Archive for February 22nd, 2010

22 February 2010

Language use and ideology

Open source manuscripts! And not only uploaded by third parties, but by the authors themselves. Jef Verschueren‘s latest book, for instance, is currently available online in draft form. In it, he argues that a ‘permanent monitoring of ideological processes’ is ‘imperative’. And that pragmatics offers useful tools to do this.

The book deals with what for me is one of the most fascinating (and important) aspects of language use: commonsensicalness.

Once ways of thinking about relations between groups of people are felt to be ‘normal’, they may become powerful tools for legitimating attitudes, behavior, and policies, whatever the frequently negative consequences in terms of discrimination, patterns of dominance, and even violence.

And more specifically, he offers an interesting thesis on hegemony which promises to engage closely with language practices:

Thesis 1.1.1: The wider the society or community, and the wider the range of discourse genres in which a given pattern of meaning or frame of interpretation escapes questioning, the more ‘hegemonic’ it may be.

The manuscript, which provides a research tool to explore these issues: Engaging with Language Use and Ideology: Pragmatic guidelines for empirical ideology research.


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