Maintaining Social Distinctions Through Context Specific Language Use

Maintaining Social Distinctions Through Context Specific Language Use

As a communication tool, language presents various elements of the social environment through which social distinctions can be realized. By maintaining context-specific language, social elements including identity, variables, power, and multi-linguicism are depicted. Language itself is described as an expressive tool that can be used in the societal context to bring about different characteristics. As a societal construct, language, when used within particular society contexts, helps in the conveyance of group discourse and membership, and can be used as a characterization and thus social distinction factor in any society. Through its association with membership and discourse, it also helps in the distinction of community and social identities. An example is the use of language among people of different ages as depicted by Brondo (68). The language used in specific contexts differs from one group to another hence distinguishing people by age.

Similarly, language forms the basis of social distinction through its contextual use to depict social variables including the perceptions of class, gender, age, and social standing among other factors. Such distinctions arise due to the application of specific languages to the contexts in which such social variables are evident. Furthermore, the use of language across a variety of contexts helps to distinguish social settings based on the power associated with them. For instance, in the societies that have a high rating on the power distance cultural dimension, it is highly likely for the use of language among those in power to be quite different than among those lower in the social ranks. Similar outcomes are observable in racial distinctions based on the language use. It can thus be deduced that language, when used across different levels and different contexts, acts as a potent register for social distinctions.

 

Work Cited

Brondo, Keri Vacanti. Cultural Anthropology: Contemporary, Public and Critical readings. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.