Reflective Essay #1: Language Attitudes: Your Language(s)

We all have opinions about the way we speak and about how other people speak. Whether we consider our language(s)/dialect(s) to be ”good” or ”bad,” prestige or stigmatized forms of speech, the fact is that we all have opinions about language which shape our views about different people. For this first assignment, you are to write a paper that describes the attitudes that you and others have about your language(s)/dialect(s).

Note: Your Language(s) (If you are multilingual speakers, you can take into account your linguistic repertoire as a whole)

Here are some questions to guide your research and to get you started writing:

First, make sure to describe the language(s)/dialect(s). Be as specific as you can and give examples if you think they can help the reader.

  1. What attitudes exist about your language(s)/dialect(s)? What are some things different people might say about your language(s)/dialect(s)? Give some examples.
  2. Would the general public describe your language(s)/dialect(s) as the prestige form (higher status)? Or the stigmatized form (lower status)? How might they describe it? Why do you think they see it this way?
  3. Is your language(s)/dialect(s) perceived in different ways in different areas or contexts? What are the differences and why do you think this is?
  4. What social factors do you think contribute to attitudes that people have towards your language(s)/dialect(s)? Racial? Socioeconomic class? Cultural? Education? Ethnic? Sexual or gender identity association? Physical/mental impairment? Anything else? Explain why any of these might contribute to people’s attitudes towards your language(s)/dialect(s).

In the conclusion of the paper, reflect on how writing this assignment has challenged you to think more deeply about:

  • how people perceive us based on how we speak
  • how these attitudes might be another way in which various forms of discrimination continue to occur.

Draft: You must upload a draft of each assignment by the due date – You must upload the draft to the site as a post and categorize the post as “Reflective Essay #1.”

Your draft is a preliminary version – Remember that during drafting, the writer puts his ideas into complete thoughts, such as sentences and paragraphs. The writer organizes his ideas in a way that allows the reader to understand his/her/their message.

Since this is your first draft, you should have questions, make sure to add two questions at the end of the draft (questions can be general, regarding the content of your essay, or specific, just regarding one example). For example: “I think that I have described my language in detail, but do you think that the examples that I have used support my argument?” / I found really hard to think about my own language(s), and langauge attitudes, do you think I am being too superficial in my analysis?”

Final version: Submit a hard copy in class on the due date.

Your paper should be no more than 2 pages, with 12pt Times New Roman Font and 1inch margins. If you are using any material that is not your own in the paper, please cite (APA or MLA style).

Failure to submit on time will result in reduction of grade. Late assignments: 5% will be deducted each day including days we do not meet that an assignment is late. Late assignments will NOT be accepted after 5 days.