Friday, May 6, 2011

Because there is so little scholarly information on hate speech and Islamophobia, I had a hard time finding a second article despite tireless efforts. Which has given me even more reason to study the language of Islamophobia. Despite centuries of negative stereotypes of Islamic people, no one has really studied it. So, I have taken it upon myself to look at the language and the nonverbal cues of Bridgitte Gabrielle.
This is just a teaser clip, but it doesn't take long to realize how controlling both verbally and nonverbally Ms. Gabrielle is. Enjoy!

Taking a look at the language Islamophobia

Mohideen, H. & Mohideen. S. (2008) The language of Islamophobia in internet articles. Intellectual Discourse: 16 (1), pp. 73-87.

This articleis about the language that is used for the fear and hatred of Muslim people. Despite meaning "peace" in Arabic, the Western World seems bent on painting a linguistic picture on all Muslim people being terrorists. This article covers terms like Islamic Terrorism, Fanatacism, Extremists and other negatively stereotyping phrases that are commonly used in both life and the internet.
My research being on the negative outlook Brigitte Gabriel gives to the Western world, she often uses many of the terms talked about in this article. Her use of extremist, radicals, nazis and even Barbarians are loaded with Islamophobia, which helps her to spread negative stereotypes.
In one interview, Ms. Gabrielle will deny her generalization of all Muslim people and in the next she'll barely differentiate between the two. In another she'll say that there is only one Islam (not radical and/or moderate.) Her sometimes confusing use of hate speak can make it very difficult to get any differentiation , but one will get the picture that she is in fact spreading nothing but hate.
Her use of language is very useful along with this article, because Mohideen and Mohideen (2008) talk about nearly any term that she uses to call Muslims.
Has anyone else caught on to how little she differentiates between radical and moderate Muslims???

Saturday, March 12, 2011


"Fox lies! Fox lies"
Protests are what linguists refer to as a speech event, or a situation calling forth particular ways of speaking. The protests that have been going on for over a month in our state's capitol obviously have called forth particular genres of speaking. People are taking advantage of their 1st Amendment rights by protesting in Madison and angrily protesting the billions of dollars in cuts of public sector jobs by Scott Walker.
A protest has a certain norms of speaking; one can be violent/agressive, one can be passive, or one can be openly angry but still peaceful. The protests in Wisconsin have been peaceful, though I have heard many argue that their behavior is not 'patriotic' or that it is childish. However, the protesters have an ends in sight- either getting Walker to change his mind, or now to get him kicked out of office.
This man who's protest performance is to scream "Fox lies," rather than make a rational statement to his interviewer is clearly how he feels he should be protesting. However, other people have found this to be a highly comical response to the interview because it breaks social norms.
I feel this performance begs the question, when protesting should one never drop their performance or is it okay to break face for a separate genre of talk?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

In Chapter 3, Elaine Chaika discusses the style of speech people use and how certain stylistic factors included in style can change the situation.  For example, voice quality is one of these elements that changes the situation. According to Chaika people are born with the ability to speak in numerous different ranges, but we just tend to stick to the one we grow up with and become comfortable with.

If our voice quality is something we choose to adopt, then it can be assumed that so some extent the same goes for  dialects and accents. Dialects and accents are often key factors of social status, identity, gender, and location, thus the reason there can be so many for a single language.

When a person lives in a certain area or socializes with a certain group of people, then language similar to dress and actions become a norm. Thus being born and socialized with this group and in this place, it is expected to behave a certain way, use certain words, and blend in with the group.

However, if voice quality is adopted and dialects are socialized- doesn't that make these two factors simply a norm???

Monday, February 7, 2011

30 Rock - Carmen Chao's indeterminate ethnicity

While catching up on one of my 30 Rock fix this past weekend, I found myself intrigued by Vanessa Minillo’s codeswitching-character, Carmen Chao. Codeswitching being the idea that one can change their dialect (or register*) to another in order to meet the demands of the situation.
The entertaining character plays off of one’s innate ability to hear foreign dialects or accents and place them. However, when faced with Carmen Chao’s ability to master so many different dialects and registers, the characters of 30 Rock and its viewers are left wondering what nationality the woman actually is. Many Americans only speak English and for those who attempt to learn another language, learning the language is only half of the battle.
Mastering the intricacies of language and its accents are extremely difficult, because all human beings are so ingrained with the rules of their first language. Something as tiny one’s puffs of air (aspiration) while speaking can be difference between a realistic register and butchering a foreign language. 
There are tons of these tiny little aspects of language, which the ear can tell but most do not have a name for. And on top of that, all of these details are different from language to language!! So this makes me wonder- is it even possible to master your first language, let alone another language?

*Register- a spoken variety of language connected to a certain role or situation.

Michaels, L., Fey, T., Klein, M., Miner, D. & Carlock., R. (Producer). 2011. !Que Sopresa! [ 30 Rock ]. New York, NY: NBC. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Relational God and Devil Words

This video is a scene from my favorite movie Paris, Je T’Aime. The scene takes place at La Pere Lachaise, the famous French cemetery where Jim Morrison is buried. I wrote a mid-term paper for another Comm class on this scene last semester using social exchange theory; for those of you who need a refresher of Comm 211- it’s the idea that in every relationship we are in we weigh out our costs and benefits without even knowing it.
I have found this scene and theory outrageously interesting. In this exchange, Frances and William are arguing about their relationships and their relational miscommunication. The viewer finds out that William is a work-a-holic, while Frances is looking for “lightness” is her relationship.
This desire for laughter in her relationship seems to be Frances’ god-word or the word that is of utmost importance to her- or in terms of social exchange theory- costs and benefits. In her relationship that’s what she needs. I feel as if we all have something that is of the utmost importance to us. I would personally say that in a relationship god-words and their antithesis, devil-words, are the difference between a happy relationship or not.
To sustain a happy and healthy relationship (in which your benefits outweigh your costs), one’s desires (god-words) must be met. If now, it’s what I have heard to as a deal breaker. When Frances, for example, expresses her desire for ‘appreciation’ and ‘levity’- she is telling her fiancĂ© what she is looking for.
Clearly there is a miscommunication here, because William is looking for stability (financial and physical) from their relationship. This is clear as he yells that she will starve without him. When a significant others’ god and devil-terms don’t line up this can lead to either constant fighting or probably a break up sooner or later.
As I have learned from learning about social exchange theory, the relationship should have more of their god-terms (benefits) met in order for the relationship to be considered fair and worthwhile. How do you feel about this idea of relational god and devil-terms???

Craven, W. (2006). "La Pere Lachaise". Paris, Je T'Aime.
United States & Paris: First Look Studios & Victoires International.