Language, Power, Politics
Language, Power, Politics POLS 3337
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LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 52 Prof Martha C Pennington 1 Packaging a Message Key Concepts Encoding and Decoding Communication Communication is ideally brief Quantity truthful Quality relevant Relevance and clear Manner However it is generally a balancing act between a being clear and direct and b establishing power and relationship A hearer has to figure out what a speaker means through conversational implicature ie inferencing operations that can be used to interpret utterances that are not perfectly brief truthful relevant or clear A hearer decodes unpacks the message a person has encoded packaged in words based on both linguistic and nonlinguistic context Politics and Language People may extend the context of a word to new circumstances by analogy that is by noticing that a new situation has some property in common with the circumstances in which that word is appropriately used eg a M of words Politicians make clever uses of language from euphemisms to half truths deception indirection and double speak George OnNell wrote of the hidden agenda behind manipulation of language by government officials and the military Politics and the English Language operates on different levels One level makes points about the English language 1 It is in decline becoming an ugly and less precise language 2 It is losing its tie to concrete reality and becoming more abstract 3 Its decline is linked to imprecise thinking and intentional deception A second level is that of politics which OnNell suggests is all about lies and obfuscation These levels of meaning are tied together in the implications that a governments do terrible things and try to cover them up and b people are lulled into acceptance of these actions by not paying attention to the government s packaging of information Politicians at Their Best The Public Apology The public apology or un apology has become a common politicians act in the past few decades For example gt Former President Clinton s apology to Hawaiians for the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani in the nineteenth century gt Former President George Bush s apology to Japanese Americans for the World War II internment camps gt An apology by the Vatican for the inaction of the Catholic Church during the holocaust This political apology is a virtual or ritual act which helps put the apologizer in the category of the Good and the Just appearing to step fonNard bravely to make an uncomfortable admission and shoulder responsibility for past wrongs However the person making the apology does not have any connection to or responsibility for the apologized for act and so is unlikely to feel any guilt or contrition The public apology is a freebie with no pain but plenty of gain The Discourse of Globalization vs Green Politics An ideology of globalization is a main theme in Western political discourse of the past twenty years eg in the discourse of Bill Clinton then President of the US and Tony Blair then Prime Minister of the UK who used agentless sentences to present globalization as an inevitable process and fact of life producing many kinds of effects The Green Party in contrast challenged the ideology of free trade and globalization in identifying multinational corporations and governments as the agents of change af uent vs poor people as the affected participants and negative effects such as erosion of democracy social inequality and destruction of natural resources Packaging a Message Encoding and Decoding Communication In the ideal case communication is in terms of Grice s 1975 four Maxims of Conversation brief Quantity truthful Quality relevant Relevance and clear Manner However communication generally is neither so perfectly logical and specific nor intended to be such under normal circumstances It is generally a balancing act between being clear and direct on the one hand and establishing power and relationship on the other At the one extreme a person who is supposed to give out instructions will fail unless these are delivered succinctly clearly and in a logical sequence At the opposite extreme phatic communication serves purposes of showing politeness and establishing a connection if only for a moment And the small talk at a cocktail partyis virtually all rapport with information tossed in like mayonnaise to hold the conversational salad together Lakoff 1990 pp 168 169 LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 52 Prof Martha C Pennington 2 When the establishment of power andor relationship is key speakers may use indirect language or othenNise package their message in ways that give them the best possible advantage Then it is up the hearer to figure out what they mean by use of conversational implicature ie inferencing operations that can be used to interpret utterances that do not follow these Maxims By means of implicature speakers can understand even highly oblique and ambiguous utterances in the right context Lakoff 1990 p 167 Here is an everyday example Pat Hi Marty Marty Hi Pat I didn t see you here How are you Pat Hey great I saw you working out You looked like you were really cookin on the bike Marty Yea Iwas really pushing pause Do you work out here often Pat Not that often In fact I bike a lot on the weekend but outdoors Do you bike Marty I like to sometimes But my bike is old INDIRECT MEANING not that much Pat Oh good well Oh you don t have such a good bike Marty Just an old clunker really But I do ride it to campus some It gets me from here to there Pat Yeah long pause Well I was wondering if you might like to do a bike ride in the country some weekend I could get you a bike to use INDIRECT WAY TO ASK OUT Marty Actually I m living with someone INDIRECT WAY TO REFUSE Pat Oh Well they could go too WAY TO SAVE FACE Depending on context an utterance of We could be friends could be intended in any of the following ways Being open to alternatives We could be friends It could happen Sitting on the fence We could be friends I am not sure Avoiding commitment We could be friends But not now Hiding point of view We could be friends But we won t be Intentionally deceiving We could be friends It s a lie it s not possible We use our skill in figuring out what a person means in each case based on both linguistic and nonlinguistic context Speakers are adept at the use of language in the many and varied ways it can signal meaning and intention To count as being linguistically adept you should be good at encoding packaging your ideas and intentions ie expressing them through speaking and writing but you also perhaps even more importantly need to be good at decoding unpacking the ideas and intentions of others through their use of language You need to know how to interpret the true messages people give out through the communicational medium of language There is a need to constantly interpret and analyze what people say in order to seek the reality behind those words Politics and Language As you have all now been in college for a while now I am sure you have learned much about critical thinking and the analysis and interpretation of other people s words and ideas I want to further raise your awareness of the need to always be on your guard about what people really mean by what they say and what they write This is a main message of George OnNell s 1946 essay Politics and the English Language Although written a long time ago in a different context this essay is still widely cited and relevant to our time In fact I would say that its message is timeless or that it is more relevant now than in the past because of the way language works A main dynamic of language change is a movement from speci c meanings to less speci c more abstract meanings Every word is first created in a specific time and place that gives it an original meaning It therefore gains its specific meaning in relation to the original context and circumstances of its creation The meaning of a word is represented in the brain as a network of associations with context and circumstances in which the word is used For example the word momwill be tied to images and feelings related to mothers and mothering as experienced in specific circumstances We can think of this original meaning as a word s core meaning or dictionary definition Because humans are creative imaginative creatures they do not feel obliged to stick to things as they are but will always push back the boundaries of their world This is true in language as in other things such as fashion sports inventions and all the realms of human achievement When it comes to language people are quite inventive and clever and as part of this inventiveness and cleverness may extend the context of a word to new circumstances by analogy that is by noticing that a new LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 52 Prof Martha C Pennington 3 situation has some property in common with the circumstances in which that word is appropriately used For example a person decides that the word mom because of all its specific connotations would make a good name for a restaurant as in Moms Pizza Moms Italian Kitchen In using these names the owner hopes to transfer the properties of the word mom that is its positive connotations and associations in the mind of potential customers to their perceptions of the restaurant People widen the context of words when they notice a new situation where the word can be applied When they do this they automatically transfer the core meaning as well as the history of contexts and associations of the word to a new context Both the word and the new context thus receive new meaning When people apply a word in a new context thereby transferring its properties to a new situation they are using it in a less specific meaning than its core meaning In a sense they are widening and also bleaching out its meaning making it less concrete It therefore often happens that a word is applied in new circumstances or contexts in which it does not apply directly but rather applies on a more abstract metaphorical level For example the word waroriginally referred to a series of military battles in which one sovereign nation attempted to overtake another sovereign nation by force Over time people took the word war beyond its original context and meaning and applied in the following instances Our contest has become a m a War of words 777s Mar on Povety 771s Mar on Drugs If you are thinking of warin its core meaning these usages are in fact nonsensical or false However if you think of war in terms of its connotations and its network of associations it makes perfect sense to apply it in other contexts by way of comparison of the properties of the old or traditional contexts in which the word is used and the new context In each of these cases something is being compared by analogy to a war For example the meaning of the first sentence is Our contest has become like a war Instead of saying it this way the speaker or writer makes the comparison more directly by using war as a metaphor for the contest As examples like these show the extension of words to new contexts is often abstract and metaphorical by way of implicit comparisons between one thing and another between one context or set of circumstances and another Politicians are the paradigm case of those who play language well and use it for their own purposes Politicians are legion for all kinds of clever uses of language from euphemisms to half truths to lies cloaked in deception to indirection and double speak of all kinds OnNell thought that political chaos was linked to the decay of language and he wrote of the hidden agenda lurking behind the manipulation of language by government officials in particular by the military At the beginning of his essay Politics and the English Language OnNell makes the following claim Modern English especially written English is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble If one get rid of these bad habits one can think more clearly and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration p 1 OnNell then makes the claim that modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else and making the results presentable by sheer humbug The attraction of this way of writing is that it is easy p 5 Examples of this phenomenon are DYING METAPHORS there is a huge dump of worn out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves Eg ring the changes on take up the cudge for toe the line ride roughshod over stand shoulder to shoulder with OPERATORS OR VERBAL FALSE LIMBS Pompous overblown language These save the trouble of picking out appropriate verbs and nouns and at the same time pad each sentence with extra syllables which give it an appearance of symmetry The keynote is the elimination of simple verbs p 3 eg renderinoperative LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5p 11 Week 52 Prof Martha C Pennington 4 PASSIVE VOICE AND NOUN CONSTRUCTIONS In addition the passive voice is wherever possible used in preference to the active and noun constructions are used instead of gerunds by examination ofinstead of by examining The range of verbs is further cut down by means of the ize and de formation Simple conjunctions and prepositions are replaced by with respect to having regard to the fact that p 3 PRETENTIOUS DICTION Words like phenomenon element individual as noun objective categorical used to dress up a simple statement and give an air of scientific impartiality to biased judgements p 3 MEANINGLESS WORDS jargon words with no specific meaning such as many political words The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signi es something not desirable The words democracy socialism freedom patriotic realistic justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another In the case of a word like democracy when we call a country democratic we are praising it consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy and feel that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning p 4 At the end of the essay OnNell proposes a number of solutions SOLUTIONS What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word and not the other way around In prose the worst thing one can do with words is surrender to them p 7 Never use a metaphor simile or other gure of speech which you are used to seeing in print Never use a long word where a short one will do If it is possible to cut a word out always cut it out Never use the passive where you can use the active Never use a foreign phrase a scienti c word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent 6 Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous pp 7 8 PLASMNEquot OnNell s essay operates on different levels On one level OnNell is making points about the English language 1 It is in decline becoming an ugly and less precise language 2 It is losing its tie to concrete reality and becoming more abstract 3 Its decline is linked to imprecise thinking and intentional deception A second level on which this essay operates is that of politics OnNell s main point about politics is that it is all about lies and obfuscation These two levels of meaning are tied together in the implication that a governments do terrible things and try to cover them up and b people are lulled into acceptance of these actions by not paying attention to their lies and obfuscation covering up the actions with linguistic packaging Here are some key passages on this Now it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes it is not due simply to the bad in uence of this or that individual writer p 1 a reduced state of consciousness if not indispensable is at any rate favourable to political conformity p 6 In our time political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible Things like the continuance of British rule in India the Russian purges and deportations the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan can indeed be defended but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism question begging and sheer cloudy vagueness p 6 The great enemy of clear language is insincerity When there is a gap between one s real and one s declared aims one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms like a cuttlefish spurting out ink In our age there is no such thing as keeping out of politics All issues are political issues and politics itself is a mass of lies evasions folly hatred and schizophrenia p 6 This invasion of one s mind by ready made phrases lay the foundations achieve a radical transformation and every such phrase anaesthetizes a portion of one s brain p 7 Political language and with variations this is true of all political parties from Conservatives to Anarchists is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind p LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 52 Prof Martha C Pennington 5 OnNell s overall purpose for writing this essay was to wake people up to the extent to which their government and public discourse was becoming corrupt and pulling the wool over their eyes It is relevant in the present era in that we need to always be on guard as to what politicians say as it has little to do with fact or concrete meaning and everything to do with trying to influence our opinions and behavior Politicians at Their Best The Public Apology When Humpty Dumpty in Alice Through the Looking Glass said to Alice 1 can make a word mean whatever I want it to mean Lewis Carroll the logician and philosopher who wrote that book was making a point about language Language is a set of conventions that all the members of a community follow Language is at the same time a creative resource that we can bend to our own purposes Politicians are masters of this An interesting example is the public apology or un apology which has become a rather common politicians act in the past few decades As Robin Lakoff in her book 771s Language WarLakoff 2000 observes Pubic figures avoid making apologies But there is an exception in the eagerness over the last several years of high public official in this and other countries to make public apologies almost always for behavior occurring prior to their term of office usually before they or those to whom the apology Is made were born p 30 Some examples from Lakoff p 30 are the following gt Former President Clinton s apology to Hawaiians for the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani in the nineteenth century and for the Tuskegee syphilis experiments on African Americans in the early twentieth century V Former President George Bush s apology to Japanese Americans for the World War II internment camps V Apologies by spokespersons for various governments or peoples to other governments or peoples such as by Japan to Korea for use of Korean comfort women in World War II and by the Vatican for the inaction of the Catholic church during the holocaust Giving blanket apologies for past wrongs has in the past decade become a popular new form of public discourse by high level public figures purporting to speak for the organizations they represent or those whom they govern On the surface these public acts look like apologies But what is this type of public act really It is in fact a pseudo or fake apology because the underlying basis of an apology is 1 that the apologizer actually could have some guilt for that which he or she is apologizing for and 2 that the apologizer actually regrets causing harm or distress by the action that he or she is apologizing for The farther removed one is historically and personally from the event that one is apologizing for the less meaningful the apology is M apology Yet such public apologies have great signi cance which is why once heads of state discovered them they started to perform them rather a lot Rather than being an actual act of contrition or statement of remorse on the part of the apologizer this kind of political public apology is a virtual or ritual act which helps to raise the status of the apologizer and put him or her in the category of the Good and the Just By making this public act of admission of wrong doing the apologizer by analogy to real instances of apology appears to step fonNard bravely to make an uncomfortable admission and shoulder responsibility for past wrongs However the person making the public apology does not in fact have any particular connection to or responsibility for the apologized for act and so is unlikely to feel any guilt discomfort or contrition in doing so The public apology is in this sense a freebie with no pain but plenty of gain The of cial public apology is an example of how powerful language is Just by calling something an apology and going through some ritual steps of apologizing using the words apologyor sory people will think of the act as an apology and interpret its meaning accordingly Words powerfully filter our perception of reality We are very prone to interpret things according to the most obvious and least mentally taxing interpretation which means that we ordinarily assume people are being truthful and doing what they appear on the surface to be doing such as in these cases apologizing Of course a lot of what they are really doing is grandstanding and gaining the spotlight for themselves The Discourse of Globalization vs Green Politics An ideology of globalization is a main theme in Western political discourse of the past twenty years As Fairclough 2001 points out at the time he was writing both Bill Clinton then President of the United States and Tony Blair then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom were using a figure of speech that he calls the cascade of change a listing of examples of change whose cumulative effect is to ovenNhelm the reader with the weight of examples rather as a cascade can ovenNhelm one with the force of water p 212 Here are examples LINGPOLS 3337 Language Power and Politics 5p 11 Week 42 Professor Martha C Pennington 1 Building a Persuasive Case Key Concepts Logos Greek word the quality of the message its logical appeal showing the author s knowledge Ethos Greek character the author s character and credibility projected in the message its moral or ethical appeal Pathos Greek suffering or experience the values and feelings projected in the message its emotional appeal Politics is quintessentially a linguistic activity an activity in which language is employed to inform others about political issues and persuade them to adopt courses of action in regard to these issues Geis 1987 p 18 Skilled politicians know how to use many different devices for gaining attention votes and power including logos ethos pathos humor stories and cultural information and beliefs that the audience shares 3 Keys to Making a Speech to Inspire and Transform Key Concepts 1 Express a grand vision Set the stage Create a memorable message logos Express hope and idealism 2 Bring others into your vision Appeal to noble motives ethos Uplift the audience Show them the way 3 Communicate your total commitment to the vision Show passion pathos Dramatlze Use whole body communication Building a Persuasive Case In Writing Arguments three types of persuasive appeals are described as the points on a rhetorical triangle 39 Logos Greek for word focuses attention on the quality of the message that is on the internal consistency and clarity of the argument itself and on the logic of its reasons and support The impact of logos on an audience is referred to as its logical appeal 39 Ethos Greek for character focuses attention on the writer s or speaker s character as it is projected in the messages It refers to the credibility of the writer Ethos is often conveyed through the tone and style of the message through the care with which the writer considers alternative views and through the writer s investment in his or her claim In some cases it s also a function of the writer s reputation for honesty and expertise independent of the message The impact of ethos on an audience is referred to as its ethical appeal or appeal from credbliity 39 Pathos Greek for suffering or experience focuses attention on the values and beliefs of the intended audience It is often associated with emotional appeal But pathos appeals more specifically to an audience s imaginative sympathies their capacity to feel and see what the writer feels and sees Thus when we turn the abstractions of logical discourse into a tangible and immediate story we are making a pathetic appeal Whereas appeals to logos and ethos can further an audience s intellectual assent to our claim appeals to pathos engage the imagination and feelings moving the audience to a deeper appreciation of the argument s significance Ramage Bean and Johnson 2010 pp 62 63 In simple terms these are three different ways to focus communication by using 1 your knowledge logos 2 your morality or authority ethos or 3 your feelings or emotions pathos or a combination of these to influence people We often thinkthat people are persuaded in a rational way mainly by facts and logic logos In fact human nature dictates that we are often much more easily persuaded by ethos and pathos than by logos While a person s words and logic ie their logos are important for establishing their credibility or ethos this is in part established by their natural and acquired characteristics including their size gender race and age as well as their job and position Pathos is the component of relatability that can be created or demonstrated by showing a human connection such as through referring to experience that is held in common with the audience or through telling a story that is entertaining or moving that highlights a familiar theme or moral or that in some other way establishes connection or empathy between speaker and audience Humor can be used in this way as can a narration of a true event or an imaginative or symbolic story In their efforts to persuade an audience speakers and writers may invoke known themes stories or myths either directly or indirectly Politics is quintessentially a linguistic activity an activity in which language is employed to inform others about political issues and persuade them to adopt courses of action in regard to these issues Geis 1987 p 18 Skilled politicians know how to use many different devices for gaining attention votes and power including logos ethos and pathos conveyed through humor stories and cultural information and beliefs that the audience shares LINGPOLS 3337 Language Power and Politics 5p 11 Week 42 Professor Martha C Pennington 3 Keys to Making a Speech to Inspire and Transform Express a grand vision Set the stage Create a memorable message logos Express hope and idealism Bring others into your vision Appeal to noble motives ethos Uplift the audience Show them the way Communicate your total commitment to the vision Show passion pathos Dramatize Use whole body communication vvvg vvvp vvvr 0 give a bit more detail to each of these components 1 Express a grand vision gt Set the stage Suggest the theme Bring in the current context Give necessary indexical information place time people gt Create a memorable message Express the vision through unusual and enjoyable language Create images through evocative language and visually Use a moving story to drive home your vision gt Create hope and idealism Go beyond the here and now Create a sense of infinite possibility Create a sense of moving fonNard 2 Bring others into your vision gt Appeal to noble motives Altruism Charity Love gt Upi the audience Give hope Get them to dream Make them want to do great things gt Show them the way Give them something to reach for Map a course Lead them to action 3 Communicate your total commitment to the vision gt Show passion Raise the volume of your voice Use wide pitch range Emote gt Dramatize Act it out Speak forcefully Make real eye contact gt Use whole body communication Show as you tell Use large gestures Create a natural body flow and movement connected to the message LINGPOLS 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 42 Professor Martha C Pennington 3 Inspiration and Leadership I Sir Winston Churchill httpWW quot39 v mmChllrr hiquot htm list of quotable quotes httpwwwyoutubecomwatchvKAtut ex9mwampfeaturerelated video clip Winston Churchill is one of the best known leaders and statesmen of the 20 h century and his fame rests in large measure on his impressive skill as a speaker In my opinion and that of many others Churchill was one of the greatest speakers in the English language His speeches exemplify all of the characteristics of inspirational and transforming discourse In each of his speeches he used language with great skill to express a grand vision by setting the stage creating a memorable message and expressing hope and idealism He was also a master in using language to bring others into his vision by appealing to noble motives uplifting the audience and showing them the way In the skillful ways that he used language Churchill communicated his total commitment to the vision by showing passion dramatizing and using his whole body which olten shook as he communicated to get his message across Churchill s speeches are inspiring through use of logos ethos and pathos Through his mode of expression and linguistic choices he not only constructs strong and persuasive messages but also creates strongly positive impressions about himself as a leader Churchill s speeches have given us a large number of popular quotable quotes a representative list of which is given below These show the man s gt knowledge of world affairs gt courage or strength gt humanity gt knowledge of people gt education and knowledge of language gt creativity eg in use of metaphor and images gt humor gt sense of irony The cumulative effect of his speech is that of a transformational leader Representative Churchill Quotes I Democracy is the best form of the worst type of government 4 I have nothing to offer but blood toil tears and sweat i Never give in never never never never in nothing great or small large or petty never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense Never yield to force never yield to the apparently ovenNhelming might of the enemy 44 We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be we shall fight on beaches landing grounds in elds in streets and on the hills We shall never surrender and even if which I do not for the moment believe this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving then our empire beyond the seas armed and guarded by the British Fleet will carry on the struggle until in God39s good time the New World with all its power and might sets forth to the liberation and rescue of the Old 4 You ask what is our aim I can answer in one word It is victory Victory at all costs Victory in spite of all terrors Victory however long and hard the road may be for without victory there is no survival 4L We shall not ag or fail We shall go on to the end We shall fight in France We shall ght on the seas and oceans We shall fight with growing strength in the air We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be We shall ght on the beaches We shall fight on the landing grounds We shall ght in the elds and in the streets We shall ght in the hills We shall never surrender in You were given the choice between war and dishonor You chose dishonor and you will have war t A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on i Courage is rightly esteemed the rst of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all others is A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails and then asks you not to kill him 9L No matter how enmeshed a commander becomes in the elaboration of his own thoughts it is sometimes necessary to take the enemy into account 4 An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last 4 The Americans will always do the right thing Alter they39ve exhausted all the alternatives LINGPOLS 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 42 Professor Martha C Pennington 4 It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations Never in the face of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few There is at least one thing worse than fighting with allies And that is to ght without them Although prepared for martyrdom I preferred that it be postponed My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me I never worry about action but only inaction We are happier in many ways when we are old than when we were young The young sow wild oats The old grow sage No two on earth in all things can agree All have some daring singularity Always remember a cat looks down on man a dog looks up to man but a pig will look man right in the eye and see his equal Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot Others look on it as a cow they can milk Not enough people see it as a healthy horse pulling a sturdy wagon FFPL39FF 1 g 4 To improve is to change to be perfect is to change often Too often the strong silent man is silent only because he does not know what to say and is reputed strong only because he has remained silent y Socialism is like a dream Sooner or later you wake up to reality Socialists think profits are a Vice 1 consider losses the real vice Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm I am ready to meet my maker but whether my maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter Harm No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism If you have knowledge let others light their candles with it Iwas not the lion but it fell to me to give the lion39s roar You may have to ght when there is no hope of victory because it is better to perish than live as slaves PF F Patrick Henry Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death http MMN 39 39 orqGivelV39 39 ihertv html written text http WM39 vnIItIIhe watchvvY Rl nar39 quot 39 J video Patrick Henry was elected to be a member of the First Continental Congress in 1774 The Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech that he is so famous for was given in St John s Church Richmond Virginia on March 23 1775 Henry was known as a ery speaker and on this occasion as others his goal was to urge the Congress to military action against the British Unlike for example Lincoln s Gettysburg Address there is no surviving copy of this speech written down though there is an account of it was written by one of the members of the audience and it is not known whether it was given from a written text from memory or a spontaneous declaration of feelings The version that has been passed down to us Wirt 1818 is a reconstructed and apparently edited and cleaned up version Hemple 1977 Raphael 2004 written by an admiring biographer William Wirt based on oral testimony According to Wirt the speech so moved the assembled crowd that they rose to their feet and should To arms To arms The speech is quite an erudite one showing a great command of language and suggesting Henry s education It builds a strong case first through use of intelligent and logical argument the logos of the speech His language is relatively formal thus showing traditional distance politeness and he also makes use of both deference and camaraderie in establishing the right relationship and tone with his audience the ethos of the speech which is also communicated through references to shared culture and noble motives A third aspect of the speech that makes it effective is its strong passion its pathos Henry uses a great deal of dramatic evocative and aesthetic language such as metaphors and repeated thematic words as well as rhetorical devices such as overstatement olten framed with negation for dramatic effect and questions to the audience many of them rhetorical ie which presuppose their answer The use of these devices is shown below in an annotation of the rst part of the speech The speech is certainly inspirational with a cumulative effect which comes across especially in performing or reading it aloud building to a crescendo at the end by a series of exclamations and questions the last of which is a rhetorical question followed by an emotional answer to that question LINGPOLS 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 42 Professor Martha C Pennington 5 Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery Forbid it Almighty God I know not what course others may take but as for me Give me Libelty or give me Death No man thinks more highly than I do drama overstatement negative generalization of the patriotism noble motives as well as abilities of the veLy worthy gentlemen deferential politeness who have just addressed the House But different men often see the same subject in different lights and therefore I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs I shall speakforth my sentiments freely and without reserve camaraderie This is no time for ceremony The guesting before the House is one of awful moment to this country bringing in the current context For my own part I consider it as nothing less than drama overstatement negative generalization a question of freedom or slavery juxtaposition of highly evocative words and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject drama ought to be the freedom aesthetic language repeated word of the debate It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our county invocation of common culture noble motives Should I keep back my opinions at such a time through fear of Giving offense I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country and of an act of dislovaltv toward the Majesty of Heaven which I revere above all earthly kings invocation of noble motives aesthetic language personification drama and passion Mr President it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth and listen to the song of that siren till she aesthetic language alliteration transforms us into beasts Is this the part of wise men engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty Are we disposed to be of the number of those who having eves see not and having ears hear not the things which so nearlv concern their temporal salvation rhetorical questions drama and passion invocation of common culture m mv Dart whatever anguish of spirit it may cost I am willing to know the whole truth to know the worst and to provide for it noble motives drama and passion I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided and that is the lamp of experience aesthetic language metaphor drama I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past drama overstatement And judging by the past I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received Trust it not sir39 it will prove a snare to your feet aesthetic language metaphor repeated word drama Suffer not 39 to be betraved with a aesthetic language Biblical allusion John F Kennedy Inaugural Address httpwwwbartlebycom124pre556htm written text http zwwwyoutubecomwatchvBLmiOEk59n8 video John F Kennedy s Inaugural Address delivered on January 20 1961 has long been recognized as a great piece of oratory demonstrating expert use of language to inspire the audience both in American and around the world to a vision of its greatness and what could be achieved with him as its leader Its force lies in part in the way it was delivered Kennedy s dramatic style of speaking emphasizing important words by drawing them out amplifying his voice and raising its pitch to imbue them with emotive force and passion Kennedy who seemed both comfortable and energized communicating with a crowd both in person and through the lens of a camera enhanced the impact of his words by looking straight out towards the audience and the cameras at the front of the podium and also rotating his head to look out into different sectors of the audience at different moments with an open yet serious facial expression conveying a combination of hope authority and relatability This speech by Kennedy is also known for its content its expression of hope and idealism outlining a future full of possibilities This message had the effect of uplifting the audience energizing the nation and moving it in a positive direction by appealing to common culture and values and noble motives the ethos of the speech as captured especially in the memorable line And so my fellow Americans ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country This line was in fact so memorable that many people mistakenly think it was the end of the speech It was not but perhaps should have been as what came after it is hardly remembered As a very well educated Harvard man Kennedy could deliver a powerful message through his form of expression using language in many skillful ways to make the audience think and feel and to persuade them to get behind him and his goals as leader One way he drew in the audience was by frequent use of the audience inclusive pronoun we emphasizing camaraderie Another way that he gained their positive regard was by several references to God allusion to Biblical stories and use of Biblical language He also created a memorable and moving speech through many different types of aesthetic uses of language such as the following see excerpt below for examples LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 62 Prof Martha C Pennington 1 Contrasting Media Key Concepts Different media can in uence the knowledge feelings beliefs and opinions of the public by affecting its 42 Topics selectively filtering the news determining the amount of coverage from great to none that they give to a particular topic or event Mode of presentation presenting the information in written or spoken form with or without visual enhancements such as photos or video i Tenor spinning and packaging information in different ways 4 Participants the people and voices they include in their coverage Ultimately it is the publishers who decide whose voice is heard So far the internet has escaped this generalization as there is a high possibility for individual citizens to put news items on the internet and gain as much of an audience as a major television network or newspaper Internet Language and Communication Key Concepts Because of the lack of physical context and the ease of communicating over distances and to large numbers of people known and unknown the internet seems to encourage relaxation of the rules of communication and the boundaries between speech and writing This has created a number of different kinds of effects Dominance of English and Language Mixing Online New Kinds of Language eg Text message abbreviations cul internet acronyms PICNIC hybridynms H8 New Rules for Communication Netiquette New Patterns of Discourse New Kinds of Communication eg Net friendship and romance cybersex gaming communities Internet Democracy Edemocracy eg electronic town meetings discussion boards on candidate websites Internet Practices on the Edge eg flaming crypto anarchism plagiarism self destructive subcultures VVVVVVV Contrasting Media The specific type of influence media have on society is determined by what they present and how This determines who is affected by the medium what they are affected by and how they are affected A person must be literate to read the news in a newspaper or magazine and must have time to do so Those who are not literate cannot see well cannot afford to buy a paper or are not able or do not wish to sit down long enough to read a paper will get their news from the radio or the television or busy people may opt to read the news online as they are working at their desks Each of these media filters the news and presents the world in a certain way that has an effect on what people know feel and believe Topic or Field In terms of topic or eld the news media differ in what news stories and aspects of those news stories they present The focus of a newspaper as local regional national or international can be seen quite obviously in the stories they elect to print If you look at the 771e Fernandina Beach News Leader http wwwfbnewsleadercom for example you will nd that the local paper hardly extends beyond news at the state level and most of its coverage is local to its town and county whereas the Atlanta Journal Constitution httpwwwajccoml includes state and local news in addition to national and international news thus demonstrating that it is not a local paper but aspires to national and even international status Reading only the local paper gives a very restricted view of life and the world and positions the reader in a specific northeast Florida setting whereas reading the Atlanta Journal Constitution positions the reader as a citizen whose world and life links to the rest of the state the country and the world The Statesboro Herad httpwwwstatesboroheraldcoml is somewhere between these two basically with a local orientation but with some attention to state national and international news Another difference in topics is that a daily paper like the Atlanta Journal Constitution or Statesboro Herad reports the immediate news within hours of its occurrence whereas a local paper in a small community like the 771s Fernandina Beach News Leader is usually a weekly and so will report only stories of ongoing interest or longer term importance This produces a difference in the content of the news in that daily papers have less leeway in what stories to cover as their focus is on whatever is happening on or near the day of publication whereas weekly papers draw on a longer time period from which to select what stories to cover However all news media must make decisions as to how much if any space or time to give to a certain story Editors have decision making power in what is conceptualized and presented as news LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 62 Prof Martha C Pennington 2 Those who edit or own newspapers can through these decisions focus readers on information which they think is important and which they think their readers need to know and by omission away from that which they do not think is so important or worth knowing about As compared to newspapers news magazines come out less often weekly or monthly and so do not carry the news of a particular day but focus on longer term areas of interest Their editors can in uence popular perception and opinion by their choice of which stories to report on by including certain topics in their magazine they automatically gain attention whereas those topics which don t make it in gain less publicity and thus less notice by the public As compared to print versions of newspapers the internet may give a briefer version of a story and so leave room on its pages for more ads and visuals while it also aims to increase its appeal to net surfers and of ce workers who browse the internet news Television news even more than the daily paper must stay on top of what is happening on a particular day Channels which devote a certain time period only to news are like daily newspapers in filtering which topics and stories to present and in deciding which ones to feature by presenting them rst andor by giving them more air time Even the all news channels like Fox News and CNN may filter news much more than they have to given their round the clock presence being selective in repeating certain stories all day long rather than giving a greater spread of news In so doing they give the impression that the featured stories are important and should command viewers attention while other news is of lesser significance or remains out of the picture or even unknown to the viewer In this way they can have a strong effect on shaping public perception and opinion simply by the topics and stories they choose to present especially those they present over and over again all day long Mode The mode in which news is delivered can make a big difference in its impact For some people the quiet and solitary action of sitting for a while to read the newspaper will give the news a stronger impact than will reading it on the internet or watching it on television where they are distracted by the visual aspects Others are not likely to bother at all with the news unless it has the convenience of the radio playing in the background the visual interest of television or the combination of convenience and visuals of the internet Part of the mode of presentation of the news is its placement By putting a story on the front page of a print or online newspaper on the cover of a news magazine or as the lead story in a television news report it automatically gains prominence People who run the news make these decisions and thus help to focus the attention of the public as they think it should be focused In addition stories that have photos or video with them are given greater prominence than those that are only text As compared to newspapers of a hundred years ago today s papers have a much greater proportion of pictures as compared to printed text While the front page of papers such as the New York Times is still predominately text many other newspapers devote at least as much space on their front pages to pictures as to text Color photos or graphics which may occur in a print newspaper but are more common in an online newspaper also serve to highlight certain news and draw attention to it Increasingly visual elements including not only photos but also video footage both lives and prerecorded are part of reporting the news Tenor For some the news is gained through a favorite newspaper which presents it in a more or less formal manner depending on the type of paper The fact that the news is presented on television in largely visual and verbal rather than written mode means that the speaker s face and voice is part of the delivery of the news News presenters are paid very big money because they know how to use these assets to present what is wanted by their producers to give the news a certain tenor gt a serious and authoritative representation of information such as by using a lowered and even tone of voice and staring directly into the camera while neither smiling nor frowning V an emotive cast to a story such as by raising the voice and expressing an emotion such as anger or alarm using facial gestures such as furrowing the brow or frowning and possibly also hand or arm gestures for emphasis or V a friendly and personalized version of a story such as by using an animated voice while smiling and shifting body orientation Packaging a news report in a serious and authoritative rather than emotive manner can in uence the type of effect it has on the audience to a greater or lesser degree It can also determine who will choose to watch it in the first place LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 62 Prof Martha C Pennington 3 Participants There are many types of participants that may be part of the news and appear or not appear in news stories Each adds his or her own angle to the story First there are the actual people who participated in the events leading to the story some or all of whom may be given prominence in the news Who they are can make a big difference in the newsworthiness of an event and also in how it will appear to the public Second there are those who are direct witnesses to the event and can give their own view of it which may be the same or similar to that of the participants in it or may give a quite different angle on it Third there are people who view the event from a distance as commentators Both the direct witness and the commentator can make a difference in terms of what is presented as news and how a story is spun Fourth there are the people who write the stories and take pictures or make video or audio recordings that are part of the stories some of them anonymous some of them named These people are important in how information is represented and from what angles of telling as they bring in the perspectives of any of the other participants named so far in addition to their own Filth there are the presenters of the news on radio and television who add their own particular spin or packaging to the news Sixth there are the receivers of the news the audience who will interpret the news in part based on their pre existing knowledge and point of view The people involved in finding writing and presenting the news make a big difference in what news is and in what news people pay attention to Major news writers and presenters have large audiences of people who trust them or enjoy the way they communicate Some want to watch and hear a specific person presenting the news and so prefer to get their news from a particular television news show while others like to hear a specific presenter or on the radio Others read a certain newspaper to see the thoughts of a particular columnist editorial writer or reporter Finally standing above all of these participants there are the people who determine what gets noticed and reported by a particular news medium If owners or editors of a newspaper magazine or other news medium do not even have a reporter covering a certain event that alone can mean that it does not make the news Even if they have a reporter covering the event the people in charge may decide that a certain story does not make the news When that happens all of the potential participants are either inactive or invisible as far as the news goes they do not exist Thus it is ultimately the publishers who decide whose voice is heard So far the internet has escaped this generalization as there is a high possibility for individual citizens to put news items on the internet and gain as much of an audience as a major television network or newspaper Internet Language and Communication Because of the lack of physical context and the ease of communicating over distances and to large numbers of people known and unknown the internet seems to encourage relaxation of the rules of communication and the boundaries between speech and writing This has created a number of different kinds of effects Dominance of English The internet has encouraged the continuing spread and dominance of English as the world s lingua franca common language UNESCO has estimated that 90 percent of the world s languages are not represented on the Internet and that one language is disappearing somewhere around the world every two weeks New Kinds of Language 4 Text message abbreviations 4 Internet abbreviations acronyms and hybridnyms1 it Leet speak i Language mixing Text Message Abbreviations gt cyacu quotsee youquot used as a goodbye gt cul short for see you later gt lol short for laughing out loud gt cm short for call me 1 This term originates with me LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 62 Prof Martha C Pennington Internet Abbreviations and Acronyms gt BYOC quotbring your own computer gt INMP quotit39s not my problemquot gt PICNIC quotProblem In Chair Not In Computerquot referring to human error gt ROFL ROTFL quotrolling on the floor laughingquot as a reply to something extremely amusing IT Hybridnyms gt GR8 quotg reat gt H8 quothatequot or 39H139 to 39H939 to indicate how much a person hates something gt ID10T quotidiotquot generally pronounced eye dee ten tee its meaning is not obvious until viewed in written form Example quotWe39ve got an ID10T errorquot Some Letters of Leet Alphabet A 4ororor B 80r60r3orgt C or orltor D oroor E 3orampor F G 90r6 K lt or or orlt LeetWords gt Owned completely dominated This term is sometimes spelled pwn pwn3a pwn20r3a or anXU 3 gt m4ds1iz talent of one sort or another m4d itself is often used for emphasis like very gt nUUb newbie computer novice gt haXUr quothackerquot where the symbols are used to draw rough approximations to letters gtlt is an quotxquot 2 is an quotrquot alternate avor as symbols for quotxquot are often doubled gt swomr some other person considered unfriendly also used in friendly name calling among gamers Language Mixing Example Hong Kong Student Internet Chat Amy What presents will you buy for my birthday Billy ok lor I am your servant for one day U can order me to do anything for u Amy no ah i want presents ah Billy Uh five time ower six time change kar u Amy ok thks in advance take care la i 7ve time owersX time change Translation of Chinese expression meaning You like flowers at 5 o clock but you ve changed your mind by 6 Le you re always changing your mind Ah kar la ior Cantonese nal particles used for varying degrees of intimacy and expressions of attitude Internet Proverbs Home is where you hang your The e mail of the species is more deadly than the mail Ajourney of a thousand sites begins with a single click Great groups from little icons grow Pentium wise pen and paper foolish Too many clicks spoil the browse The geek shall inherit the earth Don39t byte off more than you can view Fax is stranger than fiction What boots up must come down In Gates we trust Virtual reality is its own reward VVVVVVVVVVVV LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5p 11 Week 12 Prof Martha C Pennington 1 Connection of Power and Politics to Language Key Concepts Top Dogs Power is associated with Strength Powerful people are strong examples American football Arnold Schwarzenegger Hillary Clinton associations strong body strong mind strong cl7aractervs strongWled strong smell John Wayne Mose are strong words partner Force Powerful people are force ll examples judge prison guard soldier pursuing the enemy associations forcefuness vs by force Energy Powerful people are energized and energizing examples real estate salesperson motivation speaker associations energetic vs Energizer bunny fidgetty person overebullient gossip with logorrhea Action Powerful people are active they are people who take actions not sitting on the sidelines examples young entrepreneur hero who saves drowning family Brownie who sells 1000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies associations active lfestye vs hyperactive cnld think Supernanny Control Powerful people control situations and people examples pilot air traffic controller mother associations under control vs controlling Bulldogs versus Chihuahuas There are natural differences in strength force and energy which can be used to establish power Whatever strength force and energy a person is born with can be enhanced through effort and learning examples Arnold Schwarzenegger Olympic athlete skinny kid with black belt in karate Bulldog muscular pussycat personality vs Chihuahua tiny hyena personality Danny DeVito or Jerry Brown vs The Terminator or The Governator How powerful people take charge to get things done Through brute strength brute force or other physical control By aligning in groups to cumulate strength and so control by brute force or by sheer numbers By politics gaining power and control through persuasion and other kinds of skillful use of language to gain people s consent and cooperation Big P sense having to do with governments and their spokespersons the politicians small p sense of who calls the shots in any situation Language is the initiator and interpreter of power relations Language allocates power through politics defines and determines it decides its efficacy p 13 Robin T Lakoff LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 12 Prof Martha C Pennington 2 Connection of Power and Politics to Language Top Dogs Power is associated with strength powerful people are strong Think American football think Arnold Schwarzenegger think Hillary Clinton We have many positive connotations associations of strength such as a strong body a strong mind and strong character In the different ways that people are strong they have power Not all connotations of strength are positive however as when a child is labeled strong Wied or a scent is labeled a strong smell There is such a thing as being too strong when less strong would be preferred as in a typical negative meaning of the words of the cowboy actor John Wayne 77705e are strong words partner Power is associated with fog powerful people are forceful Think of a judge in a court of law a prison guard or a soldier pursuing the enemy In a positive sense their forcefulness may be impressive but in a negative sense forceful people may make people do things they do not want to or in general can cause harmful outcomes While forcefulness can have positive connotations making people do something by force is not considered a positive thing though it may sometimes be considered necessary Power is associated with energy powerful people are energized and energizing Think of a successful real estate salesperson or motivation speaker Such people s energy is infectious the customer or audience can become energized and excited by their energy and excitement Energetic has positive connotations Yet even energy can be overdone Think of the Energizer bunny And it can be ovenNhelming to another as in the case of a person who is always fidgeting or an overebullient gossip with a bad case of logorrhea We all have different rhythms and are not on the same schedule of when we are or want to be charged up Power is associated with action powerful people are active they are people who take actions rather than sitting on the sidelines and watching other people take them They are people who see opportunities or things that need doing and go after them Think of the young entrepreneur who starts a curbside recycling service think of the hero who jumps in the freezing river to save a drowning family think of the Brownie who sells 1000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies so her troop can donate a water pump to a village in Somalia While we all admire an active ilfestye we nd a hyperactive cnid difficult to handle think Supernanny Power is associated with control powerful people controsituations and people Think of a pilot or an air traffic controller who keeps planes in the air and on the right flight path Think of a mother who keeps an entire household and children under control Those who control can do so in a way which avoids disaster or they can be controlling in a not entirely positive sense of this word meaning overpowering and over controlling others and so taking away some of their selfcontrol and independence Highly charismatic leaders for instance are often so dominant that their followers turn into lackeys unable to think or act for themselves Similarly overcontrolling overpowerful parents make their children co dependent and passive Bulldogs versus Chihuahuas Some aspects of power are inborn There are natural differences in strength force and energy among people which can be used to establish power over situations and people In addition whatever strength force and energy a person is born with can be enhanced through physical and psychological effort and through learning to make the most of natural gifts Think Arnold Schwarzenegger and every Olympic athlete think every skinny kid who ended up with a black belt in karate A great athlete or a bully may be naturally bigger or more muscular and forceful or energetic than other people but not necessarily Power also stems from drive from practice and learning from hard work What s more anyone can learn ways to bully others using a combination of their natural characteristics and social learning Think of bulldogs which are strong muscular dogs but generally have the personality of a pussycat versus the tiny chihuahua who is as aggressive noisy and fearless as a hyena LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 12 Prof Martha C Pennington 3 These aspects of power as well as action and control which are not inborn are developed in positive and negative ways through learning and social interaction An inherently unnoticeable man in terms of innate aspects of power a Danny DeVito or a Jerry Brown can just as well be a rich actor or governor of California as a mountain of a man a Terminator or a Governator by skillful communication to gain power and play politics Even a severely disabled person think Stephen Hawking can wield great power through knowledge and skillful use of language As those who act and control powerful people are takecharge people who get things done One way that they do this is through brute strength brute force or othenNise taking physical control A second way is by aligning themselves in groups that cumulate strength and so make it possible to control by brute force think the North Korean army or simply to gain power by sheer numbers think the Chinese Alignment of people for mutual bene t and strength moves us to the topic of politics Power and control can be gained through physical superiority or brute force but also through politics Politics can be taken in a Big P sense as having to do with governments and their spokespersons the politicians but also in a small p sense of who calls the shots in any situation As Robin Lakoff in Talking Power We Politics of Language observes We may admire power or resent it but we can see its operations and feel its physical effects on us Politics distributes that power determines who has it and how it can be used Politics is the game of power politics allocates power and utilizes it Lakoff 1990 p 12 Both BigPand smaip politics centrally involves communication Politics is all about gaining power and control through persuasion and other kinds of skillful use of language not only through coercion but through consent Leaders and other influential people manage and influence people and events in coercive ways but also by gaining the consent and cooperation of others In the words of Lakoff 1990 Language drives politics and determines the success of political machinations Language is the initiator and interpreter of power relations Politics is language At the same time language is politics How well language is used translates directly into how well one s needs are met into success or failure climbing to the top of the hierarchy or settling around the bottom into good or bad relationships intimate and distant Language allocates power through politics defines and determines it decides its ef cacy p 13 In the world of human society politics is very much about communication which though it involves other means such as facial expression gestures style of dress etc is most essentially linguistic In other words communication is most importantly accomplished through the words and expressions which a person chooses to use or not use In fact all human interactions are in an important sense political We all manipulate language and we do it all the time Our every interaction is political whether we intend it to be or not everything we do in the course of a day communicates our relative power our desire for a particular sort of connection our identi cation of the other as one who needs something from us or vice versa We are always involved in persuasion in trying to get another person to see the world or some piece of it our way and therefore to act as we would like them to act If we succeed we have power Lakoff 1990 pp 1718 People tend to think of language as expressing the meanings of words and of course this is an aspect of what language does But in actual fact your language does so much more than that It expresses your background in many different senses such as where you were born and have lived you attitude to the topic at hand to anyone that is being talked about and to other speakers and to any other audience members whether you are being sarcastic or funny or dead serious your mood whether you are excited or bored also in different ways your intelligence or education your clarity of thought Whether in power or out of it one plays the language game Even one who has the upper hand and is an abuser of others will in turn be abused by someone still higher or more skilled or by someone who possesses particular expertise Lakoff 1990 p 23 Reference Lakoff R T 1990 Talking power We politics of language New York Basic Books LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 12 Prof Martha C Pennington 4 Preview Activity 12 Classroom Discourse Context A U S classroom How do you know Public or private school How do you know Level High school or maybe late middle school teenagers Why not college How do you know this Participants How many Is this all What groups or subgroups do they fit into Teacher vs multiple students Disaffected uncooperative students 51 Applepolishers cooperative or teachersupportive students S3 Average other students who can go either way Power Who has the power here The teacher on the one hand but in a way also 51 and 52 Where is their power The teacher has power on center stage in the main arena where she is in charge at the front of the classroom The teacher has the main power here in the classroom and so she does not have to be especially polite or careful in what she says to the students The students are in an inferior position in terms of what they can get away with in their behavior and their communication They have to be more careful to stay in the game The teacher has the power to put them out of the game The teacher also makes the rules and can change them at will to an extent The students are in a sense in a different arena call it stage left or stage right for the most part that is not at center stage but they can also take themselves offstage by zoning out of the educational process in which case they may create a new arena for communication power and politics that is their own context They can also go to a huge arena of popular culture that this teacher may not be involved in The students are more native to that arena than the teacher and so have more power there Politics The teacher in a sense does not have to play politics as she is in charge Her position and age give her the right to be in charge S3 is playing politics in aligning himself against his peer 2 and in favor of the teacher in a sense acting like a teacher or a parent in line 6 Note how the teacher reinforces S3 s alignment with her by paraphrasing what he says to 52 He tells 52 he should pay attention for a change and then the teacher says to 52 that he should listen for a change Language Who does most of the talking here The teacher The teacher has all the long turns and is in charge of most of the talk in terms of topics and interaction by choosing to hold the floor and instruct or to ask questions to try to draw the students out and give them a chance to be heard The teacher also shows her power by the manner of her communication with individual students as positive or negative eg compare lines 78 with 1718 She also expresses her power and control by withholding her communication and not responding to some students for example 51 in line 21 as opposed to S3 in lines 2223 S3 s many hedges and hesitancies in addition to rising pitch suggest that he is shing for what to say to please the teacher 52 shows another kind of power and control power in his peer group by making remarks that are counter to the teacher and her agenda eg in line 27 which is for the benefit of the other students m the teacher and line 33 which is directed only to the peers He has the power using language to gain the attention of the other students and to make them laugh and to do it in a way that keeps the teacher involved with him though not necessarily in a positive way see lines 2729 52 has a type of political power in openly contesting the teacher and maybe school more generally He is able to do this in part with the teacher as a participant by using humor as in line 27 Humor provides a great cover for real meanings of opposition or hostility Think of ethnic or racial jokes Contrast the case of 2 with that of 1 whom the teacher seems to ignore and who is less powerful than his buddy 52 who can lead him astray as he does in getting him involved in texting under the desk This use of language is in another arena entirely 1 and 52 have entered a different communicative space where they have all the knowledge and power SS is able to bridge the school and peer worlds in being given the floor by the teacher for a long summary of the plot of a lm all the students know well Lines 6870 suggest that the teacher bridges poorly to the peer world LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 12 Prof Martha C Pennington 5 Preview Activities 22 Types of Language Prepare to discuss Thursday next week a Differences in Spoken and Written Genres What are some of the features that differentiate the following modes of communication Conversation Lecture Story or Narrative Inspirational Speech Academic Report Scientific Report Science Textbook Art Textbook PowerPoint Presentation Webpage Literature Blog Business Letter Email Text Message Tweet Poetry b Contrast of Written Passages 1 Describe the language of the following passage and then its functions What was the author s purpose in writing this passage and for what audience Scale insects are a large group of small sucking insects Individually minute these insects live in colonies which often cover branches twigs and leaves of the plants on which they feed by sucking juices Species differ markedly in appearance Many have a scale like covering and are immobile when mature Other species lack scales but are covered with a honeydew secretion eaten by bees and ants These species move very little Legs are poorly developed Males are smaller and differ from the females when mature they have small wings N Describe the language of the following passage in a way that contrasts it with passage 1 and then compare and contrast the two passages in terms of functions purposes and audiences Predation is the eating of one animal by another The osprey and the king sher are predators on sh while the long eared owl and the barn owl are predators on rats and mice Wildlife conservation does not mean destroying every kingfisher that takes a fish or every owl that catches a rabbit The reaction of the true sportsman to the owl should be one of admiration for a fellow hunter Predators have lived for millenniums in adjustment with the creatures they hunt They never wipe out game but take their allotted percentage culling out the less wary or the unhealthy Predators are important to the natural balance guardians of the health and vigor of wildlife LA The text below is from Roger Tory Peterson How to Know the BirdsNew York Signet Books 1957 p 72 What are the purposes of this text and what kind of language achieves them Why do you think this book is so popular Doves The common ordinary park pigeon that struts like an exhibitionist before his lady love lived on cliffs by the sea in the old world and was called the rock dove The buildings of the big cities are man made cliffs in a sense so it is not surprising that pigeons escaped from domestication have gone wild in cities everywhere Throughout the world there are hundreds of pigeons and doves The terms of interchangeable and they are characterized by their plump bodies and small slender plover like bills Although a number of kinds live along our southern border the only one besides the domestic pigeon that can be found the length and breadth LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 81 Prof Martha C Pennington 1 Gendered Language Key Concepts Language difference is one way people mark identity and distinctiveness and so language difference is tied to gender Gendered language includes differences between male and female speech as well as distinctive words and communication practices of gay and lesbian speech All people have multidimensional identities tied to more than one group in their social practices including language The extent to which males and females as individuals or groups make use of the existing pool of linguistic differences is a matter of their personal history and also of choice in how they choose to construct and project their identities Men have been found to use fewer markers of politeness and more profanity than women and to dominate in conversations in mixed groups by such strategies as interrupting more and taking more and longer turns Women have been found to use more of the following features than men in conversation modal verbs may might would intensifiers such as realyand vely hedging expressions such as a little hit 5011 ofand kind of questions and rising questioning pitch and utterance tags such as isn t it or you know at the ends of sentences Some argue that rather than showing lack of power women s use of these features show positive communicative abilities in being sensitive to the audience polite and cooperative rather than competitive in conversation To the extent that gender is less rigidly defined than in the past the kinds of features reported in the 19705 and 19805 as associated with men s and women s speech are possibly less common today Boys talk tends to be overtly contestive and playful establishing dominance and pecking orders in direct ways girls talk tends to be more overtly cooperative and egalitarian establishing control indirectly through being supportive Sarah Palin vs Hillary Clinton Key Concepts The mass media greatly affect and even control our images of men and women Like their male counterparts in politics females must create an image for themselves that attracts attention that portrays themselves as a leader and ultimately that gets votes As is true for males there are limitations on what is allowed for a female in public life A further limit derives from the fact that women do not have a lot of larger than life female leaders in American history to draw from Sarah Palin s cowgirl image and emotive rhetoric contrasts with Hillary Clinton s lawyerly non emotive persona In ethos Palin goes for relatabiliiy Clinton for authority Palin plays pathos read passion to the hilt while Clinton is all logos read brains One might say Palin has deliberately played up a larger than life persona for herself while Clinton has deliberately sought to tone down her image presumably to avoid intimidating people by her intelligence and elite education Gendered Language Language difference is one of the ways people mark their identity and distinctiveness and so language differences are tied to gender Gendered language includes differences between male and female speech as well as distinctive words and communication practices of gay and lesbian speech Because of natural differences identifying almost all people as either male or female and because all societies have constructed differences in social roles of males and females differences between the speech of males and females are part of all communication in all languages In addition gay and lesbian groups have increasingly organized themselves and consolidated speci c linguistic patterns to identify themselves as distinctive groups The gay community being specifically de ned as differing from established norms tends to be more innovative or creative in expression than the non gay community both in the use of language and repertoire of speech styles LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5p 11 Week 81 Prof Martha C Pennington 2 The Speech of Men and Women Men have been found see Fishman 1983 to use fewer markers of politeness and more profanity than women and to dominate in conversations in mixed groups by such strategies as interrupting more and taking more and longer turns Women have been found see Lakoff 1975 to use more of the following features than men in conversation gt modal verbs may might would gt intensifiers such as realyand very gt hedging expressions such as a little bit sort ofand kind of gt questions gt rising questioning pitch and utterance tags such as isn t it or you know at the ends of sentences An example of use of a lot of intensi ers is shown in the following passage from a woman head teacher in England What wonderful teachers we have here And I was actually y pleased about it and I passed these on as quickly as possbe of course these reports That means that people were really y impressed by the classes here the way in which people get on with each other here and I have to tell you I am famliar with a lot of schools and I am also y impressed We were all y happy with EVER Y class Wodak 1995 p 52 Of interest is that this passage is followed by one in which the head teacher comments on some problems in the school in a way that suggests softening the blow by describing them as only A few problems and then quickly turning back to a positive message We ve still gotA FE W problems a few worries with the first year classes 771e yve still got a few probens with the discipline but I think we re hoping that soon enough it ll be all rght and we ll soon have them just like in the other classes Wodak 1995 p 52 The passage as a whole can be seen as using a sandwich technique sticking a little bit of meat the negative part of the message in between big slices of positive message Some have viewed these kinds of features as indicating that women s language is less powerful in holding the floor less and in being less direct or authoritative than language with fewer politeness and hedging markers or with more statements and falling intonation than questions and rising intonation Others have argued that rather than showing their lack of power women s use of these features show their positive communicative abilities in being sensitive to the audience polite and cooperative rather than competitive in conversation However to the extent that gender is less rigidly defined than in the past the kinds of features reported in the 1970s and 19805 as associated with men s and women s speech are possibly less common today The Speech of Boys and Girls According to Tannen 1991 boys tend to talk in ways that are overtly contestive and playful establishing dominance and pecking orders in direct ways whereas girls talk in ways that are more overtly cooperative and egalitarian establishing control indirectly through being supportive An example of little boys talk is given below There are three boys playing with a slinky on the stainNay 81 Go 82 771ese are bg shoes U 3 I ll punch him rght in the eye U N I ll punch him rght in the nose U H I ll punch him with my bg st I l And he ll be bumpety bumpety and punched all the way down the stairs UUU NWN I ll I ll I could poke your eyes out with my gun I have a gun LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics Sp 11 Week 81 Prof Martha C Pennington 3 81 A gunl I lI I even if S3 1 have a gun too 81 And I have guns too and its bgger than yours and it poo poo down Thatis poo poo All laugh S3 Now leave 82 Un uh I gonna tell you to put on on the gun on your hair and the poop wrl come rght out on his face 81 Well S3 Slinky will snap rght on your face too 81 And my gun wrl snap rght adapted from Tannen 1991 p 32 This is a typical boys conversation including one upmanship allusions to violence and guns and taboo language Although on the surface these boys may seem like they are fighting and competing they are in fact good friends having fun A lot of it is ritual eg the sequence showing the repetition and building on the previous one s claim of what they will do I lpunch him Little girls usually do not play this way or talk this way They are much more likely to play in ways that involve cooperative communication and behavior The following conversational excerpts are from adolescent girls from Detroit who are talking about moving to the suburbs and the people they met there I thought they were pretty sheltered and stu j you know because I d you know lke I used to tell them that used to go out you know and walk you know across Seven Mile and everything And they couldn t even cross the street and stu j and like I m crossing these bg main streets and you know Well it was like we were years ahead of these people it seemed we were much more sophisticated because we um you know we were all into all this stu like we we had the weirdest ideas Now this is when we were lke little kids like ten years old Um we would sit around and talk about sex and everything you know and and it seenm kind of ludicrous now because ten years old thatis lke that seenm so little But then Eckert 1988 p 195 All of the use of discourse markers such as lke and you knowand nal quotextendersquot like and stu is characteristic of adolescent speech in general but is also an indicator that a female is speaking in these passages because of the way the discourse markers are used The purpose of the speech is to show the audience how different things are in the new neighborhood as compared to the old one and moreover to convince the audience that these are actually big differences All of the instances of you knowsuggest a purpose that has to do with connecting to the audience trying to tell it in a way that the audience will understand be convinced and be supportive of the speaker The use of like introduces a type of example such as in the rst passage you know lke I used to tell them that used to go out you know and and walk you know across Seven Mile and everything In the second passage the first lke it was like we were years ahead of these people is a hedge or softener The you knowfollowing suggests that the listener knows the kinds of things they might have talked about The function of the pause filler um and discourse marker you knowin we um you know we were all into all this stu may be to give time to choose words carefully and soften the previous statement as it is a bit bold and maybe also conceited to speak of one being more sophisticated than others The expressions and stu f and everything are broad generalizations that show that the speaker could say more but does not need to be precise as the purpose is just to trace in broad outlines what is meant and to get the listener to get the broad point and show support for the speaker The extender expression and everything at the end of the statement about sitting around and talking about sex may be a sign of a little discomfort at this point or a softener meaning that is not all we talked about Gender within Multiple Identities The extent to which individual males and females as well as the males and females within particular groups make use of the linguistic differences marking gender which exist in a speech community is a matter of their personal history and also has a strong element of choice in how they choose to construct and project their identities People have a fair degree of choice in what aspects of identity they project or express about themselves to others including what LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 81 Prof Martha C Pennington 4 features of the language or behavior of any identifiable group they choose to adopt While people will have a natural identification with those who are of the same gender any male or any female can learn how to project either a male or a female identity temporarily or long term through clothing and behavior as well as through language including use of specific words expressions and communicational style or register Moreover all people have identities which are multidimensional that is which tie them to more than one group As part of the person s history their language and other social practices will usually be a reflection of this multidimensionality though there is also usually a strong element of choice in which aspects of identity a person emphasizes As an example a young man who is from the Southern part of the United States and also male African American and gay may identify strongly with any one or combination of these affiliations all of which are tied to specific features of language This man may or may not for instance gt use a lot of distinctively American English words eg awesome guys or gotten and expressions eg Vot No way Way or Gimme a break If he is living in England the young man may elect to use fewer American features as a way to adapt to British speech or to show his af liation with British society or culture or he may make a point of using American words and expressions to keep a strong American identity or to make clear his difference from those around him V speak with a more or less pronounced Southern accent If he is living in the Northern United States he may elect to move away from his Southern accent in order to blend in or he might emphasize it in order to show his difference from others where he lives gt use certain words or sentence structures characteristic of African American speech eg use of steadyto emphasize an action that occurs repeatedly as in She has a mouth on her thatis steady runnin Baugh 1978 The young man may adopt such linguistic features to identify with African American speakers or he may prefer to distance himself from African American speech by not using them gt use gay identified speech characteristics such as hypercorrect pronunciation a wide range of pitch and drawled vowels for emphasis Barrett 1997 This man may want to identify his af liation with the community by making use of such features or may prefer not to emphasize this aspect of his identity by not using them Sarah Palin vs Hillary Clinton The mass media greatly affect and even control our images of men and women emphasizing the appearance and the visual characteristics of women especially their unique physical attributes This is often not a positive thing as women as people are not the focus they are detached from their physical bodies which is what the media focus on Even such an in uential player as Oprah Winfrey is paid attention to as much for her physical appearance and for her power and skillful use of language to win friends and influence people Like their male counterparts in politics females must create an image for themselves that attracts attention that portrays themselves as a leader and ultimately that gets votes As is true for males there are limitations on what is allowed for a female in public life A further limit derives from the fact that women do not have a lot of larger than life female leaders in American history to draw from An article in the New York 77me9 Sunday magazine Traister 2011 captures this point in noting that the mythos of our founding revolves entirely around fathers save for the seamstress Betsy Ross and the querulous spouse Abigail Adams lbof Whereas Britain has a long tradition of female leaders in its great queens starting with Queen Elizabeth I and continuing on to her current namesake Elizabeth II in addition to the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher the United States it seems lacks female leaders of a mythic stature Nonetheless What we do have to serve as the foundational fantasy of female strength and individualism we ve agreed upon as embodying American power are cowgirls Annie Oakley Calamity Jane the outlaws frontier women and pioneers who pushed West shot sharp talked tough and sometimes drew blood Frontier womanhood has emerged as one of the only historically American models of aspirational femininity available to girls passive princesses and graceful ballerinas not being native to this land and one of the only blueprints fro commanding female comportment in which they are regularly encouraged to invest of to mimic Traister 2011 pp 1112 LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5p 11 Week 81 Prof Martha C Pennington 5 Given this type of larger than life role available to women in the United States Traister 2011 thinks that it s no surprisethat female political prospects have long been stronger in Western states p 12 from where both the first Congresswoman in 1931 and the first female governor in 1925 hailed As Traister also points out Wyomingwas the first territory to grant woman suffrage in 1869 p 12 The tradition of outstanding female politicians from the West has continued Traister 2011 notes in Colorado congresswoman and presidential aspirant Pat Schroeder and the Democratic convention keynote speakers Barbara Jordan and Ann Richards both Texans p 12 Sarah Palin s home state Alaska is itself a larger than life image of the Wild West populated by the hardy descendants of pioneers from the gold rush in the early days and the oil rush alter World War II and other adventuresome types willing to brave the snow the dark winters the minus degree Fahrenheit temperature and the wild animals including the moose and bear that Palin a sort of latter day Davy Crockett claims to have shot from a plane and with men outnumbering women by a large proportion In Alaska where the SUV is considered a survival vehicle everyone has guns and hunts and hiking boots and the plaid wool shirt of a lumberjack are everyday gear even for the office It should come as no surprise that Sarah Palin has the sort of swagger and braggadocio that we associate with the frontier and with the tamer of the frontier the cowboy and with his female companion and counterpart the cowgirl Traister 2011 describes Sarah Palin as a cowgirl politician whose promotion of that image is symptomatic of the too narrow ways in which the United States is willing to accept women as leaders p 11 Traister 2011 nds Sarah Palin s rootin tootin approach to image building Traister 2011 p 12 pretty sawy lbof In the view of Traister 2011 Whether you thinkthat Palin has perfected perverted or merely performed the role of frontienNoman her caribou hunting bear evading shtick has helped situate her directly in the heart of the only tradition in which America has historically been able to celebrate is mighty Women It has made sense based not only on her home state aand her constituency but also on the history of America s affection for cowgirls long contrasted with its chillier attitudes toward businesswomen brainiacs and feminists p 12 To bolster her view that the cowgirl image is one that female politicians like Sarah Palin have exploited Traister 2011 observes that even female politicians who do not t the cowgirl image may exploit some aspects of Western mythology in their image and rhetoric Even definitely uncowgirlish politicians have sought to gain ground by posing as flinty Westerners In 2007 the scarf wearing San Francisco sophisticate Nancy Pelosi made like John Wayne telling George Bush Calm down with the threats There s a new Congress in town The Wellesley educated suburbanite Hillary Clinton also did some spur checking at the start of her presidential run telling hosts of The View that we can t be patsies when dealing with China and proclaiming in town hall meetings that when attacked you have to deck your opponent True both women were maneuvering through an era of presidential bush clearing and Bush clearing MCP and swaggering diplomacy But while American history has known other kinds of male authority we ve had Yankees and peanut farmers policy wonks and orators haberdashers and honr dogs we have made considerably less imaginative space for ways in which women can persuade us of their ability to lead p 12 The quotations from Pelosi and Clinton are good examples of how politicians of either gender might exploit our common heritage in this case a knowledge of Western film images of toughness and a common knowledge of the pragmatic force of words and expressions such as patses deck your opponent and Mereis a new Congress in town or of various informal expressions with with followed by a noun phrase eg Whats up with you Whats up with that and Stop with the threats that imply criticism and challenge Naturally powerful women like Pelosi and Clinton might be drawn to such expressions to show their power Yet Hillary Clinton would not ordinarily be put in the same camp as Palin whose larger than life cowgirl image and emotive rhetoric Palin s trademark characteristics that have won her a very large number of very loyal followers in addition to a very large number of vehement critics generally contrasts sharply with Clinton s more lawyerly non emotive persona A well known SNL parody of Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton httpwwwyoutubecomwatchvFdDgSvJ6ch aptly portrays this contrast LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5p 11 Week 61 Prof Martha C Pennington 1 Media Influence Key Concepts A linguistic style or register is described in terms of the three features of Topic of communication Field Medium of communication Mode Speaker roes amp toneformality Tenor Communication genres exhibit variation in register and also in participants in terms of Who creates the words Author Who presents the words Presenter Who receives the words Receiver Those in charge of different media especially mass media have a major in uence on society and are able to create representations of the world by selecting topics the ways they are presented and the people whose voices are heard Media Influence A speci c group of language users defines a language variety eg a regional dialect or ethnic variety of speech whereas a speci c context of use defines a linguistic style or register Register is described in terms of the three features of Field topic of communication What is being communicated about Mode medium of communication Whether communication takes place by speaking or writing and whether it incorporates other forms of communication media Tenor speaker roes amp tone or formality The way speakers or writers present information For example the communication genre of news differs in register depending on whether it is presented in a newspaper a news magazine television news or internet news And there are further register differences across different types of each of these ie different types of newspapers magazines tv news shows and internet news sites Another difference is in the participants in each of these media news genres that is in whose voices are heard and to what extent they are speaking their own words and opinions or just reporting others words or ideas Three distinct types of participants can be identified Author the person who created the words and ideas Presenter a person presenting the words and ideas of someone else Receiver a person who takes in words and ideas of others Without taking any active role in producing them Media and specifically those who own and run various mass media have a great deal of influence in society and this in uence is increasing as more and more people are exposed to mass media The media influence the way that the world is represented by selecting the topics of communication the ways that they are presented and the people whose faces are seen and whose voices are heard Preview Activity 62 Contrasting News Media for Thursday What are some of the new kinds of communication that have been created on the internet and what is it about the internet that has created them b Contrast the following news media in terms of eld mode tenor and participants Field What are some differences in the topics reported Newspaper News Magazine Television News Internet News LINGPOLS 3337 Language Power and Politics 5p 11 Week 41 Professor Martha C Pennington 1 How Words Evoke Associations and Feelings Key Concepts When speakers or writers use certain words rather than other ones the particular words selected trigger certain associations rather than other ones and in this sense in uence the audience to think and feel in a certain way eg home house homeand country my home foreign country freedom fighter terrorist tree giant redwood Using language is generally more about creating feelings images and impressions than about transmitting facts Interpretation of a person s words is a matter of both digging beneath the surface and also mustering one s larger knowledge and instincts gained through a life s experience of dealing with people How Words Evoke Associations and Feelings As Benjamin Lee Whorf well understood the language we use to describe events presupposes and thus can evoke certain background assumptions about these events and as a result can in uence our behavior in relation to these events Geis 1987 p 26 When speakers or writers use certain words rather than other ones eg home rather than house homeand rather than county freedom fghtervs terrorist the particular words selected trigger certain associations rather than other ones and in this sense influence the audience to think and feel in a certain way Some words are relatively neutral in affect being essentially descriptive eg house or tree while others positive or negative affect For example for most people my home has naturally positive associations while foreign country has slight or strong negative connotations To take another example while for most people the word tree conjures up a mental picture of a tree without any speci cally positive or negative connotations giant redwood may elicit not only a mental picture of this tree but also feelings of awe admiration attachment pride and protectiveness Such feelings are based on the fact that the giant redwoods are such large trees thus might inspire awe and admiration and also that they are located in some of the US national parks which Americans take pride in and feel attachment and protectiveness towards and that those which are not in those parks are threatened by logging of the forests of the Paci c Northwest which may inspire further feelings of protectiveness People who live close to the redwood forests are likely to have strong associations for them than those who live farther away Your location in the world and your specific background will determine your specific associations for words and these vary a lot depending on your cultural and linguistic history Thus for example a person who did not grow up in the United States might not have any emotive associations for giant redwoods and in fact might not even know what these are so that the phrase giant redwood would evoke no mental picture at all To take a different kind of example a person who grew up in the Nevada desert might in fact have strong feelings for trees that would be evoked by the word tree at least as used in some contexts Within a common culture connected to a common history and language people hold many of their associations of words in common Some words are loaded with emotive associations which may stir positive feelings such as love of family patriotism or admiration or they may stir up negative feelings such as fear vengeance or racism Professional speakers and writers are well aware of the impact specific choices of words can have on their audience and so they select these with care However all of us have a knowledge of how different words have different connotations implications and force and how we can use language to soothe or to hurt to bring people closer to us or to drive them away While sometimes the choice of a specific word is automatic at other times words are selected deliberately in order to convey a certain attitude and set of associations and potentially to produce the same attitude and associations in them For example when a speaker or writer chooses to describe people as either freedom ghters or terrorists by selecting one or the other of these descriptions that person communicates whether she sees them in positive or negative terms and seeks to invoke the same positive or negative associations of these words in the mind of the audience Using language is under most circumstances more about creating feelings images and impressions than about transmitting facts Thus to really understand what a person means a hearer or reader has to look beneath the surface of their words and sentences to connect these to the entire context of everything else the hearer reader can perceive about the speaker or writer and in fact everything else the hearer or reader knows already Interpretation of a person s words is a matter of both digging beneath the surface and also mustering one s larger knowledge and instincts gained through a life s experience of dealing with people What someone says and how they use language comprise a very rich set of signals that it is up to the receiver to interpret in order to know what they are about Never assume that there is anything like a one to one correspondence between words and meanings People and life itself are far more complicated than that LINGPOLS 3337 Language Power and Politics 5p 11 Week 41 Professor Martha C Pennington 2 Appropriateness Directness Indirectness and Politeness Key Concepts Problems of communication may not be due to speakers linguistic imprecision and sloppiness their failure to express themselves clearly Language provides resources for indirectness and implication which we use a lot in communication Appropriate ways to communicate vary in different circumstances and cultures based on different views of how people are supposed to live and to behave Three things that are strongly associated with American culture and ideology are 1 Individuality We tend to be competitive and original in communication as in other things In the less individualistic cultures of Asia this communicative style may be seen as inappropriate and rude 2 Optimism and cando outlook We do not like people who communicate negativity we are not shy about standing out or stating their point of view and we like others who radiate con dence and decisiveness in their manner including their communicative style and use of language The more pessimistic British can see our optimism and can do confidence as naive and immature and as irritating when we are not sufficiently sensitive to other people 3 Gregariousness We tend to be talkative and sociable and to take the initiative in helping to make others feel at home To the more reticent British or Koreans we can seem overly talkative and intrusive Politeness is a factor in effective communication and in the choice of indirect versus direct ways of doing things with words Lakoff 1990 pp 35 39 describes three ways of showing politeness Distance ways to keep your distance and not impose on others involving formal etiquette courtesy and rigid rules of deportment p 35 as well as taboo topics for polite conversation Communication involves abstraction and remoteness passive voice avoiding personal involvement or emotion and relatively formal ways of saying things Deference putting the other in a favored and higher position that allows them to be in control and that seeks to avoid conflict Communication involves using questions to draw the other person out and give them the conversational floor agreeing with what they say not giving one s own opinion and not speaking or if requested to speak being very careful not to say anything definitive such as by rising intonation signifying uncertainty and end of sentence tags you knowor isn t it with rising intonation hedges such as salt ofor land 05 euphemisms and other indirect ways of saying things Camaraderie being open and honest treating the other as equal and trying to make them feel good Communication requires being direct the appearance of openness and niceness is to be sought above all else There is no holding back nothing is too terrible to say There are no euphemisms no technical terms there are only four letter words p 39 To be an effective communicator a person s style of speaking must consider the expectations of the audience and the occasion in making use of different types of language representing different types of politeness Language also provides resources for intentional vagueness and imprecision such as extenders that imply an extension of the category of whatever has just been mentioned etc and so on that salt of thing this land of thing or whatever Use of linguistic extenders is a common technique to bolster evaluative statements by generalizing in a super cial way I m not voting for Obama because of the war and a that Such statements encourage agreement in those who hold similar views Language is best thought of as a code or signaling system that only signals the meaning behind the words We human beings learn through interactions with our fellow humans how to give out signals that others of our species and our community understand And just as importantly we learn how to interpret those signals given out by others To be an effective communicator you have to think about creating feelings and impressions not just about transmitting information In fact information is not simply transmitted it is decoded and interpreted You have to consider many factors in making your message both decodable and interpretable by the audience to avoid misunderstanding Adopting from Grice s 1975 Cooperative Principle and Conversational Maxims communication is effective when it is of sufficient Quanti provides high Quality evidence of the speaker s meaning is delivered in the right Manner and has a strong Relation of relevance to the specific situation and audience LINGPOLS 3337 Language Power and Politics 5p 11 Week 41 Professor Martha C Pennington 3 Appropriateness Directness Indirectness and Politeness People think that problems of communication are mainly due to speakers linguistic imprecision and sloppiness their failure to express themselves clearly though not intentional Yet language provides resources for indirectness and implication We noted the example of getting someone to open a window that there are all kinds of different ways of doing this Another example is talking about uncomfortable things such as trying to get someone to lend you money A direct command of the form Give me some money is not very common and is just as likely to be the words of a robber as someone you know Getting money from another person generally requires building a case such as by describing your difficult financial circumstances and giving evidence that you are honest and a good risk or asking in an indirect way by commenting that you are down to your last dollar or can t pay the rent Appropriate ways to communicate vary in different circumstances and cultures based on different views of how people are supposed to live and to behave Three of the things that are strongly associated with American culture and ideology and that differentiate it from the ideologies of other cultures are 1 individuality 2 optimism and a can do outlook and 3 gregariousness Our stress on individuality which we have in common with our British cousins differentiates us from the collective cultures of Asia while our optimism and can do attitude as well as our openness and gregariousness differentiate us from our British cousins who are culturally pessimistic and reticent by comparison In the present era the Chinese and the Koreans share the trait of optimism and can do spirit The Chinese are also a gregarious culture in contrast to the Koreans who are more reserved In terms of communicative style the first trait means that we tend to be competitive and original in communication as in other things In less individualistic cultures this communicative style may be seen as inappropriate and rude The second trait means that we tend to see things through rose colored glasses and do not like people who communicate negativity It also means that we tend to take charge and charge ahead in spite of obstacles or other people Americans are not shy about standing out or stating their point of view and we like others who radiate con dence and decisiveness in their manner including their communicative style and use of language The more pessimistic British can see our optimism and con dence in our ability to do whatever we set our minds to even to change the world as naive and immature also as irritating when we take charge of communication and do not seem to be sufficiently sensitive to that of other people The third trait means that we tend to be talkative and sociable and to take the initiative in helping to make others feel at home To the more reticent British or Koreans we can seem overly talkative and intrusive Politeness is a factor in effective communication and in the choice of indirect versus direct ways of doing things with words Lakoff 1990 pp 35 39 describes three ways of showing politeness as summarized below Distance ways to keep your distance and not impose on others or invade their space involving formal etiquette courtesy and rigid rules of deportment p 35 as well as taboo topics for polite conversation Abstraction and remoteness are characteristic of this approach to politeness Diplomats speak of an incident when they mean that their countries are in a virtual state of war bureaucrats talk of revenue enhancementwhen they renege on a promise of no new taxes p 36 Passive voice and ways of avoiding personal involvement or emotion as well as relatively formal ways of saying things are also typical of distance politeness Deference putting the other in a favored and higher position that allows them to be in control and to have things their way and that seeks to avoid conflict at all costs such as by using questions to draw the other person out and give them the conversational floor agreeing with what they say not giving one s own opinion and not speaking or if requested to speak being very careful not to say anything definitive Characteristic of this approach to politeness are rising questioning intonation signifying uncertainty and end of sentence tags such as you knowor I39sn titwith rising intonation hedges such as soft ofor kind 015 euphemisms and other indirect ways of saying things Camaraderie being open and honest treating the other as an equal and trying to make the other feel good In this type of politeness interaction and connection are good in themselves and openness is the greatest sign of courtesy This conventional camaraderie is rapidly taking over as the preferred form of politeness for both sexes in many parts of the United States and appears to be making inroads in Europe as well Lakoff 1990 p 38 As a form of communication this way of showing respect and politeness requires being direct and so may seem impolite to people not accustomed to it the appearance of openness and niceness is to be sought above all else There is no holding back nothing is too terrible to say There are no euphemisms no technical terms there are only four letter words p 39 According to Lakoff 1990 LINGPOLS 3337 Language Power and Politics 5p 11 Week 41 Professor Martha C Pennington 4 While distance politeness has been characteristic of the middle and upper classes in most of Europe for a very long time deference has been typical in many Asian societies But it is also the preferred mode of interaction for women in the majority of societies either always or only when talking to men p 37 Modern camaraderie probably began in California as an outgrowth of the human potential movement of the 19605 and 19705 p 38 To be an effective communicator a person s style of speaking must consider the expectations of the audience and the occasion in making use of different types of language representing different types of politeness While camaraderie and intimacy with someone makes informal and direct speech comfortable and appropriate in other situations more formal and indirect ways of speaking may be more comfortable and appropriate As Lakoff 1990 observes indirect expression may arouse strong feelings of anger or fear We feel ambivalent about it sometimes thinking that a good and sincere person should say exactly what she or he means and not pussyfoot around beat about the bush or any of a host of other depreciatory terms for indirectness But as often we take umbrage at blunt expression bemoaning the lack of tact and savoir faire not to mention manner and civility p 29 It is less confrontational and demanding to ask a question like Why don t you open the window than to make a command like Open the window and it is possible to avoid unpleasantness or causing offense by being euphemistic or indirect in bringing up dif cult topics or imposing on another person to do something Language also provides resources for intentional vagueness and imprecision in the way of various types of what we might call extenders These includes etc and so on and suchike such and such that salt of thing this land of thng or whatever These sorts of expressions can be tacked onto a statement to imply an extension of the category of whatever has just been mentioned Thus ifI say I like cookies cake and that sort of thing I am being intentionally vague or imprecise in order to de ne an open category of things like cookies and cake Like other aspects of language their lack of definitiveness or precision is a feature that keeps communication interactive as the listener is in a sense invited to make a generalization that would make it possible to fill in the missing items of the same category In the example just given these would be sweet things or desserts or some such category into which cookies cakes and other things would fit This is perfectly acceptable use of language that we should not criticize people for using under circumstances of normal conversation However we should be on the lookout for these vague extenders when used in politics or in public debates where they function as ways to make blanket pronouncements against someone or something as in I m not voting for Obama because of the war and a that By referring to the war and a that the speaker is implying that there are a host of reasons not to vote for Obama besides the war but connected in some way to that war The use of these linguistic extenders is a common technique for bolstering evaluative statements by generalizing over them in the most super cial way Such general statements encourage agreement in those who already hold similar views but are othenNise not convincing and do not hold up under analysis In fact language is best thought of as a code or signaling system in the sense that it only signals the meaning behind the words and their arrangement in grammatical patterns We human beings learn through interactions with our fellow humans how to give out signals that others of our species and our community understand And just as importantly we learn how to interpret those signals given out by others as in the Pat and Marty example given before Putting the shoe on the other foot to be an effective communicator you have to think about creating the right feelings and impressions not just about transmitting information In fact information is not simply transmitted it is decoded and interpreted It goes through all kinds of filters and barriers in the audience on its way to being received What you mean or intend by your words is not necessarily what the audience gets from them To put this another way your communicative output is not necessarily identical to the communicative input that the audience obtains You have to consider many factors in making your message both decodable and interpretable by the audience in order to avoid lack of understanding or misunderstanding on the part of the audience Adopting from Grice s 1975 Cooperative Principle and Conversational Maxims communication is effective when it is of suf cient Quantity provides high Quality evidence of the speaker s meaning is delivered in the right Manner and has a strong Relation of relevance to the speci c situation and audience LINGPOLS 3337 Language Power and Politics 5p 11 Week 41 Professor Martha C Pennington 5 According to this way of looking at communication in the Pat and Marty example Pat made herhis communication to Marty just as much as is required to get herhis intended meaning across Quantity based on their common knowledge and the evidence of the letter Quality being brief and clear in the use of words and high intonation Manner and expressing meaning in a way that was highly relevant to the specific situation and audience Relation Marty responded similarly in a way that was targeted to a particular audience based on their common experience and knowledge So although quite brief and we might say telegraphic the Pat and Marty conversation achieves its communicative aims quite effectively Telling a Story What Are Stories For There is something in human nature that likes a story likes being swept up in the plot and the suspense and the sequence and the language of a story We like that stories have action which excites us twists and turns which exercise our minds and morals which make us feel wise and virtuous We like the language of stories the action words evocative descriptions and dialog We like that stories have memorable characters Whether they are unusual or recognizable types heroes or losers we have a natural tendency to relate the characters in a story to ourselves and to others whom we know or have known recognizing aspects of story characters in ourselves and those others Story plots morals language and characters teach us things make us think inspire us and make us feel on a human level People tell stories to illustrate or prove a point to entertain to inspire to make people feel to make them think and to move them to action Telling a story can be a much more effective way to get a point across than simply giving facts For example telling about a person who is suffering from poverty or a preventable disease can be much more effective in getting people to donate money than just citing facts and figures about the number of people suffering from poverty and preventable diseases Like other human beings politicians try to entertain and arouse others to feel and to act by telling stories Southern politicians are especially well known for their story telling ability Different Ways of Telling a Story Comparing the versions of Anna and Her Near Death Experience you might have noticed the following differences VERSION 1 A number of expressions build anticipation or suspense in this story highlighted in yellow Words and expressions showing the story teller s sympathetic attitude to Anna are highlighted in blue The structure of the story is a past tense narrative structure of a typical blonde joke This gives the angle of telling or view of distant observer A blonde named Anna was covered in cuts and bruises from a nje d 39 experience she had had the other day when she went horseback riding Everything wasgbirjg ne ulntil all of ud n the horse started bounding out of control Anna tried with all her might to hang on but she was thrown off Bravely she got back on the horse and struggled to stay in the saddle JustWhen itseemedlthingscouldnot possibly get worse her foot got caught in the stirrup When this happened she fell headfirst over the side of the horse and towards the ground Her head continued to bounce harder as the horse did not even slow down JU st a39s39cshe wa sgivingup h0p e39argdlosing quotconsciousness the department store manager happened to walk by and unplug it VERSION 2 In this version the background context leading up to the main action of the story is introduced in the past tense highlighted in pink up until the phrase all ofa sudden when the story shifts perspective by use of present tense in the horse Stats bounding Present tense then continues for the remainder of the story The story is segmented into episodes shown by the tense change and the short paragraphs as compared to Version 1 which is a more continuous and unified text This setting of the context in the past tense followed by the shift to present tense for the main action of the story makes a more present relevant hearer involved story As compared to Version 1 it gives the angle of telling or view of an involved or connected observer A blonde named Anna wa s coyere cl in cuts and bruises from a near death experience she had the other day when she went horseback riding Everything was going ne until all of a sudden the horse starts bounding out of control Anna tries with all her might to hang on but she is thrown off Bravely she gets back on the horse and struggles to stay in the saddle Just when it seems things cannot possibly get worse her foot gets tangled up in the stirrup and she falls headfirst over the side of the horse and towards the ground Her head continues to bounce harder as the horse does not even slow down Just as Anna is giving up hope and losing consciousness the department store manager happens to walk by and unplug it LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 72 Prof Martha C Pennington 1 Part II The Power and Politics of Language Difference Group Difference and Dominance Key Concepts Group differences based on obvious characteristics such as gender race ethnicity language and culture often lead to divisions in language power and politics that create dominant and nondominant groups Dominant groups have political economic and symbolic capital in their control of language and discourse Nondominant groups are muted both in the sense of having no voice and being backgrounded in society Language both knowing a speci c language or variety of a language and having communicative expertise gives access to political and social power that can bring muted groups into the foreground and give them a signi cant voice in society so they may join the dominant group or compete with it while maintaining aspects of their group difference Communicating Difference Through Language Key Concepts Each distinguishable group has a distinctive speech repertoire and people will sometimes use specific markers or indexical features associated with a group to signal their membership in or solidarity with that group to outsiders Yet muted groups must speak in the words and language of the dominant group or they will lose their voice in society The more people gain power and can choose their identity the more they may choose to communicate in ways that show af liation with different groups and different aspects of their identity Group Difference and Dominance Group differences based on obvious characteristics such as gender race ethnicity language and culture which people use to de ne who they are often lead to divisions in language power and politics Edwin Ardener originated the theory of muted groups to describe the secondary role played by women in society The key thesis of the theory of muted groups as further developed by both Edwin and Shirley Ardener E Ardener 1975 S Ardener 1975 19781993 is that in all societies the dominant groups control public discourse and create the social structure and views of reality that are accepted as normal and commonsensical The dominant group controls language power and politics Its way of living way of thinking and way of communicating are seen as normal or standard whereas the muted group s way of living thinking and communicating is seen as different or nonstandard While the Ardeners focused on how the dominance of men had created women as a muted group one can also note how political and corporate power both strongly correlated with wealth as both cause and effect are also the basis of social dominance and control of public discourse Both socioeconomic class and race are the basis of social dominance Ethnicity and language can also put people into favored or unfavored categories creating them as dominant or muted groups Indeed any division of people into categories can create the dominantnondominant or muted group division that impacts perception of what is normal and that also impacts language power and politics Non dominant groups often do not realize the extent to which they are being manipulated and controlled by an agenda which is far less favorable to them than it is to the controlling group A danger to the nondominant groups is that words which continually fall on deaf ears may of course in the end become unspoken or even unthought S Ardener 1978 20 In this way they become in effect muted in two senses first in the sense of having their voice muted and second in the sense of being backgrounded in the society To take an analogy they become shades of gray or pastel colors while the dominant group stands out as black and white or bold primary colors LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5p 11 Week 71 Prof Martha C Pennington 1 Bias and Packaging of Communication in Media Key Concepts The original intention of the news was to inform the people of important events and information they needed to know For media conflicts arise between being independent and fair vs presenting information keeping sponsors and others in power happy vs attracting an audience The first conflict can lead to charges of media bias The second conflict can lead to infotainment rather than news There is no such thing as unbiased communication every medium of communication and every communicator must make choices in what to communicate and how and every word has its own history and connotations Traditional News Field important topics Mode literary written or read aloud Tenor serious and unemotional Participants original participants and witnesses news writers and news readers balanced serious neutral TV News sensational sexy controversial pop topics performed verbally and visually emotive and affective original participants and witnesses presenters and commentators sensationalist sexy one sided TV news tends more to the visual and infotainment features of news shows more commentary than reporting Fox News association with big business and conservative which in the US means Republican values is a direct re ection of the values of its owner Rupert Murdoch s The News Corporation CNN which also has a strong business orientation is by comparison liberal read Democratic reflecting its founder Ted Turner Both of them differ from traditional network news on NBC ABC or CBS not in having more news even though they are round the clock news outlets but in having much more repetition of the same news and much more commentary It is doubtful that the tv watching public is always alert to the difference between news reporting commentary and political advocacy or that between news per se and entertainment The Medium of Television Key Concepts From its beginnings in the 1940 s television has been perceived as essentially a medium for entertainment that has drawn on Hollywood actors in attempting to make tv stars and gain interest from audiences The television medium has shaped Bg Ppoitics by giving politicians a medium for selling themselves and their ideas and by helping to create larger than life figures such as the movie action heroes Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norris and helped propel them to become leaders and models for leaders in the present era As to litteppoitics television has had a great in uence on our images of people women and men young people and old people rich people and poor people blacks and whites how they look how they act and how they talk Being larger than life unusual in some way but also relatable seems to be important for making it on television More than print media and possibly even more than the educational system television has a great influence on what and who gets talked about and how on whose voices are heard and so whose perceptions and biases are represented in public discourse and on what specific types of language and words become popular and widespread Tv is a highly in uential medium of communication even more so through incorporation of tv media into the internet The combination of violation of norms and relatability of characters helps to explain the popularity of many of the nonserious shows on tv including many of the people focused reality shows as well as sitcoms and adult cartoons Bias and Packaging of Communication in Media The original intention of the news was to inform the people of important events and information they needed to know From time immemorial there has been a tug of war between the owners and editors of the news media and the government as the rulers have attempted to manipulate the press to their will There has also been a tug of war between the media and the people as Geis 1987 points out LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 71 Prof Martha C Pennington 2 Judging simply from the noise level produced it would seem that the American people have a lot of complaints about the press including its arrogance and insensitivity its focus on bad news to the exclusion of good news it preoccupation with violence and its biasing of the news p 13 However charges of bias are not always what they seem The question of news bias is a good deal more complex than both critics of contemporary political journalism and journalists themselves seem to think At the very least to make a charge of bias stick one must know what the truth is so one can measure to what degree if any journalists deviate from the truth We may be sure that those making charges of bias may themselves have a point of view and as a result the charges of bias themselves result from biased perspectives Moreover it is always possible that charges of bias are politically motivated representing not an honest assessment of how well what journalist say about the world corresponds to the way the world is assuming counterfactually that we could know what is really true but an attempt to intimidate or bully the press into providing favorable treatment of the critic s perspective on events Geis 1987 p 14 A person s own bias or starting point makes a very big difference in the perception of bias A person with strongly conservative views might see a moderate conservative as liberal whereas a person with strongly liberal views might see a moderate liberal as conservative Traditionally the media have attempted to present an independent and balanced or fair view of the news though in some cases media have been in league with the government and nowadays also with global business interests in spinning the news in a certain unbalanced way that presents only one side of an issue Even those media outlets that have attempted to present news in a fair way that does not take sides or that presents information from different points of view or on both sides of issues there is always some kind of bias This is because both people and words have histories that give them a specific angle on the world and points of view In addition every medium of communication and every communicator must make choices in what to communicate and how The very choice of communicating certain content rather than different content and of communicating that content in a certain way rather than another is a kind of bias For example a news story that is presented a brief description of an event contrasts sharply a detailing of direct observations of the event quoted from eye witnesses or an in depth analysis of the causes and effects of the event Whichever choice is made is a kind of bias Thus the news in fact like all communication is not only reported but also created by such choices The individual orientations or biases of speci c reporters or publishers can greatly in uence what and how news is reported For example after 911 American media were less critical of President George W Bush than they had been prior to the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks This may have been because of their own patriotic bias or their support of the ovenNhelming force of public opinion backing the actions of the President following these attacks in taking the country into two wars In Europe in contrast news media maintained a critical outlook on President Bush and presented him in an especially negative light for waging war in Iraq and bringing European allies into that conflict The contrast in history and ideology of Americans and Europeans have been apparent in much of the reporting on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan News given on the tv can give a more immediate picture a direct view of an event rather than someone s description of it as filtered through a reporter s or presenter s language However any lm of an event is also filtered in other ways by choosing to present some aspects and not others by letting certain people s voices be heard and not others by asking certain questions of certain people and not others and by editing all of the film footage to get the best combination of visual and verbal effects the best sound bites and video bites Moreover as soon as you add in tv presenters in the way of news anchors reporters or commentators you automatically add in their own packaging of the news This packaging may be verbal in terms of their choice of what to say and how to say it as well as visual in terms of their appearance which is also a form of packaging of the message that affects how it is received All news outlets must continually seek an audience and so must present the news in a way that attracts an audience This is a reason that newspapers magazines internet news outlets and television news present not only hard news but human interest stories as a way to gain audience share It is also a reason that pictures and video are included in media and why television news media attract certain kinds of presenters These aspects of media stemming from the need to gain and retain a large audience inevitably create another type of tug of war that between presenting the new per se and presenting something that is interesting or stimulating ie between information and entertainment The more news goes to the entertainment side the less it is in fact presenting news This realization has led to the coining of the term infotaihmentto describe much of the news on television In this category especially we can include reports on celebrities and other larger than life figures who are in the public eye LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 71 Prof Martha C Pennington 3 The Medium of Television TV News Here is a contrast of traditional news and tv news in terms of field mode tenor and participants Traditional News TV News Field important topics sensational sexy controversial pop topics Mode literary written or read aloud performed verbally and visually Tenor serious and unemotional emotive and affective Participants original participants and witnesses original participants and witnesses news writers and news readers presenters and commentators balanced serious neutral sensationalist sexy one sided TV news tends more to the visual and infotainment features of news shows and also to more commentary both as a way to add visual attraction and to ll time Rupert Murdoch s Fox News Channel httpwwwfoxnewscom is one of the more extreme forms of this in comparison to CNN Cable News Network httpwwwcnncom and other tv news MSNBC and CBS ABC and NBC news in terms of field mode tenor and participants Part of the reason for Fox News greater tendency towards the more visually oriented and entertainment oriented values of the right side of the chart may be lie in its origins in 1985 as a union of a network of six television stations with the parent company of a Hollywood film company 20 h Century Fox CNN by contrast originated as a news network The Turner Broadcasting System which was bought out by Time Warner the parent company of a news magazine 77me as well as Warner Brothers studios in Hollywood Many have commented on Rupert Murdoch s intention to control public opinion through his control of so many mass media including 7716 Wall treetourna 771s Sun many other newspapers Fox News Channel Fox news Radio and increasingly B Sky B British Sky Broadcasting television network in Britain Already Fox News has a major presence in the English speaking world especially in the United States Australia and the United Kingdom and a lesser presence in other countries in Europe Latin America the Middle East Asia and Africa On television it has over a hundred million viewers in the U S alone where it dominates the other news networks CNN and MSNBC though the latter have a larger audience on the internet Both Rupert and James Murdoch his rising star son are known as strong advocates of free deregulated markets for business Arango 2011 and this orientation underlies all of their media activities This conservative business orientation which aligns with the Republican party in the US and the Conservative Tory party in the UK is the ideology of all Rupert s great media empire Murdoch senior and his Fox News channel is also associated with conservative views on climate change and environmental regulation According to 777639 New York 77me9 The liberal media watchdog Media Matters has crusaded against Fox News s coverage of the climate issue having released e mails it obtained last year in which a Fox editor told staff members Given the controversy over the veracity of climate change data we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed or cooled in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question Arango 2011 p 7 Interestingly the younger Murdoch son James has sought to link environmental protection with sound business practice Arango 2011 p 7 suggesting that if he gains control of his father s media empire in the future this may shift some aspects of its ideological focus as perpetrated through its various media outlets Fox News Channel s association with big business and conservative which in the United States means Republican values is a direct reflection of the values of its owner Rupert Murdoch s The News Corporation Murdoch s and by association The News Corporation s conservative leaning ideology make it difficult to separate reporting the news from promoting a conservative political and business agenda which in the United States means aligning Fox news Channel with the Republican Party Some see Fox News as very closely aligned with this political party and as intentionally skewing their reporting to favor its agenda as portrayed in the documentary lm Out axed Rupet Murdochis War on Journalism Greenwald 2004 even operating in the words of White House communications director Anita Dunn as its research arm or communications arm Rutenberg 2009 CNN which also has a strong business orientation but presents a less conservative Republican take on the world is by comparison liberal read Democratic CNN was started by Ted Turner who is de nitely more liberal than Rupert LINGPOLSAASTANTH 3337 Language Power and Politics 5 11 Week 71 Prof Martha C Pennington 4 Murdoch and its US news channel is a division of Turner Broadcasting System In addition the president of CNN during Clinton s second term in office was a personal friend of the President The liberal orientation of its founder and leadership are bound to be apparent in CCN s coverage of politics and other aspects of the news which may be why it is viewed more positively by Democrats than by Republicans P rez Pe a 2009 Although CNN has attempted to balance its liberal image by bringing in more conservative commentators this has generally not worked out The conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck known for his highly emotive and oppositioning rhetoric for instance lasted only two and a half years on CNN and then moved to Fox News and the outspoken and highly opinionated business news reporter Lou Dobbs had trouble at CNN that led to his leaving the channel twice once in 2000 and again in 2009 Fox News and CNN differ from traditional network news on NBC ABC or CBS not in having more news even though they are round the clock news outlets but in having much more repetition of the same news and much more commentary This makes them by nature both more selective and more opinion oriented and so more biased than the network news They are both also more prone to practice advocacyjournalism than the much briefer news shows allowing much less commentary on the traditional networks The difference between Fox and CNN is in the tenor of the commentary and advocacy journalism which is more extreme in rhetoric and combative oppositioning on the Fox News Channel mirroring the same contrast in the rhetoric of the current day Republican versus Democratic Parties It is likely that the informational content and the impact of the news pales underneath the evocative language and images invoked by the high key combative rhetoric of the Fox News commentators Although Fox News Channel promotes an image of itself as Fair amp Balanced its trademarked slogan and as differentiating its objective news reporting from its political commentary and editorial opinion Stetler 2009 it is doubtful that this dividing line can be maintained or that the tv watching public is always alert to the difference between news reporting commentary and political advocacy or that between news per se and entertainment TV Celebrities From its beginnings in the 1940 s television has been perceived as essentially a medium for entertainment that has drawn on Hollywood actors in attempting to make tv stars and gain interest from audiences Its connection with Hollywood and the film industry has shaped television to a great degree and the television medium has shaped both Big P and little p politics to a great degree In terms of Big P politics television has given politicians a medium for selling themselves and their ideas It has also helped to create larger than life legendary or stereotypic gures such as the cowboy actor President Ronald Reason and the movie action hero Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and to propel them to become leaders and models for leaders in the present era Increasingly to be accepted as a leader it is almost required that one be a highly charismatic larger than life figure a media star In terms of little p politics television has had a great influence on our images of people women and men young people and old people rich people and poor people blacks and whites how they look how they act and how they talk Being larger than life unusual in some way but also relatable seems important for those who make it on tv If a person or group can get a spot on tv or better an entire show they can have an enormous influence Once they do they have a major impact on whose voice is heard and what gets talked about such as on some personality focused shows people s daily activities bad behavior and motivations underlying their actions Once a tv legend exists they become a model and there are bound to be spin offs and imitations To take a particularly interesting example Murdoch s The News Corporation is developing an Iranian channel where they want to feature reruns of The Oprah Winfrey Show featuring a Farsi speaking woman to do the voice over for Oprah Winfrey Arango 2011 p 7 Even more than print media and possibly even more than the educational system television has a great in uence on what and who gets talked about and how It also has a great influence on whose voices are heard and so whose perceptions and biases are represented in public discourse Television also has a great influence on what specific types of language and words become popular and widespread In all of these ways television is a highly influential medium of communication whose influence has been broadened through the incorporation of television media into the internet Consider the show Two and a Half Men This is a comedy show that is supposed to be funny and entertaining Yet it also offers a certain representation of life The main characters in the show are two brothers featurin especially Charlie as played by Charlie Sheen Charlie a bad boy womanizer and a successful player with a beach AASTANTHLINGPOLS 3337 Language Power and Politics Spring 11 Week 51 Prof Martha C Pennington 1 Communicating on a Grand Scale Key Concepts Martin Luther King Jr is a great example of how powerful a person can become if she knows how to use language well He was a master of oratory who inspired people to his vision of nonviolent change by artful delivery and use of language His 1 Have a Dream Speech projected a vision of America as a better place without segregation and racism building cumulatively to that vision and reaching a crescendo of passion in the words Thank God Almighty we are free at lastquot Communicating on a Grand Scale Martin Luther King Jr The Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr is a great example of how powerful a person can become if they know how to use language well King s speeches are also a great example of communicating on a grand scale that can have an impact on people from all walks of life and across succeeding generations King was a confident and well educated man who projected power and an almost mythic quality through his words and his ability to move people He not only uplifted his audiences raising their spirits he also inspired people to take action and so had a major effect on the course of history in this country He was a highly inspirational transformative leader who used the pulpit and the podium to express and bring people into his vision which was one of nonviolent change This he did with frequent allusions to God and the Bible as well as to other symbols of American culture and ideology King also used techniques such as metaphor antithesis parallelism and repetition with great skill King was a master of oratory not only in the words he used and the way he put them together but also in his delivery the way he put those words across A main technique was a manner of delivery based in a Southern Baptist preaching style in which important words and phrases were drawn out and intoned in a manner somewhat between singing and chanting giving the words a melodic quality King s speeches which are brilliant in their combination of logos ethos and pathos created grand aesthetic constructions of language Iwould describe these as works ofat in words Like other works of art they stand as great creations of human intelligence and imagination But more than works of art they also stand as great examples of the expression of leadership power and politics through language In his I Have a Dream Speech delivered on the Mall in Washington DC on August 28 1963 King delivered what is agreed to be one of the greatest speeches in America history In it he projected a vision of America as a better place one of equality without segregation and racism He did this by building cumulatively to that vision constructing the vision step by step brick by brick until he reached a great crescendo of passion and meaning culminating in the words quotFree at last Free at last Thank God Almighty we are free at lastquot An analysis of part of the speech can reveal how King selected just the right bricks to use in his lovely edifice and how they were stacked one on the other to build cumulatively to this final message The following sketch shows both the repeated parts and how they were contextualized at each step towards constructing the I Have a Dream vision Even though negative current context 1 still have a dream It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream I have a dream that one day invocation of noble motives I have a dream that one day invocation of noble motives King started by addressing the crowd in the rst person I in a way which anticipated a declaration or promise that he was about to make and in a way which established relationship with them addressing them as my friends This was the lead up or opening to his great I have a dream vision which was the theme of the speech He introduced the theme in a sentence that started with a recognition of the current negative context even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow and stating that in spite of these dif culties 1 still have a dream This statement then became the foundation stone for the further rhetorical bricks he laid down through a combination of 1 repetition of the theme for emphasis and dramatic effect and 2 expansion of the message in a way that invoked noble motives American history and the Bible The detail can be seen in the annotation below Now I say to you personalizing the message declaringpromising today my friends establishing relationship expressing camaraderie even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow recognizing the context 1 still have a dream introducing grand vision and theme of speech It is a dream repetition for emphasisdrama deeply rooted in the American dream repetition expansion of theme through invocation of national ideology 1 have a dream repetition for p39 39 that one dav this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed we hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created egual further expansion of theme through invocation of noble motives U S Constitution AASTANTHLINGPOLS 3337 Language Power and Politics Spring 11 Week 51 Prof Martha C Pennington 2 I have a dream that one day repetition of expanded phrase for p39 39 39 on the red hills of Georgia painting a picturecreating an image allusion to slavery the sons off rmer slaves and the sons of former slave owners striking contrast parallelism repetition will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood metaphor invocation of noble motives creating an image of the vision I have a dream that repetition for emphasisdrama my four little children personalization for relatability will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character antithesis parallelism invocation of noble motives creating an image of the vision From every mountainside let freedom ring invocation of patriotic song When we let freedom ring repetition for emphasisdrama when we let it ring repetition of expanded phrase for emphasisdrama from every village and every hamlet from every state and every city parallelism repetition for emphasisdrama we camaraderie bringing the audience into the vision will be able to speed up that day when all of God39s children Biblical reference cumulation through repetition of children black men and white men Jews and Gentiles Protestants and Catholics striking contrasts parallelism rule of 3 will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual quotFree at last Free at last Thank God Almiqhtv we are free at lastquot reference to song as invocation of noble motives and major historical event abolition of slavery This speech which is the one for which Dr King is most remembered gives an idea why this man who had many other great speeches such as I ve Been to the Mountaintop and writings such as Letter from a Birmingham Jai is celebrated by his own national holiday in January every year Political Myths and Ideology Key Concepts The Conspiratorial Enemy The Valiant Leader United We Stand Man is a Rational Animal America Land of the Free America the Peaceful America the Strong America Land of Opportunity America Greatest Country on Earth America Leader of the World America Champion of Freedom Our Democracy is the Best Less Government is Better Private Enterprise and Competition Hard Work is the Key to Success Us Against Them It is a central aspect of human nature to divide ourselves into different groups or tribes into us vs others Oppositioning is a valuable tool for politicians to make clear their difference vis a vis the other candidates and parties Political Myths and Ideology Some Universal Political Myths Geis 1987 pp 26 37 drawing on the work of Edelman 1977 pp 71 81 identifies a number of beliefs or myths that are common in political discourse What Geis identifies as myths are grand themes or ideologies that may be invoked at different times and in different ways to try to inspire people to action Invocation of such myths or ideological themes using terms and ways of communicating that have many familiar and emotive associations helps to gain people s attention stoke their feelings and solidify them behind the person who speaks or writes in these terms and whatever policy or action she is behind Some of these myths are typical of political discourse and ideology the world over The Conspiratorial Enemy There is an enemy out there different from us highly organized and united and conspiring to harm us It s us against them The Valiant Leader The political leader is a brave champion and resilient fighter who can save the people She is the kind of person who can be counted on in a crisis United We Stand We can be victorious if we stand united behind our leaders and do not allow ourselves to be divided or diverted by any petty differences We are all in this together and must work for even sacrifice for our common ends Man is a Rational Animal We are all rational and logical and so can be counted on to do the sensible thing1 In the view of Geis 1987 American presidents often use these myths or themes to represent events in terms that are both highly evocative but also ultimately overly simple They often involve painting ourselves in all positive terms as a united and valiant ingroup and opposing our ingroup to an outgroup in all negative terms as The Other or The Conspiratorial Enemy whose leaders are cowards and whose people are irrational troublesome and perhaps divided as 1The labels are from Geis 1987 pp 34 35 based on concepts from Edelman 1977 summarized here in my terms AASTANTHLINGPOLS 3337 Language Power and Politics Spring 11 Week 51 Prof Martha C Pennington 3 well The Tea Party wing of the Republican Party uses such rhetorical oppositioning and contrasts to de ne its difference both from Democratic liberals and from less conservative Republicans To take a more extreme example alter the attacks of 911 the Bush administration was able to paint the Al Qaeda enemy as so evil and so other that captured suspected terrorists were put in a new unlawful combatant category of people who were not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions guaranteeing against torture and holding people in prison for long periods without charge Us Against Them David Berreby in his book Us and 77mm Understanding Your Tribal Mind Berreby 2005 stated that it is a central aspect of human nature to divide ourselves into different groups or tribes into us vs others It seems to be a natural human tendency to classify people we do it automatically when we rst see or meet a person based on outward appearance clothing accent content and style of speech and behavior In each country or culture and in each era there are myths or generalizations categorizing people in certain ways based on past experience stereotypes or prejudice We can all ll in the blanks with some typical views of people in the present or past eras Womenmen are Teenagersold people are WhiteBlack people are People from are People wearing are People who have are We have a tendency to define ourselves as much if not more by what we are not as by what we are Our oppositions de ne us as individuals Thus for example little boys seeks to de ne themselves as different from little girls and as the same as their fathers as against their mothers and adolescents seek to define themselves in opposition to their parents and the older generation in general It is part of the growth process that one seeks to de ne a unique self increasingly as different from all others Our oppositions also define our affiliations the groups to which we claim membership and by implication those to which we do not belong and the categories and attributes in terms of which we can be described Once a group is defined and once we are a member of it we have a strong feeling of group identity Experiments in psychology show how people will act in ways which disadvantage and even harm such as b administering an electric shock members of an arbitrarily composed ad hoc group different from the one to which they have also been arbitrarily assigned by an on the spot by the experimenter Such oppositioning tendencies that create or strengthen in group bonds even as they define and characterize an out group are exploited by politicians to create national pride and to win support for aggression against other nations The grosser and more simplistic the attributed difference the better Defining a sphere of meaning in terms of polar oppositions or the presence vs the absence of a quality substitutes simplicity and clarity for complexity and ambiguity These sorts of black and white classifications or simpli cations have advantages for perception and communication in saving time and thought In general the more the out group is defined as the opposite in every way or in every meaningful way the more effective the effort to paint them as inferior and to be despised Thus Hitler exploited a simplistic opposition to The Other in the Jews just as America and the Soviet Union both used communism vs capitalism though with opposite valency as a principle contrast that could define national aspirations In the same way Edwin Said 1990 maintained that the West and the Orient formed one of these bipolar pairs by which we de ne ourselves Thus West defines East and East defines West as possessing the opposite of all its characteristics and values These are always simplistic views and when looked at in more detail at the microscopic level of individual human beings there are always far more similarities than differences across these divides Nevertheless the tendency to oppositioning persists because of its utility in thought and communication Staking out a de nite position in contrast to an Other is a way to sharpen points of disagreement In this sense oppositioning is a valuable tool for politicians who to gain support and votes must make crystal clear their uniqueness and difference vis a vis the other candidates and political parties As a result politicians and political parties are prone to focus much more on points of disagreement than agreement and to exaggerate often to a great extent the extent to which they differ They may for example make key differences their talking points and skew discussion only to these points This can greatly bias the audience so that they forget about many important topics and only notice what the politician wants them to notice the key points brought out in their public discourse American Myths or Ideologies AASTANTHLINGPOLS 3337 Language Power and Politics Spring 11 Week 51 Prof Martha C Pennington 4 Certain beliefs or ideologies are specifically American serving to de ne our country as against others Thus for example Martin Luther King in his I Have a Dream Speech was able to build his grand vision on a shared ideology of America Land of the Free We are a country where everyone is free to do as she pleases The I Have a Dream Speech in fact points out that this ideology is more of an ideal more of a dream than a reality Many of our shared values or visions of our country are more ideology or mythology than fact An example which Geis 1987 points out as a deeply felt mythic American theme p 34 is the following American sic the Peaceful we are a peace loving people who engage in hostile behavior only when forced to do so ibid p 34 Geis notes this theme underlying President Reagan s address to Congress on April 27 1983 about the American response to guerilla activity in Nicaragua and El Salvador when he asks Must we sit by while independent nations of this hemisphere are integrated into the most aggressive empire the modern world has seen Are democracies required to remain passive while threats to their security and property accumulate These are what is known as rhetorical questions meaning questions in form only as they in fact presuppose their answers and assume that all will agree In the case of these two questions the presupposed answer is no and the assumption is that based on our common heritage and beliefs about our country all will agree with the propositions We must not sit by while independent nations of this hemisphere are integrated into the most aggressive empire the modern world has seen Democracies are not required to remain passive while threats to their security and property accumulate It is notable that in his Nobel Peace Prize address President Barak Obama made the point that a state may wage war only if it is waged as a last resort or in self defense if the force used is proportional and if whenever possible civilians are spared from violence In making this point Obama was by implication putting America in the category of peaceful nations that would not go to war by choice and would only do so as a last resort or in self defense In so doing Obama gave a justification for America s war in Afghanistan as being something we did not want to do but were forced to a war of necessity and so a just war as opposed to a war of choice that could have been prevented as Obama has sometimes referred to the war in Iraq Note that the phrase just war is interpretable based on the meaning of its individual components in combination and also that it attaches the positive connotations of the adjective justto the meaning of the noun war By contrast war of choice does not have any specific meaning based on the grammatical construction and dictionary definitions of the words used on the face of it we do not know what this phrase means However it gains a specific meaning by contrast with war of necessity of a war that iswas not necessary thus suggesting that it iswas preventable and so might be unjusti ed and so potentially unjust This is an example of how words gain meaning in context both historical context and the context of other words The myth or ideology of America the Peaceful is in fact subsumed it seems to me under a different theme that of America the Strong We are strong and will fight when it is necessary OthenNise we will remain at peace In the history of our country we have not especially been uninvolved in wars Rather we have been noted as fierce fighters for various causes that we thought were worthwhile starting with our own independence and more recently in the wards begun in retaliation for the attacks of 911 Much of the Bush administration s rhetoric around the war in Iraq was intended to portray the United States as a powerful country that would mercilessly attack its enemies and that could not be beat down There are other pervasive American beliefs of mythic proportions that underlie and are presupposed in our political and other public rhetoric Iwant to add five other strong American ideologies which I have noted in our culture and our public and political discourse and which different people will consider to be truths beliefs or myth depending on their perspective America Land of Opportunity We are the country that offers the most opportunities for people to develop and advance themselves America the Greatest Country on Earth We are the greatest country that has ever existed on earth America Leader of the World America leads the world in all things America Champion of Freedom America is the freest country and the champion of freedom for all countries We always support freedom and democracy all over the world AASTANTHLINGPOLS 3337 Language Power and Politics Spring 11 Week 51 Prof Martha C Pennington 5 Our Democracy is the Best Government America is a democracy which is the best form of government and the one which all people want The first of these is a traditional American ideology that has more recently evolved into the second theme and led to the view that can be heard expressed a great deal lately that everybody naturally wants to live in America This second theme is closely related to the third theme that being the greatest country on earth we lead the world in all things These notions are related to the view of America as the example and champion of freedom around the world based on our concept of democracy America as a democracy is the land of the free and of freedom of opportunity which has created wealth and military and cultural dominance and so proves that our government is the best and the one that all people should want Other pervasive American ideologies which many subscribe to are the following Big Government is Bad Government or The Less Government the Better Too much governmental control or involvement interferes with freedom and prosperity In general government is not a good thing and the government is not to be trusted Private Enterprise and Competition Drive a Strong and Prosperous Country As everyone works individually and competitively based on individual talents and initiative and looking out for hisher own best interest this will produce the most positive effects By implication public institutions and cooperation limit achievement and prosperity and so are not a good thing Hard Work is the Key to Success The so called Protestant Ethic of making one s way in the world and getting ahead through individual effort There is a strong tradition in America of independence and self sufficiency supporting these grand themes which like the ones above are pervasive in our thinking and our discourse By way of comparison and contrast the Chinese strongly agree with Americans that Hard Work is the Key to Success though they would attribute this notion to a Confucian rather than a Protestant ethic while they strongly disagree that Big Government is Bad Government From a Chinese perspective Big Government is needed to ensure unity stability and safety and to prevent the chaos that results from an every man for himself ideology of everyone operating according to individual interests without a care for the good of all Increasingly however the Chinese have come to share the view that Private Enterprise and Competition Drive a Strong and Prosperous Country Europeans in contrast to both Americans and Chinese tend not to agree very much with any of the above three myths or themes of American politics and culture as they have more positive views of government and socialism and are less inclined to believe that private enterprise competition and individual effort are the main drivers of success This is perhaps natural in a part of the world where wealth and position was typically inherited and where accident of birth and social class as much or more than individual effort historically determined people s opportunities If one believes in America the Land of Opportunity and that Hard Work is the Key to Success one tends to attribute a lack of success to not taking advantage of opportunity or not working hard This has led to a view of The Lazy Poor the poor are poor because they do not take advantage of the opportunities the society makes available to all Geis 1987 p 28 An alternative ideology is that of The Poor are Victims the poor are poor because they are the victims of economic social ethnic racial etc injustice Geis 1987 p 28 Both of these views exist in this country at the present time and both put all poor people in the same category either as lazy or victims thus as not us but them Reagan vs Bush Key Concepts The Great Communicator Ronald Reagan Big Man in the Saddle President Reagan created a cowboy myth around himself and used language skillfully with humor and ambiguity The Not So Great Communicator George Bush aka Beat Around the Bushquot The first President Bush communicated skillfully in prepared speeches but was othenNise meandering and awkward The Great Communicator Ronald Reagan Big Man in the Saddle Reagan was a big man who had a ranch in the mountains above Santa Barbara California rode horses and had played cowboys amid other roles in Hollywood movies The image which he cultivated as President was a highly confident and independent rather macho cowboy image He projected himself as a Valiant Leader in his attacks against the Soviet Union terrorists countries that he believed supported terrorism Nicaragua etc Geis 1987 p