Social context looks at relationships between language and society It considers the relationship between a person's language and their social identity. . look at the relationship between language and power and attitudes. identity, my name. The second question that typically follows in the society unpack the correlation among language, culture, and identity. I will also address the Words, language, have the power to define and shape the human experience. Language serves different functions in different societies. Language as index; Identity; Power; Solidarity; Sentiment .. These are central questions in analysis of power relationship as displayed in language use within a community (Ibid). . Qualitative research · Racial Discrimination · Restorative Justice · Secondary.
It being merged with Arabic, it appeals to their religious sentimental values. Amharic accessed Christianity first and was used to serve an instrumental function in the church, next, of course, to Geez.
The fact that Christianity enjoyed political and spiritual predominance that allowed the extensive use of Amharic around church, elites and the privileged status gave it a way to mold the culture according to it. Furthermore, the preexisting state employed the use of Christian culture to achieve national integrity or state nationalism. In response to the need to reaffirm the fact that the Muslims residing in Ethiopia are Ethiopians, they use their local languages, Amahric in the case of ASMCW to explain their other culture, Islam.
However, they are not in a position to use Amharic without some kind of linguistic modification so that it tells their religious identity too and so that it is empowered to serve the purpose of explaining sacred or religious concepts. Arabization is the major technique implemented to Islamize many countries including Sudan. Islam was not introduced nor expanded in Ethiopia in such a way. Arabic speaking immigrants have brought Arabic and Islam to Africa since the seventh century on wards [ 6 ].
The local Muslim scholars, who have contributed much to the Islamization of the Ethiopian society, employed the technique of Arabizing of the local languages to facilitate the extension of the faith. The Wollo Muslims tried to indigenise Islam Alula Pankhurst [ 7 ], as an expansion of the endeavour to reclaim their identity. The indigenization process took different linguistic and non-linguistic cultural forms.
Linguistically, modifications such as code-switching, code-mixing, extensive loan words from contact with Arabic and Oromifa languages, diglosia, and others have been employed to accommodate Amharic to explain Islam. There are Arabic words, expressions, verses, sayings and quotes that have to be said in Arabic language only where translation is not an option. The fact that they have to be said does not weigh any more than the fact that they have to be said in Arabic language only.
Ajami is an original form of Islamic poetry recited in Amharic but written in Arabic script. Islamic poetry written in Amharic with Arabic script demonstrates how the Wollo Muslims try to accommodate Amharic local concepts to the explanation and interpretation of Islam. If it was not for the need to reveal the Islamic identity of the group, the original Amharic did not have to be modified. In Ajemi9 manuscripts, the language is vernacular but the script is Arabic.
Hence, Muslim Amhara scholars tend to use the Arabic scripts with Amharic to narrate anything that has to do with Islam.
From the perspective of communication, this would help them to understand religious concepts. The audience would also be interested to hear the religious ideas in their mother tongue as this would uplift the position of their language.
Extensive loanwords, code-mixing and codeswitching are also used by the target group to mirror their Islamic identity. Naming is another case in point: So, they name their children by Amharic names. They also identify themselves as Muslims, and so, they name their children by Arabic names too. Amharic and Arabic names are available for the community. For example, such names as Ahmed Kebede, and Alemnesh Hassen are very common. Such names could tell that the individual is from Wollo and he is either a Muslim or a Christian.
Amharic names like Kassa, Belete, Emawaysh are also named after the experience, feelings and emotions of the parents. Consequently, pure Amharic names were very common in the traditional Muslim community of Wollo. A person named Haylu Tefera, Amharic only, could be a Muslim. Recently, however, this tradition is being challenged by the awareness of the Islamic identity of the community and the confusion of the people about how to be Amhara and Muslim at the same time.
Nowadays, therefore, the people of this community are changing their naming tradition. The immediate question will be why? Such individuals would find a hard time to be accepted and identified as Muslims before they confirm that they are.
On the contrary, those whose names happen to be Arabic are free of this trouble since the name itself serves as a label of their Islamic identity. Language as an expression of power Power is not something that persons pull out and use it on others.
Real power comes in when the people on whom the power is being acted on must believe in it [ 11 ]. There are many sources of power [ 12 ]. These are central questions in analysis of power relationship as displayed in language use within a community Ibid. Kiesling [ 11 ], distinguished seven types of power: Language is used both as a passive means of exercising power and an active player of it. It plays a passive role as a medium of turning the physical coercion in to influence whereas it plays an active role when the words, expressions or sayings themselves reflect the power of the speaker to tell, excite, insult, trigger, motivate, hurt, and create any other feelings.
Language can emotionally affect us as powerfully as actions as or even more powerfully than physical measures. This exhibits the power of language. The power, however, is not embedded on the words but on the speaker. This is the role of language as an expression of power. Ideological power gained In the primitive society, source of power was physical coercion.
Because humans were not in a position to exploit logic, the most physically fit was justified to rule the rest. This could be why women were physically coerced by the power of men. Likewise, those who are physically able to manipulate others have long been powerful over others. Those who have power exercise it by coercing or through consent of others who do not have power. In ideology driven power, since the people agree that the ideology is a favoured one, the powerful group uses it as a means of dominating others and exercising power over the others [ 13 ].
Islamic teachings give due emphasis to the significance of Arabic knowledge to understand Islam. Consequently, it is only natural for non-Arab Muslims to want to learn Arabic. Moreover, some sayings are said to have rewards in the sight of Allah when said in Arabic than otherwise. These teachings and many more affirm for the Muslims the prestigious position of Arabic to any other living language. It is considered by Muslims as a heavenly language.
Today, Arabic is the most powerful language for Muslims than any other language, even English, the most widely spoken language throughout the world, for that matter. The power and superior position that Arabic enjoys resulted from its attachment to the religion Islam. Here, it is clear to observe the fact that Arabic detached from Islam does not have such power on nonnative speakers, for example. Furthermore, since the language is highly considered for someone to be a Muslim, the message presented in it is also considered as much holy as the religion itself.
The holiness that is attached to the religion and the language through which the religion is revealed might not exist among non-Muslims because neither the religion nor the language has such value for them. Arabic, in turn, gives power to those who speak it.
More respect, attention, and interest is shown to those who use some Arabic expressions when preaching, conducting religious ceremony and doing any social activity for the target Muslim community.
The same message when said in Arabic has more power and chance of being accepted or taken seriously or given weight by the listener than otherwise. The message religious has more power when said in Arabic-mixed language than in any local language. Arabic is used in a diglossic relationship with vernacular languages of Ethiopia [ 6 ].
The Wollo Muslims shift from Amharic proper to mixing Arabic and Amharic since they feel that religious themes loose their values when discussed in Amharic [ 14 ]. The Arabic expressions have a very deep spiritual impact on the Muslim believers of that area. To this effect, expressions that deal with God, Prophet Mohammed, prayers, worship and religious concepts are expressed in Arabic than any Amharic equivalent. By using the modified variety, the speakers gain ideological power and they exercise it to manipulate those who believe in the ideology.
Amharic or the local language empowered The in-group language use of the community involves Arabic as a reinforcer of power in their social construction. The speech code gained power over the other varieties of Amharic Perhaps the Addis Ababa dialect or the Wollo Dialect as the latter is detached from the ideology that the power is originated.
This so happens obviously because the variety is so close to Islam than Amharic. The power of the code is gained from the religion of the target community. The code is empowered as it is modified by loan-words, code-switching, code mixing and other linguistic phenomena in order for the language to be able to explain religious concepts that are sacred. This makes it appear in a diglossic situation to Amharic. This means that the modified Amharic is the high variety that is entitled to serve the purpose of prestigious religious services and Amharic is the low variety to serve the day to day communication transactions.
Social structure modified Communication and social structure are interrelated. Social categorization is a significant part of social system and language plays central role as it is used to mark them [ 15 ]. The mark determines the power structure of the categories. The communication pattern and social structure are interrelated. Language plays direct and indirect control forms of influencing people such as threats, curses, teasing, and gossip [ 15 ].
The social structure of the ASMCW is modified in line with the macro culture of Amhara society and the micro culture of the Arab society imported through Islam.
Social status marks are, for example, Shekh, Haji, Imam, Muazin came from the latter source. Such honorific terms are used for respected personalities that hold social power that esteemed from their age, political, social, economic, educational religious or secular status.
The social structure of the ASMCW that determine power relationship of the speakers is, therefore, categorized based on Amhara and Islam cultures. Religiously figured personalities are entitled to power that the ordinary members are not. They are assumed to be closer to God in some way than others. These individuals use their power that they gain through the ideology.
The followers gave their consent to be manipulated. The powerful personalities exercise their power through the in-group code. Conclusions The modification of the language is justified by the functions it serves for the speech group. Language indexes other functions. The social meanings of language that the speech group deviate for are to express their identity, power, tolerance, solidarity and other attributes.
Identity, power, tolerance and solidarity are embedded in the communication system of the target community. As an attempt to preserve and sustain these elements, language as an expression of identity, power, tolerance and solidarity, the Muslim Amharic speakers have formed a sociolinguistic solution as the problem itself is strongly related to the language they speak.
The solution is the formation of an in-group code, a modified variety of Amharic. They have customized the language as an expression of their values-religion and ethnicity. The identity of Amhara Muslims undergoes reconstruction. The reconstruction diffuses both Amhara and Islamic cultures and comes up with a new culture. This new culture reveals itself in the language of the community, which is a modified variety of Amharic.
This variety of Amharic has gained power over the standard Amharic among the Amhara Muslim Community of Wollo as the regular Amharic is detached from Islam. This happens, obviously, because the modified variety is so close to Islam than the regular one.
Since the IGC is more close to Arabic by way of borrowed words and structures, it has more power for the speech group than the Amharic variety spoken around. To this end, Wollo Muslims made every effort to make sure that their linguistic identity could also incorporate their religious identity.
The community owns and practices the discourse of solidarity. There are many social practices that exhibit how the community cultured and make tolerance a rule of communication. In their language use, tolerance is an important discourse that has been valued by the people.
The in-group code is used as an expression of tolerance and solidarity. They use it to seek a common ground, approval and sympathy. It would seem that they see it just as we do. Would their world view shift depending on the language they were speaking? Another example of this theory is the often-cited fact that Eskimos have lots of different words for snow, so it means they actually see different kinds of snow, whereas we only see "snow". But this isn't really true because we can use words to describe the snow if we need to, e.
We aren't tuned to thinking about it that way, but if it becomes important, we can easily do so. We might not know the names of different makes of car, but still be able to tell the difference between a Fiat and a Rolls Royce, for all that.
So could an Eskimo, even if the Inuit language didn't have the exact words. Besides which, Eskimos don't really have all those words for snow - it's just one of those pieces of information that everyone repeats and no-one has checked if it's true. If you check, you find it isn't true! There is an important lesson here that linguists can learn: Any Hopi or Inuit could have told us immediately that this was a load of nonsense, but no-one ever thought to ask them.
Many people, including linguists have done the same when describing sign languages, too. Often they have said things that people have come to believe when deaf signers have known it wasn't true.
The point about the story is that this sort of control does not really work, and cannot work because if we do not have words for our thoughts, we just create them anyway. Still, some politicians and businesses do like to believe that the language we use will affect the way we think about something.
So, language doesn't affect what we can see in the world, but it is still possible that language affects people and society because maybe language still affects the way we can think.
Language, power, and identity
Some people say that sign languages don't have abstract signs because all signs are iconic and so deaf people can't think about abstract things like love, bravery, inflation, investment for the future etc. IF this was true, then we could say this was an example of language affecting people.
BSL can express anything that English can. A linguist called Basil Bernstein found that middle class children used an "elaborated" code of English in school.
This meant they used more abstract words, less context dependent words and more complicated sentences. Working class children seemed to use a more "restricted" code. This meant using more concrete words, more context-dependent and less complicated sentences. So some people but NOT Bernstein said this means working class children can't think in abstract ways because their language doesn't allow them to. This, of course, is nonsense.
Just as with deaf people. All it means is that the children used different ways of expressing the same thing. One example of the way that language is said to affect society is in sexist language. The theory is that language affects the way we view men and women because it treats men and women differently.
If you use words like chairman or fireman it implies only men can do the jobs, so women feel left out. It is worth noting, though, that the form of the words can influence our view of things. Another feature of English that might exclude women is the use of "him" to mean "him and her". This way the language may create sexism in a society. But really, it's more likely that the society made the language sexist, eg using words to put women down like chick, bird etc.
Language, power, and identity
Bird used to refer to men and women, but now it is just derogatory to women. BSL does not have gender pronouns to correspond to he and she, but does this make the deaf community any more or less sexist? It is possible that signers look at the world differently from speakers, because sign languages are visual and spatial.
If you think in a language that concentrates on order and space, then you are more likely to look at the world like that. One of the biggest blocks to hearing people learning signed languages rather than signed versions of spoken languages is learning to think about the world so that it is spatially organised.
Note, though, that hearing people are fully capable of seeing the world spatially - it's just that they aren't used to building space into their language.
We have seen, then, that to some extent, language can have an effect on the way we think. We need to consider the attitude that some people have towards their own language, and attitudes that other people have.
The language that we use can make a big difference to the way that we see ourselves, and the way society sees us. It can also influence the way we relate to society.
Find out which adverts on television have regional accents of English, and which have "middle-class accents. What products are they advertising? Can you spot any pattern? Accent is very important in Britain. Advertisers on television only use regional accents for voice-overs if the product is cheap or if the aim is to amuse. Serious things or expensive products use the voices of middle-class men.
During the war, the BBC had to use "middle class" speakers the read the news because no one believed the people with regional accents.
This has now changed, which goes to show that social factors in languages do vary and change over time. However, not all regional accents have the same social acceptability and "broad" that is, strong regional accents are still cannot be too strong for some media broadcasts. Everyone seems to have an idea what is a "good" language or variety and what is a "bad" one.
This opinion is entirely socially conditioned. Sometimes people with power e. Sometimes it is just ordinary members of a language community who have these views.
Linguistically they are all the same, because they can all communicate in the same way, but they just have different social values. In the past, many deaf people weren't proud of their language and even denied they used it. Now, there is more pride, but many deaf and hearing people still think it is not a "good" language, or that English is in some way "better".
English is not "better" than BSL in any way, except that it does have a higher status in British society. Social context will look at the relationship between language and power and attitudes to language.
The language that someone uses may influence other people's attitudes towards them. People have fought and died for language e. In some countries in the world, you can be arrested for speaking a forbidden language. The history of BSL is closely tied up with power. We can think of some of the abuses of children caught using signing in school.
We can think of hearing people telling deaf people that they are stupid because "Deaf English" is influenced by BSL, so it looks like "bad English".
Deaf people are often denied access to all sorts of jobs, or roles in society e.