language links, ling-anth links

Language links 4/17

Every Monday, I share some of what I’ve been reading in the past week.


The coded language of the alt-right.

On the importance of linguistic inclusion in the classroom: “Studies have found that at all levels of education, instructors often favor students who sound like themselves and can be biased against those who don’t. Educators might form negative assumptions about a student’s intelligence and ability based simply on how he or she talks, which can result in lowered expectations, stereotyping and discrimination. Teachers sometimes also send messages, whether consciously or unconsciously, that a student’s language is wrong, dumb or out of place at school.”

From this excellent article on media coverage of terrorism, I learned just this week that in the US, a charge of terrorism legally requires links to a foreign terrorist organization — and that there is a higher standard of evidence for hate crimes (i.e. domestic terrorism) than for foreign terrorism. While the first amendment covers the speech leading up to an act of domestic terrorism, it doesn’t cover that leading up to an act of foreign terrorism. The article argues that media coverage — that is, the way we talk about terrorism — endorses the legal double standard. (I’ve written about the racism inherent in coverage of terrorism on this blog before.)

On quantifying white privilege.

“The English language is a direct democracy, sustained by each person who uses it; the dictionary is its enduring record. It is one of the mirrors we as Americans can look into and see who we were and who we are.” —Kory Stamper

Apparently being bilingual a) gets you dates and b) is good for democracy.

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