically-based power-structures can have the impact of manipulating cultural realities and possible subverting one culture in favor of another. First it examines some of the semantics that shape the use of language in practical terms. Then, it considers the role which linguistic power structures have played in imposing cultural dominance from one party to another. Finally, it shows how linguistic dominance can be used as a powerful instrument in subverting, and even exterminating a less powerful or stable linguistic tradition. Various examples are given to support this thesis. The paper concludes by stating that linguistic power-hierarchies are generally the outcome of ethnicity and nationality-based class systems, which can serve as a sometimes subtle but nonetheless devastating modes to creating cultural in-groups, social outsiders and impenetrable class divisions.

From the Paper:

"The nature of such an occurrence in language illustrates much about the manner in which "language is often deeply concerned with a variety of social relations." (Palmer, 40) In order to understand a statement such as any of these, one must understand the implications underlying its utterance. Palmer's text refers to this as implicature, arguing that the socially understood and accepted use of language for the purposes of communicating both information and sentiment simultaneously through such a device as irony or sarcasm renders what is produced as a common and identifiable part of speech.
Taken together, the instances of semantic deconstruction considered here are indicative of the culturally derived peculiarities of the spoken language. In many ways, what is addressed in this discussion constitutes an exploration of the manner in which meanings and expressions are manipulated as a reinforcement of cultural norms. Factors such as context, the nature of the relationship between the conversant partners and general social conventions within a culture will play a determinant role in the way that individuals choose the information they disclose, the manner in which they disclose it and the manner in which they interpret it. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Chouliaraki, L. (2000). Political discourse in the news: democratizing responsibility or aestheticizing politics?." Discourse & Society, 11(3), 293. Online at < 434408&site=ehost-live>.
  • Christie, P. (2001). Due Respect: Essays on English and English-related Creoles in the Caribbean. University of West Indies Press.
  • Coulmas, F. (2005). Sociolinguistics: The Study of Speakers Choices. CUP.
  • Crystal, D. (2003). English as a Global Language. Canto.
  • Davies, A. (1996). 'Ironising the myth of linguicism.' Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 17(6).

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

Linguistic Politics and Social Power Hierarchies (2012, April 30) Retrieved October 07, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Linguistic Politics and Social Power Hierarchies" 30 April 2012. Web. 07 October. 2022. <>