The second half of the eighteenth-century is particularly interesting for the study of medicine, and medical practice. The professional role of physicians, their social function, and their moral duties necessarily became a key issue for the period under scrutiny, and for decades to come. Medical ethics and moral practices, as well as philanthropic attitudes, constituted a relevant topic in medical writing: John Gregory (1724–73; Edinburgh University) and Thomas Percival (1740–1804; Manchester Infirmary) were the pioneers of medical ethics ‘in the making’. The aim of this study is to investigate the lexis of medical ethics and moral practices and its impact at textual and discourse levels. In other words, how the lexicalisation of values and principles shapes and frames the discourse on medical ethics, and on the social identity of target people-patients of all ages (old, young, middle-aged), as well as potentially age-related discriminatory practices between the 1770s and 1800s.
This study investigates how ageism is displayed among Japanese women in their mid-twenties when they talk about their experiences with COVID-19. Ageism, which is discrimination, stereotypes and prejudice based on people’s age, was reinforced by the outbreak of the disease. This study gathered data through virtual conversations recorded during the second wave of COVID-19 cases that hit Japan in August 2020. The conversation is examined using discourse analysis, focusing on how the participants position themselves and others through the narration of their personal experience. The analysis shows how participants co-construct the image of elderly people as others who are vulnerable to the virus but ignorant of their own risks. This image is created as the participants establish rapport-oriented interactions with friends that they align with as young and healthy citizens who are responsible for preventing the spread of the virus.
This essay investigates the representation of children’s mental health in the UK press in the period immediately prior to the onset of and during the first 16 months of the Covid-19 pandemic, up to June 2021, during which, after the first wave of infections, a hard lockdown and a partial reopening, a resurgence of the virus after the summer months required the reintroduction of distancing measures, amid growing concerns for children and their mental health as a result of prolonged isolation. Based on a collection of articles from the British quality and tabloid press, the study takes a corpus-driven approach combined with discourse analysis, and identifies salient lexical features which not only provide an outline of the dominant concerns in children’s mental health discourse, but also of the way it was framed across the period considered. Prior to the pandemic, the ‘crisis’ frame dominated. The discourse of children’s mental health was characterised by alarm, urgency and a call for immediate action. In the first part of the pandemic, the crisis frame was hijacked by the pandemic itself. The dominant frame for the topic of children’s mental health was that of risk, which projected the concerns into an uncertain future. In the last period considered, the ‘risk’ frame was replaced by an ‘impact’ frame, which was characterised by greater control and less uncertainty. The findings suggest that, while the salience of children’s mental health in the press continued to be high, the frame shifts blunted the agenda-setting momentum which characterised the pre-pandemic period.
The strategic contingency plans on all levels in Norway include references to possible needs for translating and adapting information flow into other languages. However, the situation at the grassroot level shows that these measures have not been considered an essential service. Valuable time passed during the first wave of COVID-19 until different public actors figured out their responsibilities and before the information was translated, adapted, and given, via appropriate media, to the beneficiaries. This article analyses actors and actions in eight online articles published by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, NRK, focusing on crisis communication, and linguistic diversity in Norway during the initial period of the COVID-19 pandemic (March–June 2020). The analysis shows that the pandemic becomes a magnifying glass on the society uncovering social challenges like lack of trust in the authorities, stigmatization, and social inequality.
Mr Nike Oruh is a therapeutic lead for a young people's charity in Edinburgh. His role focuses on aiming to increase young people's knowledge and awareness of emotional, sexual and physical health issues, enabling them to make informed choices about the way they live and relate to others. He is also a musician, performing under the name Profisee, as well as an active blogger. I met Nike at a public-facing event entitled 'Critical Discourse and Resistance: How Language Promotes Inequality', which was organised by the University of Edinburgh. During this event, Nike spoke about the important role that language plays in his work with young people. After the event, I caught up with Nike to ask him some more questions about his experiences.
Homing in on HATE: Critical Discourse Studies of Hate Speech, Discrimination and Inequality in the Digital Age Edited by G. Balirano and B. Hughes (2020) Napoli, Italy: Paolo Loffredo Editore srl, 267 pp.
This article undertakes a cognitive stylistic investigation of the trial of Egyptian writer Ahmed Naji, who was prosecuted - and subsequently imprisoned - for 'disturbing public morals' by depicting sexual content in his novel Istikhdam al-Hayat [Using Life] (2014). The article presents a schematic model of the narrative roles, across narrative levels and text-world ontologies, mind-modelled by readers in literary experiences. This model forms the foundation of the analysis which is consequently able to map the interrelationships between the roles on enunciation and reception and to account for the complex array of ethical positions - relative to each narrative role - taken up by readers. The article offers a nuanced account of the ethics of reading which, by pioneering the application of stylistics to explore an Arabic cultural context, can also capture cultural difference. Ultimately, through situated analysis, this article uncovers the ideological forces involved in Ahmed Naji's trial and the disciminatory practices therein.
Previous research has shown that we evaluate social categories differently based on the two fundamental dimensions of competence and warmth. Findings indicate that doctors, men and standard accents are perceived as more competent, while nurses, women and regional accents are perceived as warmer. In a short experiment manipulating gender (man; woman), occupation (doctor; nurse) and accent (Standard British English; regional accent), participants rated the targets on perceived competence, warmth and status. The main results showed that doctors were rated as more competent providing they spoke using Standard British English, and warmer, as long as they spoke with a regional accent. This poses a potential problem, as doctors need to be perceived as competent in their diagnoses and treatment decisions, but also warm in their communication of important and sensitive information. The implications of these findings are discussed in order to highlight the importance of using multiple social categories to represent the complexity of everyday interactions.
This paper uses the matched-guise technique to analyse the impact of accent perception in the context of suspect interrogation. Three native speakers of British English and one of Norwegian recorded a suspect’s statement in a version as close as possible to standard English as well as in their strongest accented pronunciation of English. These recordings were rated by native speakers of English (NSs) and German learners of English (non-native speakers, NNSs) regarding competence, social attractiveness, credibility/guilt and standardness. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of these ratings shows evidence for accented speakers being rated less competent, but more socially attractive and more likely to be guilty than their standard counterparts. Moreover, NNSs’ ratings were significantly higher for competence and guilt in the standard guises, as well as social attractiveness and guilt in the accent guises, while NSs twice as often reported pronunciation/accent having influenced their ratings. This study also found that specific regional stereotypes were less important compared to the perceived degree of standardness.
Research into urban housing, employment, education and public perception has found evidence of accent discrimination. However, the role of language and discrimination has been under-researched in the legal realm. Cases such as US Hyppolite v. State (2002) reveal how damaging accent discrimination can be. In order to research this further, mock trials were put together and run in the United Kingdom, collecting ‘verdicts’ from individual online participants. Using a matched-guise method, the defendant testified in Standard Southern British English and Yorkshire English. Unlike previous research conducted, this was designed to look like a psychological study into jury decision-making so that participants were not primed for the linguistic components. While language attitudes were present in the results, there was no evidence of accent discrimination when it came to giving a verdict or even levels of recommended punishment, with no significant differences between accent conditions. The conclusion suggests that accent may not always be discriminated against directly; rather, it may be the vehicle used to discriminate against protected traits (e.g. ethnicity, gender, religion, etc.).
The current study looked at the impact of British regional accents on evaluations of eyewitness testimony in criminal trials. Ninety participants were randomly presented with one of three video recordings of eyewitness testimony manipulated to be representative of Received Pronunciation (RP), Multicultural London English (MLE) or Birmingham accents. The impact of the accent was measured through eyewitness (a) accuracy, (b) credibility, (c) deception, (d) prestige, and (e) trial outcome (defendant guilt and sentence). RP was rated more favourably than MLE on accuracy, credibility and prestige. Accuracy and prestige were significant with RP rated more highly than a Birmingham accent. RP appears to be viewed more favourably than the MLE and Birmingham accents although the witness’s accents did not affect ratings of defendant guilt. Taken together, these findings show a preference for eyewitnesses to have RP speech over some regional accents.
Social media interactions represent an accessible way for young people to get health information and provide a form of public discourse about health. It is against this backdrop that experts and other health professionals have turned to digital platforms (e.g., TikTok) to share educational content about timely or touchy topics, and to spread awareness, specifically among younger users. This paper aims to explore these digital platforms where professionals provide health information that is specifically tailored for a young audience and attempts to explore the discursive negotiation of healthcare and health accessibility in digital social settings. In light of a social media critical discourse perspective, this study explores the creative shifts in the process of accommodating a product to a target audience and questions what meanings, in terms of accessibility and/or discrimination, these products carry for their audience.
This article discusses the relationship between official language planning and policies concerning language usage that are increasingly emerging in anti-discriminatory contexts. It is suggested that the social function of lexical meaning needs to be given more attention, i.e. the meaning that arises from a person’s choice of words, especially in public discourse and debate. For this reason, it is further suggested that public debates be analysed with metapragmatic concepts providing useful links between lexical indexes to (ideological) loyalties and social identity or attribution of social identity. The notion of a diverse meaning allocation is contextualised in the principles governing official language planning agencies in Sweden. It is concluded that the prevalence of, for example, plain language principles in official language planning may be balanced with a more complex policy, taking a larger span of potential lexical significance into consideration.
This multidisciplinary work mainly uses a discourse analytical approach (Fairclough 1995; Sarangi 2010a, 2010b) and fine tools (i.e., corpora and text analysis software, Baker 2010) in order to identify the possible presence of ageism (Butler 1969) from responses provided by psychologists who completed the Fraboni Scale of Ageism (Fraboni et al. 1990) used in the Italian validation (Donizzetti 2010) and further adapted to achieve the objective of this study. In fact, for each item (Tot=19) distributed along this 3-dimensional model (separation and avoidance; stereotypes and antilocution; affective attitudes and discrimination), 177 respondents were asked to express their (dis)agreement, not with numbers, as in the traditional scale, but with a text (D’Amico et al. 2020). With reference to the above-mentioned dimensions, some results unveiled the psychologists’ recurring belief system as follows: 38% of respondents believed that old people complain much more than other people, thus confirming their idea of a separate group from theirs; 35.7% thought that the elderly should be entrusted with the care of infants only when supervised, thus fitting the stereotype of the fixed age-identity category; and 80.6 % declared that they were unwilling to reciprocate if an old person initiated a conversation for external and/or context/personality-dependent reasons, thus justifying their discriminatory attitudes. Limited but not negligible results demonstrate a need for mental health education and training to be monitored in order to better understand the professionals’ belief system that emerges from their discourse on old age, because the reiteration of the same belief system, if cemented in social memory, has the strong effect of conferring an aura of objectivity to prevailing attitudes towards old(er) adults, and of inevitably affecting standard professional inter/actions with them.
This article studies aspects of the multi-layered role of language in establishing and maintaining a social order based on gender. Gendered person appellations are traditionally seen as person reference, an interpretation loaded with essentialist views of gender that hardly comply with current gender theories. By taking a close look at the Croatian context, this article analyses the indexical meaning and active role of language use in normalising dominant gender norms. Slavic languages have played a minor role in international discussions on gender and language. However, they convincingly allow us to show how indexical functions of language use are integrated in and contribute to gendered perceptions of people in general. For this, an interdisciplinary approach is taken that alludes to both the production and the perception of this specific dimension of social deixis by (1) evaluating the linguistic norm of person appellation as found in a leading conservative newspaper, and (2) testing the perception of these normalised appellation forms against alternative person-naming practices in an online-based questionnaire. As highlighted in this article, the making of linguistically manifest gender boundaries is clearly observable in research on a language possessing rigid grammatical rules of gender marking in person appellation, such as Croatian.
The present study takes a diachronic corpus-assisted discourse studies approach (Partington et al. 2013) to examine the representation of mentally-ill elderly patients in medical research articles, in the fields of psychology and psychiatry, published between 1950 and 2019. Despite evidence of the expanding scope of mental health research in more recent years, nihilistic views about mental health assessment and intervention underpin the discourse around mentally-ill older adults across the time span under consideration. In the literature, ageing is variously constructed as a process leading to deprivation, resignation and physical decay, increasing the chances of the onset of mental illnesses. The perpetuation of these discourses, which confirm and propagate discriminatory age-bias positioning on the part of medical researchers, specialists and the health community at large, may constitute a significant obstacle to an improvement in the quality of mental and physical health care provided for the older population, both currently, and without substantial intervention, for the foreseeable future. Overall, it is hoped that this article has not only made a valuable contribution to the understanding of ageing from a historical discourse analysis perspective, but may be of interest to mental health scholars and professionals alike inspiring them to question their knowledge and practices about and for older patients.
Performances in the media (Bell and Gibson 2011; Bucholtz and Lopez 2011) are rich multimodal resources, which enable the analyst to look into the social practice of language ideologies and highlight discursive strategies that contribute to unequal power relations in society. This article examines the overt and covert racialisation of Maghrebi-French female voices in French films. After analysing the discursive patterns associated with migrant women of first and second generations (mothers and daughters), it brings to the forefront the processes by which their voices are marked, arguing that they perpetuate discriminatory discourses of gender and race. It finally considers the dynamics between the erasure/racialisation of ethnic voices in films and politics of recognition in society (Fraser 2001).
The aim of this article is to unveil how cisnormativity is institutionalised in a Brazilian gender clinic, creating an emotionally charged local regime of doctor/ patient interactions. Our interest is not only in illustrating how the clinic’s institutionalised normatitivies about transbodies are the result of the crystallisation of particular transnational medical discourses, but also in showing how such a normative framework creates specific conditions for trans people’s acts of resistance. In order to capture this dual perspective on norms and resistance to them, we draw upon three important but somewhat neglected perspectives in sociolinguistic and discourse analytical research, which may bring some fresh insights to the study of language and discrimination more broadly: Hannah Arendt’s (1994) reflections on the ‘banality of evil’; Michel de Certeau’s (1984) ideas about the no less banal ways in which social actors speak back to power via a plethora of ‘tactics of resistance’; and transfeminism’s critique of language and the banalisation of hegemonic systems of oppression.
In this article we make a distinction between the prejudice and discrimination towards (a) different languages and their speakers and (b) different non-standard varieties of the same language and their speakers, and argue that while the discrimination and prejudice towards (a) have been denounced by international institutions and both national and international laws are in place to guarantee the rights of speakers of different languages, the same protection has not been afforded to speakers of non-standard varieties of a language. We examine a specific case of this type of linguistic prejudice in Brazil. We discuss the effectiveness of efforts of linguists to combat linguistic prejudice based on the principle of error correction (Labov 1982) and, drawing on work by Cameron (2012) and Bourdieu (1986), suggest that linguistic prejudice cannot be disentangled from other types of prejudice and that linguists need to have a much deeper understanding of and engagement with the values attached to linguistic forms. We conclude with a number of suggestions and recommendations in order to effectively combat linguistic prejudice.
Perceptions of non-native speech are often guided by listeners’ expectations of a speaker. These expectations are informed by pre-existing beliefs about how particular types of people sound. Perceived ethnicity can affect how listeners evaluate speech (Rubin 1992; D’Onofrio 2019); however, most of this work has been situated in Western contexts. The current study details an experiment that tests for the linguistic profiling (Baugh 2005) of the Uyghur population of China, a group that has been systematically oppressed for their ethnicity and religion. Using name-based ethnicity priming, participants thought they were hearing either a Korean, Uyghur or non-descript speaker of L2 Mandarin. Results showed that participants rated the speaker as significantly more confident, intelligent and hard-working in the Uyghur condition. However, participants were significantly less likely to hire the supposedly ‘Uyghur’ speaker. We propose that these results are evidence of shifting standards (Biernat 2012), whereby listener expectations are lowered by social stereotypes, leading to inflated subjective ratings of minority groups, without leading to positive outcomes.
Je n’ai plus osé ouvrir la bouche … Témoignages de glottophobie vécue et moyens de se defendre [I did not dare to open my mouth any more … Testimonies of experiences of glottophobia and means to defend oneself] Byy P. Blanchet and S. Clerc Conan (2018) Limoges: Lambert-Lucas, 128pp.
In this article, I present two moments of interaction emerging from a focus group between young people who are members of a community of practice: a support group for transgender youth and their parents. Using discourse analysis, I demonstrate how the young people work collaboratively to construct a mutual identity, which foregrounds their shared experience of transgender issues and minimises differences between them. I argue that they do this to actively challenge and resist the discrimination they experience due to transphobia and ignorance, which includes attempts to ‘other’ them. I show how the young people ascribe themselves agency by subverting the heteronormative ideologies which inform this othering, thus constructing an active, resistant and validated mutual identity rather than a victimised, submissive or othered one. This identity work tells us much about the hugely important role played by support groups in helping young people to construct a positive persona in the face of transphobic discrimination.
In April 2015, a meeting of a Hong Kong Legislative Council Panel discussed the potential for using Putonghua, as opposed to Cantonese, to teach the ‘Chinese Language Subject’ within the Hong Kong curriculum. Their primary reason for making this suggestion was based on the idea that Putonghua and the Han Chinese ethnicity are somehow inherently linked – if you are Han Chinese, you should be able to speak Putonghua. This paper discusses the validity of this assertion and examines language-in-education policy related to Putonghua in Hong Kong from the late-colonial period and the contemporary period to establish whether Putonghua is used by the Hong Kong Legislative Council to encourage Hong Kong pupils to identify with a pan-Chinese ethnicity and by dint, a pan-Chinese language, Putonghua.
The current paper aims to address how one English-medium school functions from the different perspectives within the school: the principal, student/teacher classroom interaction and the students. This approach allows us to see the power differential of the different stakeholders in a school and how iconisation, fractal recursivity, and erasure affect teenagers in Dublin. This paper presents interview data with a principal and the students in a secondary school. Taking a qualitative approach to these data, I show that standard language ideology is linked with economic disadvantage. The school principal’s approach to identifying, problematising and seeking to eliminate certain types of nonstandard language in the school reflects a standard language ideology and is consistent with a raciolinguistic approach to linguistic discrimination. The data suggest that the students themselves take a more nuanced approach.
Grammatical gender in German has traditionally been described as a rather arbitrary system (Helbig and Buscha 1988). This is not the case in regard to terms of person reference, where natural gender assignment is the norm: Masculine and feminine grammatical gender largely correlate with the extralinguistic assignment of male and female gender. Neuter gender predominantly denotes inanimate entities (Köpcke and Zubin 1996, 2009). The use of neutral gender in reference to women nevertheless has a long history in German, usually with pejorative connotations (Köpcke and Zubin 1996, 2009). Historically, this can be illustrated in relation to nouns, pronouns and articles: 1 By neuter nouns denoting ‘socially incomplete’ women, e.g. das Weib ‘woman (archaic), hag, n.’, das Luder ‘hussy, n.’ and in the increased use of neuter eliciting diminutives in reference to female individuals, e.g. das Mädchen ‘girl, n.’, das Fräulein ‘miss, n.’ (Nübling 2017). 2 Through the use of neuter pronouns and neuter articles in combination with female names in a number of German dialects, e.g. das Emma, es ‘the (n.) Emma, it’ (Busley and Fritzinger 2018). In contemporary standard German, the use of neuter articles and pronouns instead of feminine ones seems to be used as a discursive tool to denigrate and dehumanise women whose gender performance does not conform with hegemonic concepts of femininity. This paper focuses on the intentional manipulation of grammatical gender in reference to women as a tool of degradation and dehumanisation and outlines the historical development of neuter forms of reference in contexts where feminine would be expected.
Feminist and postcolonial scholars have long contended that dictionaries, far from being objective linguistic records, are ideologically loaded texts that overtly or covertly encode sexist and ethnocentric attitudes (e.g. Rose 1979; Benson 2001). Queer linguists have also begun to explore how dictionaries reproduce heteronormativity and cisnormativity (Nossem 2018; Turton 2020), though much of this scholarship has so far limited itself to the construction of identity. This paper instead contributes to the recent queer turn towards embodiment by exploring representations of sexual acts in online general English dictionaries. It encourages greater engagement between queer lexicography and other strands of dictionary criticism by placing Rubin’s (1984) concept of the ‘charmed circle’ of sex in dialogue with Benson’s (2001) postcolonial model of the centre/periphery in lexicography. The paper argues that heteronormativity, cisnormativity and phallocentrism continue to shape contemporary definitions of sex and sexual intercourse by sidelining or silencing queer erotic acts and bodies.
This article sets out the initial terrain for a critical stylistics of disability exposing the linguistic structures that encode often harmful ideologies surrounding disabled people. Disabled people are represented in literature and the media in general as ‘other’, and as curiosities to be described and explained. They are represented stereotypically as pitiable, evil, burdensome, as ‘Super Cripples’ or super humans, or as self-pitying. Such depictions can be internalised by and harmful to disabled people. Analysis will need to acknowledge that disabled people are frequently foregrounded as socially deviant in representations. Areas for analysis will include the author status as disabled or non-disabled, narrative mode, and the use of disability as metaphor. However, major areas for study will be description in noun phrases, transitivity analysis and the language of appraisal and evaluation. These can be scrutinised to expose the manner in which ideologies and stereotypes of disability are encoded.
Religious institutions in the USA, under the First Amendment, exhibit great strength in employment termination, given freedom by the Supreme Court to conduct their labour and employment practices with limited scrutiny. This article examines ways in which a Presbyterian seminary board report, justifying its decision not to renew a professor's contract, demonstrates discrimination in its use of the 'good family' ideal prominent within conservative Christianity. Focusing on intertextuality and representation of the professor's wife, a disabled woman, analysis presents evidence of an overall strategy of exclusion. The report consistently demonstrates support for negative witness statements about the professor and his wife while undermining the professor's accounts. The report's characterization of the professor's wife subsumes her identity under her husband's and assumes moral reasons for her disability and chronic illness, consistent with a nouthetic counselling ethos. Findings support the discriminatory potential of the 'good family' ideal, underscoring employees' unique vulnerability within religious higher education institutions.
English Language Teaching is a globalised industry which attempts to standardise the use of textbooks and teaching materials (Gray 2002), implement universally accepted teaching methodologies (Canagarajah 2002) and promote internationally recognised examinations (Littlejohn 2013). This one-size-fits-all objective not only ignores local contexts and specific learners’ needs, but also promotes the concept of the idealised ‘native’ English language teacher who adheres to teaching tenets and precepts emanating from English-speaking countries. In this paper, we argue that discrimination against Mexican teachers is not so much carried out through paying lower wages but perpetrated through job discrimination, unequal working conditions and fewer opportunities for career advancement. Deference to the idealised teacher increases racial, linguistic and professional tensions and discrimination in countries such as Mexico where local teachers’ knowledge, experience, insights and practices are often disregarded if not disparaged. The investment that Mexican ‘non-native’ teachers make in time, money and effort in certifying themselves as professionals is often thwarted, as ‘native-speaking’ and ‘native-trained’ teachers frequently receive privileged working conditions and employment benefits. By conducting semi-structured informal interviews and written questionnaires, we narrate and analyse seventeen Mexican teachers’ experiences of racism, professional belittlement and discriminatory employment practices, along with the experiences of Mexican EFL students. Therefore, the article helps raise non-native teacher awareness covering a range of discriminatory and inequitable employment practices.