Language is a significant part of anyone, it shapes how you are viewed, how you act etc. Personally I rarely consciously think about my language use in different scenarios, it is all a subconscious habit formed over years of taking in my scenarios and being able to react to be able to fit in or show respect. When you are able to finally analyze your language use, you are finally able to unfold your true personality and how you have come to act in the way you do at times. This is what makes your language so personal and intricate.
How I speak with my extended family
I find that when I change my language around my extended family it is often as a result of wanting to show politeness and/or status. I find that when I am around my paternal grandparents I am less formal and speak in a much more relaxed fashion, however, whenever I am around my maternal grandparents I speak much more covertly prestigiously. For example, with my paternal grandparents, I feel free to use slang, even though they may not be able to understand it, however, with my maternal grandparents I feel as if I have to use the standard English. I think this is firstly because I see my paternal grandparents much more often so I feel comfortable to speak in a more relaxed fashion, however, I also believe it goes deeper than that. I think that since my maternal grandparents both come from a very high class rather than my paternal grandparents who are more working class I believe that I feel like I have to rise to their level of standard as they are of a high class, thus I have to show respect by using the more overtly prestigious standard English. In my family, when we have large family dinners, it often ends with debating over very controversial topics because my extended family comes from many different generations which of course have different opinions than others. I find that in these debates, I significantly change my language use to use very advance overtly prestigious words such as words normally found in MUN debates, words that are defiantly not in my idiolect. I think I do this because with me being much younger than many of my cousins, aunts, and uncles, I feel as if I am not taken as seriously and they will look down on me and my views because I am not of the same status as them. Thus I believe that if I use very complex prestigious words. I am and what I’m saying is being taken seriously.
Cultural influences on my language
In Scotland, especially in Glasgow, swearing isn’t as seen as much a taboo at all. Swearing rather than having a negative and rude connotation, it is seen more as words to exaggerate a point. For example, the word ‘fucking’ is a standard synonym for many for the word ‘very’. This has definitely influenced my views on swearing and in turn has made me swear quite a lot, especially when I am with my extended family as they are all Glaswegian. As a result, swearing has defiantly become one of my main idiolects and has resulted in some conflicts, as many cultures view swearing as a taboo and very aggressive. Furthermore, another cultural influence on my language is London and regional slang that is used there. Personally, I am very attached to my London roots I think this is because I don’t get to go home as often as my other family members and friends. This results in me tending to use London slang quite a lot such as using ‘peng’ as pretty or using the phrase ‘oh my days’ etc. I believe I do this because I feel as this is my personal way to keep connected to London even though I am halfway across the world. This example how closely connected language relates to culture and Identity. What I believe as a significant part of my identity (being British) has been shaped by my languages as result of my culture.
How my gender influences my language
I believe that my gender has an influence on my language in the way my language changes when I talk to my other girl-friends rather than when I talk to boys I am close to. When I talk to other girls, I am much more outgoing, loud etc and this is seen through not only my language but also my para-language. However, when I am around only boys my language and para-language are normally toned down. When I am around girls, I swear much more and my language I use is much more infantile and I won’t use much thought, for example instead of trying to think of the name of something I will say, ’that thingy’. My para-language is also much more hyper and rough, for example, I will jump and sometimes ‘play fight’ with my girl-friends. However, when I am around boys, my language is slightly more sophisticated however I still use covertly prestigious words. However the biggest change is definitely my para-language, my para-language changes to be much calmer and will be more ‘touchy’. For example, I am more likely to purposely stand close to a boy than I am with a girl. I think this is a direct result of being a teenage girl, I am more likely to show my ‘true self’ to girls because I am more likely to be closer to them than other boys, which is why I am more open and outgoing around them.Furthermore, being a teenage girl I want to try to impress boys, which is why I am less extravagant and calmer and intelligent.
Slang use in my Language
Personally, I use a lot of slang in my personal language. However, since I have never lived in a country for more than five years and have been to international schools for half my life, a lot of my slang is a mixed from different countries and regions. As I said before I use London slang such as ‘peng’ etc, however throughout the years since I have had many different friend groups, with different cultures in them, I have been able to develop slang from many different countries and regions. For example, in Hong Kong, I had close Kenyan friend and have picked up some Swahili slang such as a substitute for saying a stupid person is “zuzu”. Even though when I say slang words from different parts of the world many people don’t understand what I mean, I still enjoy using them as they all remind me of my old friends and the memories that come with that.
Stereotypes and judgments
Personally, I don’t believe an accent that you can pinpoint, as I’ve spent my life moving around I have developed a very international accent meaning there is not many stereotypes and judgments that are connected with the way I speak as you can not determine the culture I come from. However because I’ve been privileged enough to have a good education, the language I use is that of one who has been well-educated, this comes with a good connotation and stereotype that I am intelligent, which is a stereotype I am proud of. Even though I don’t have a Glaswegian accent I do have a connection to it as my whole family has one, thus I know the stereotypes and judgments that come with that accent. Such as Speakers with a Glaswegian accent are often stereotyped and perceived as a “hard” predominantly white working class.This is because Glasgow was very prominent in the industrial revolution with having many factories and physical labor based jobs, compared to its more sophisticated and intellectual neighbor, Edinburgh. However, through the years they have also been able to achieve being perceived as very welcoming to tourist and each other.
Forces and changing values that gave shaped my language
the English language is constantly changing due to significant people at the time, political climate, convenience etc. The example of this being the fact that England uses to speak French because of William the conquer. The fact that language changes over time as a result of convenience, for example, William Shakespeare making up words to suit his plays, has impacted me because personally, I use a lot of abbreviations in my day to day life when speaking. An example being I say “omg” instead of “oh my god” or “lol” to express if something is funny. The reason why abbreviations were developed was for the prime reason that they are more convenient, as you don’t need to say the full word. Abbreviations show how language has developed as 100 years ago, you would have never heard anyone saying “Omg”.
In summary, my personal language has been influenced greatly by the opportunities and experiences that I have been able to have. However, despite these incredible opportunities, I have still been able to hold on to as much as I can to my family and their roots, through my language use. Language is a very important part of my identity and it is being shaped and molded every day in and by different social scenarios and social groups. My language will change as an I grow up, as it already has, and through that I will be able to learn a deeper understanding of my personality.